And it was then that I came across an article that I've been waiting to read for years. It was about smoking.The moral is that the Ministry of Health gets to count Joe Bennett's knee as a cost of smoking. It'll be in their revised estimates.
It announced in clear and ringing tones that the smoker is an economic benefactor to the nation, a selfless contributor to the public good. I've been saying so myself for years to no effect because people see it as an attempt to justify my foul and murderous habit.
Well this piece [EC: I assume this one] was written by a non-smoker. Yes, he said, the diseases that smokers die of cost money to treat. But the diseases everyone dies of cost money to treat. Almost all of us are going to cost the health service a bundle in the end. But smokers are considerate enough to die a bit earlier, thereby saving the country a massive amount in pensions.
Moreover, smokers pay vast sums in taxes on their cigarettes that more than pay for any medical treatment they receive. In other words, if I stopped smoking you'd have to pay more tax. And the people who bang on about the evils of smoking haven't a leg to stand on. They just enjoy the sensation of thwarting someone else for their own good while feeling morally superior.
And I was so delighted to read this piece that I leapt from the armchair to fetch a celebratory cigarette, tripped on a footstool and bunged my knee.
And is there a moral in that? Non.
I'd loved Bennett's prior column on the Christchurch local body elections.