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Practice makes perfect … and saves money, too


Presumably, experienced and accomplished smokers are more thermally- and energy-efficient practitioners of the dying habit*, and therefore can get away with spending considerably less on their pastime than these mere gasping novices. If this is the case, and the practice can be subjected to objective qualitative assessment, perhaps it could become – in the few remaining years before its inevitable extinction – an Olympic sport, with marks not only for technical merit and artistic interpretation but also for commendable economic discipline.

I’ve always had a problem with cigarettes and, since it’s confession time, also with more (shall we say) recherché and illegal substances. Whereas Bill Clinton implausibly maintained that he never inhaled (as a student, in the 60s? Yeah, right**), I wanted to; I just … couldn’t, and can’t. Cigars? Now that’s a very different matter; no inhaling and pure savour.

* Yes, that is a deliberate pun.

** A professor of linguistics was lecturing one day. “In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains as a negative. However, there is no language in which a double positive can form a negative.” A voice from the back of the room shouted, “Yeah, right.”


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