Pubdate: Sat, 01 Apr 2017
Source: Telegram, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2017 The Telegram
Author: Bob Wakeham
Page: B7


So, we smoke like tilts and drink like fish - Canadian champions on
both counts (it's not only with brooms and rocks where we excel), the
No. 1 nicotine inhalers and boozers in the country, according to
stories that appeared side by side (appropriately enough) in The
Telegram last week.

And with marijuana set to be legalized by July 1, 2018, as we were
told the other day, Newfoundlanders, if our history with smokes and
liquor is any indication, can probably be counted on to eventually
toke up more than any other Canadians.

Then again, some polls over the years have shown us to be the happiest
people in the country and the sanest and the horniest; perhaps there's
a correlation between our appetite for booze and smokes and the fact
that we apparently have a level of satisfaction with our emotional and
psychological lot that other Canadians do not. (We're also the most
obese, with regular, absolutely delightful meals of fish 'n chips and
salt meat and cabbage, among other unhealthy but pleasurable grub
jobs, helping to make us fat and content.)

But - damn that conjunction for introducing a cloud into a sunny
scenario - we also appear, according to the experts, to be among the
unhealthiest souls in Maple Leaf Land, with this and that disease or
medical ailment striking an inordinate number of Newfoundlanders.

It's a paradoxical world, this Newfoundland. What's a fella or gal to
do? I ask you.

Well, lord knows I did my part over the years in contributing to the
high ranking Newfoundland has attained in the world of vice. Smokin'
and drinkin' - a duet that played my song for decades (with some dope
providing the odd chorus of sinful indulgence).

And I'd be a liar if I didn't honestly admit there were countless
nights, sitting on a bar stool, getting slowly, methodically and
pleasantly loaded, while deeply inhaling one Export A after another,
when I didn't have a worry in the world, that the escapism of those
few hours was not to be underrated. But there was a price to pay. Now,
don't get me wrong here; I'm not, and never have been, one of those
sanctimonious former smokers or former boozers who feels compelled to
preach about the evils of Satan's toys, to try and convince anybody
who'll listen that they should pour that bottle of demon rum down the
toilet and throw that pack of cigarettes in the garbage bin.

But the bottom line is that I can point out, in a matter-of-fact way,
and in an experienced, knowledgeable way, that smoking and drinking
will eventually catch up with most internal systems (there are
exceptions, I'll grant you that), and that I'm a prime example of the
nasty consequences of heavy duty imbibing and the fags.

When I was diagnosed at the age of 53 with colon cancer that
eventually spread to my liver and came pretty damn close to making me
food for worms, I was told by medical types that heavy drinking and
smoking are critical factors in igniting the type of cancer I was
enduring, even though I had quit both some years before being
confronted with the Big C.

(Several years after I quit the booze, I tackled my three-pack-a-day
cigarette habit, and it wasn't easy. I absolutely loved smoking, and
tended to have selective memory as I struggled with physical and
psychological withdrawal after stubbing out what I hoped would be my
last cigarette; I tended to recall not the vicious hacking in the
morning, times when I thought part of my lung would end up in the
toilet, but, rather, the grand taste of the nicotine, and its relaxing
impact. Oddly enough, I would even remember the joy of smoking in the
healthiest of environments, in the woods, for instance, with a cup of
tea, taking a break from the rabbits or the trout, the smoke from my
cigarette drifting in near slow motion through the trees. But I still
managed to kick the habit, as they say. For good, I hope).

As for marijuana, that's a whole different ballgame, and it shouldn't
be a bothersome notion if we happen to become the No. 1 tokers in the
country. After all, ingesting or inhaling cannabis is relatively
harmless, and can actually be a medicinally positive exercise,
especially compared to smoking and problem drinking where the tragic
consequences are everywhere to be seen.

I've never heard of anyone beating the crap out of a spouse or getting
rude and saucy and belligerent after a few tokes. Or getting cirrhosis
of the liver. Or colon cancer.

And besides, the sale of marijuana will generate revenue for the
province. They seem to be doing quite well in Colorado and Washington,
states where grass has been legalized, with the tax on marijuana even
providing plenty of dollars for health care and education.

Wouldn't it be ironic if tax dollars from the sale of marijuana in
Newfoundland end up helping people with a cigarette or booze
addiction, or both?

Come to think of it, marijuana revenue might even help with our
electrical bills down the road, and negate, even if ever-so-slightly,
the repercussions of the Muskrat Falls disaster.

Again, the irony: a God-awful financial mess of a project dreamed up
by individuals who acted as if they were perpetually stoned being
propped up by dope dollars.

The Summer of 2018. Canada Day. Cannabis Day.
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MAP posted-by: Matt