Simple pleasures and simply ghastly
In the evening I toddled along to my local for a pub quiz. I have come to really enjoy these, somewhat to my surprise. I used to dislike such events quite a bit, as people get terribly competitive. (There’s an episode in the first series of The Office that illustrates this phenomenon beautifully). However, the two that I have started to regularly attend are very good-natured, and my teammates are always first class company.
It was just Tom and me last night. That’s not a euphemism for me having to take part alone because I have no mates; Tom is a real, distinct person. We did OK given these circumstances, and came within an ace of splitting a £75 prize for the ‘stinker’. This was a three-part question:
1. Captain Webb was the first person to swim the Channel. How did he die?
2. Which British World Formula 1 champion was also a clay pigeon shooting champion?
3. Which board game was originally rejected by Parker Bros, who said it contained 52 mistakes?
We got the first two, but got the third one wrong. I offer no prize for any of you who can get it right, and I imagine that you could find all the answers with five minutes or less on Google. But I’ll post the answers in a couple of days, in case you want to have a stab for your own amusement.
I left the pub, as ever, drenched in cigarette smoke (not from Tom I should point out). There is talk that a ban on smoking in pubs is on the way. I must confess that, like Natalie Imbruglia, I’m torn.
On the one hand, I am by nature wary of limiting the use of legal products. I am VERY wary of limiting what a private establishment can and can’t do, particularly in this case where a ban could cost them revenue. If there is a large market for non-smoking bars, there’s nothing to stop a landlord making the decision unilaterally. I’m not violently anti smoker to the same extent as many people. I do not think that smokers, for example, should be denied treatment on the NHS. First of all, smoking taxpayers are compelled by law to fund the NHS. Second of all, we could turn our attention to imprudent eaters, to those who ride motorbikes, and to a host of other people who take unnecessary risks. I could even say that I don’t want to have to pay for emergency care for your daughter – after all, I didn’t ask for her to be born. But I don’t want to live in a society like that. Oh, and I suppose I should own up to smoking a cigar about twice a year.
On the other hand, I have to admit that I would be far from sorry if smoking was banned in pubs and restaurants. The reality is that although I am free to take my custom elsewhere, I want to go to my local, and I personally would like THAT pub to be smoke free. I also want to spend time with specific friends of mine who smoke, and in practice an outright ban is the best hope that we will not be segregated. Am I selfish? You bet. But so are smokers.
Perhaps a ban in pubs would be a bad law, and perhaps I’m letting purely personal considerations override the intellectual arguments. But those of you who chug on cancer sticks shouldn’t be under any delusions. Yours is a wildly dangerous and staggeringly reckless practice. More importantly, in this context, it is also profoundly anti social, and a revolting, filthy habit.
Oh MAN! I never saw myself as the preachy type. Mind you, I’m not sure I’m preaching so much as telling it like it is. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I? What do y’all think about a ban? Email me on email@example.com.