Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Cigarettes will kill you

To mark the introduction of new anti-smoking laws in NSW, I thought I would offer this reflection from Ogden Nash:

Thoughts Thought after a Bridge Party
All women are pets,
But most women shouldn't be allowed to open a package of cigarettes.

I call down blessings on their bonny heads,
But they can't open a package of cigarettes without tearing it to shreds.

Of the two sexes, women are much the subtler,
But the way they open a package of cigarettes is comparable to opening
     a bottle of wine by cracking it on the butler.

Women are my inspiration and my queen,
But as long as they can rip the first cigarette from the package they don't
     care what happens to the other nineteen.

Women are my severest friend
But the last nineteen cigarettes in packages opened by them are not only bent
     but sere and withered and the tobacco is dribbling out at either end.

Women are creatures of ingenuity and gumption,
Which is why when they finish one cigarette they leave the mutilated nineteen
     cigarettes for some man and go to work on a fresh package, thus
     leaving thirty-eight mutilated cigarettes for masculine consumption.

Women are ethereal beings, subsisting entirely on chocolate marshmallow
     nut sundaes and cantaloupe,
But they open up a package of cigarettes like a lioness opening up an

- Ogden Nash, from Versus (1949), 6-7.

Speaking of cigarettess, Boxologies in Scotland, a libertarian turned smoking-ban enthusiast, has offered these extra suggestions in a flush of interventionism.

And since I've been offering so many points recently, I thought I'd just keep going. For eight points, what rank did chronic smoker Sir Winston Churchhill achieve in a recent BBC poll of the Greatest Britons? And for another five (with apologies to MK), which activity did he ban from his office during WWII?


Anonymous said...

Winston was number 1.

Got no idea what he banned... He was a chain smoker, wasn't he? So, I'm thinking it's not cigarettes.

byron smith said...

Linden - eight points.

Anonymous said...

Has some serious sexual subtext.

Boo-sucks Ogden.

byron smith said...

Smoking and sexual subtext - both politically incorrect. It was this connection that made the poem more interesting.

byron smith said...

For those who (like me) missed most of Mikhaela's name due to it escaping out of the edge of the text box, here it is in full:
Mikhaela (aka Female Smoked Who Would Never Maul A Cigarette For Fear It Would Be One Less To Smoke)

Mister Tim said...

Byron - are you stealing questions from other people's blogs now?


Matthew Moffitt said...


Argh too late.

His history of WWII is back in stores! I'm up to volume 4 and the Fall of Singapore.

Anonymous said...

I reckon Churchill would have banned defeatist comments, knocking off early, and suggestions that he should drink/smoke less or sleep more.


byron smith said...

Mr Tim - I did apologise. But you're right; he banned whistling. Five points.

byron smith said...

Moffitt - I'll give you one for being correct but late.

Anonymous said...

This is one vice I have never even tried. When I was younger, however, I promised myself that I would never preach against tobacco--too many other, bigger issues. I kept to that promise, but now I am having second thoughts. Because, as I grow older, I have less patience with smokers.
(Warning: sweeping generalizations follow without statistical data!) Smokers could be forgiven for having a vice that is trying to kill them--but they insist on inflicting it on the rest of us. My job is now smoke-free, supposedly. But the smokers (and they are Legion) refuse to go to the designated smoking areas, but keep smoking where the rest of us must breathe their second hand smoke. This, they think is just an annoyance to us--instead of a physical assault! They also gather around the entrance to work and smoke up a huge cloud that we non-smokers must wade through to go into and out of work!
I see smokers in their cars, smoking (which is fine if I am not in them!) and they put their kids in their and roll up the windows! Good. Why don't they just admit that they are trying to give the kids carbon monoxide poisoning! Why is that not child abuse?
I see women driving cars with anti-abortion stickers. Great. Then I notice they are smoking and 8 months pregnant! So, it's bad to kill one's unborn fetus, but it's okay to give it brain damage?!!!
Most of my political anger is aimed at tobacco manufacturers and sellers, rather than the poor women and men they addict to their drug. But I grow more anti-tobacco as I get older. One CAN consume alcohol responsively, though many do not. But there is no responsible way to smoke.
I had a smoking girlfriend in my youth (for a brief time). Kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray!

Jonathan said...

As I commented yesterday, not all the effects of smoking bans are positive. Apart from that, it seems odd that the ban has come in at the same time both in NSW and here in London.

Christopher said...

One CAN consume alcohol responsively, though many do not. But there is no responsible way to smoke.

Yes you can you should try it. That's what I responsibly tell small impressionable children anyway.

byron smith said...

Tobacco and climate denial: same arguments; still don't work.

byron smith said...

Ten vintage cigarette ads promising better health.