Have a cigar . . . or not

On a cold, wet wintry day this week (which particular day doesn’t matter since they were all cold, wet and wintry)...

On a cold, wet wintry day this week (which particular day doesn’t matter since they were all cold, wet and wintry), I had a sudden urge to get out of the house, call up some pals and enjoy a rich, Cuban cigar, a mug of good coffee and a jovial chat.

Some of the lads said they would rather have a hearty pint of chocolate stout or at least a wee snifter of cognac on the side.

Unfortunately, the only place we’re allowed to indulge in such socially repellent habits is in somebody’s cold garden shed with a handmade sign outside that reads: “Cuban Appreciation Society. No Entry Allowed — unless one of us is in trouble with a spouse and the rest of us can rib him/her about it.”

I remember fondly those wintry nights when the lads and lassies could head to the neighbourhood pub, slip our shoes off by the fire, order a pint and light up a cigar. Everybody knew pubs were smoky and boisterous and no place for kids — and everyone was happy.

But then Big Brother decided that the good of the many outweighed the needs of the few, so smoking — although cigarettes and cigars would remain legal to purchase — should be banned in all indoor public places.

No exceptions. No arguments. Just do as we say.

I’ve never had a problem with smoking being banned in restaurants and movie theatres and any place that allows children. But I find it ridiculous that pubs and cigar lounges can’t get special licenses to operate a smoking environment. The free market should be allowed to decide if this is a money-making or money-losing proposition, not a government mandate.

But government loves laws.

“Marijuana is illegal. Why?”

“Because we say so.”

“But alcohol is more dangerous and its legal. Why?”

“Because we say so.”

“Cigarettes are legal.”

“Yes.”

“But we’re not allowed to smoke where we enjoyed it most. Why?”

“Because we say so.”

“What’s next?”

“You can’t feed the birds.”

“Really?”

“Yes. You also can’t feed the raccoons, squirrels, rabbits or deer.”

“What if the raccoons sneak through the cat door and eat my cat’s food?”

“The fine is $350.”

“Raccoon stew it is. Thanks, Big Brother. Have a cigar.” M

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