Up in Smoke!1
Sacré bleu! Has the world gone mad? The headlines on Monday were enough to send me direct to page 361 of The Home of Today2:
Shock: To Treat
Shock frequently occurs after a fright or a severe injury such as a burn or a scald, or after an accident. It is recognised by great prostration, extreme pallor, low pulse, and great weakness. Keep the patient very quiet and warm in a darkened room and get him to sleep if possible. Give only liquid foods, or tea or coffee. Sedatives or morphia injections may be ordered by the doctor.
This can't be true. Not in a 'civilised' country like France. Hey, whatever happened to 'Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité'? Was all that Bastille storming in vain?
The history of medicine is the conquest of one disease after another, the prevention of human ills and unhappiness. The old scourges of mankind - plague, smallpox, typhus or jail fever, which once killed human beings in youth and in their prime by the hundred thousand, are no longer a menace to the people of civilised states.
Is this a disease of the liver caused by spending too much time behind bars?
Quite possibly. At least we hope they die happy, for as The Home of Today points out:
The psychological effects of gloom also require consideration.
Gloom! What a glorious word! Boothby3 has the answer to gloom, first quoting Thomas Moore:
Then fill the bowl - away with gloom!
Our joy shall always last!
For hope will brighten days to come,
And memory gild the past!
Filling the bowl sounds like a good idea to me, be it the punch bowl that Boothby refers to (although I find all those bits of fruit floating about in it rather off putting - like so many bloated corpses; most unhealthy) or the pipe bowl. Given Monday's headlines, the latter may be worth rationing, although, as I only indulge when I happen to remember, the pleasure is neither expensive nor excessively unhealthy for me, and I generally have a supply. Tastes nice too. I pity the humble souls who have to pay these sort of prices for their daily necessity:
Average price, pack of 20 (euros)
- Norway 7.3
- UK 6.7
- France 5.0
- Germany 3.4
- Netherlands 2.9
- Italy 2.5
- Spain 1.9
- US 3.3
- Japan 2.2
- South Africa 1.3
Personally, I'm amazed that anyone can get through twenty condoms in a day, but there we are, this is France.
I think spimcoot's got hold of the wrong end of the stick, this is an oral pleasure we're talking about.
A Stick is a jolt of alcoholic liquor added to a soft drink. (Boothby)
Hmm. A jolt eh? That will be the next step perhaps:
'The Government has decreed that since persuasion, education, repression, social exclusion and downright bullying seem to have failed, all those indulging in this vile behaviour will be electocuted forthwith. Roving teams of executioners armed with the latest weapons of mass destruction will be recruited from the grovelling wretches currently languishing in the unemployment offices; thus killing several birds with one stone. Resistance is futile.'
Well, the fact remains that in France, around 42% of the population will be affected by this latest attempt to boost the health budget. One would have thought that having had around 13,000 old persons wiped out by a convenient heatwave, there might be a few euros left, but since any health problem associated with this particular vice is self-inflicted, the answer I suppose is logical. Likewise, those who are foolish enough to be overweight should be forced to pay a special tax on fattening foods. The idiots who insist on indulging in a glass of wine deserve everything they get.
Oh, let's just have done with it, ban the sale of anything remotely pleasurable and place everyone who resists in small plastic boxes. After all, David Blaine managed it and look at the entertainment he provided...
Entertainment! Yes, let's have a bit of harmless fun from Enid4. The answer to number 9 may be particularly relevant:
Find these hidden trees:
- Will you peel me an orange?
- A wasp and a bee chanced to meet in the honey.
- Good-bye, Tom! A pleasant journey to you!
- There is a mist or heat-haze lying over the hills.
- At the zoo a kangaroo boxed with its keeper.
- Put a drop in each cup.
- If I run I get out of breath.
- You did not understand all I meant.
- The hollyhock grew as high as the roof.
Oh well. Today things seem almost normal, although I hear on the grapevine further strikes may be planned in protest. C'est normal and all that. Somehow France just wouldn't be the same without the drifting carcinogens of the Gauloise, but I suppose we have to remember that it's bad for us; therefore we must do as we are told. I shall leave the final word to The Home of Today, after which you may decide to read the latest headlines in France5 (as reported by the BBC.)
It is much to be hoped that human beings everywhere will begin to realise and act upon the great discovery that it should be pests and diseases - not human beings themselves - against which war must be waged in the future.