You knew there'd be one, didn't you? All through those last two posts you were thinking 'He hasn't mentioned smoking. It can only be a matter of time. He can't bottle it up for a full 24 hours'.
You were right.
However, I have to try to focus on the report that I'd like to have in the post (with invoice) on Monday so it's fortunate that Anna Raccoon has produced a concise history of smoking bans, and the Big Yin has raged at the cruelty of denying a cigarette to smokers trapped underground. So I can be brief. Well, I'll try.
I think the most stunning part of Anna's historical research was this -
...in 1628, two Inn keepers in Norwich were fined 30 shillings each “for suffering parishioners to smoke” in their ale houses.
So we have been here before. Private businesses forced to act as unpaid enforcers is not a new idea. All of it has happened before. None of this ever appeared in school history lessons. Nor were we told about the total ban on smoking on railways and station platforms before World War One. We have been pariahs in the past and yet by the 1950's almost everyone smoked.
The encouraging part is that even though it has all happened before, it has always failed. It will fail again but don't get complacent. It will be back.
As for the NASA Nazi doctor, Mengele or whatever his name is, if I ever find myself trapped somewhere and you regard it as an opportunity to experiment on me, forget about digging down. I'll be digging up. When I reach the surface, that shovel is going into an orifice you would really prefer it didn't. It won't hurt. Well, maybe just a little. It'll probably sting a bit when I pour petrol over the protruding handle and light it but hey, causing people pain is your stock in trade so you won't mind.
Enclosed space? So they should go outside to smoke? I'm sure they'd love to but since they aren't likely to be out of there before Christmas then the non-smokers among them have bigger things to worry about than the fakery of second hand smoke. They have to worry about their heavy-smoking companions going postal, for one thing.
These men are trapped in a mine and are going to be down there for months. What are they to do? They have been denied booze and tobacco. Are they expected to fashion interesting trinkets from the rocks, or paint wonderful murals with their own faeces and the blood of the first non-smoker who tells them it is a good thing that they can't have a smoke?
I'd like to cover the NASAZI doctor in nicotine patches and then see what he thinks of this 'addiction' business. What? It's fine to experiment on human beings. This doctor says so.
Smoking and drinking are ways to alleviate boredom. If you are stuck under the ground, there is the risk of boredom. Once you have named all the grains of dust, you run out of things to do pretty quickly. A drink and a smoke and you're chilled, no matter where you are.
I just hope that NASAZI doctor is there at the minehead when these men finally get out. I also hope there's some heated tar and a big bag of feathers handy.