Chaucer said that idle hands are the Devil's workshop. Well in Australia we have a well oiled health activist machine that has turned the average cigarette package into curiosity hour at the morgue. Mug shots of the dead and dying, diseased organs, blackened digits and other such medicinal delights now greet anyone with the misfortune to still be addicted to this former 'glamorous' consumer product. Fair enough as the body count from cigarettes would make anyone apart from the automobile and arms industries blush.
The danger for us hedonists, however, is that this victory over 'big tobacco' has left Australia with a set of idle health activists flushed with success and spoiling for another fight. Where to place this idealistic fervour? Well the chatter is that booze is what these puritanical protectors of vital organs will target next. So are we going to head down to path of VB stubbies being plastered with pictures of cirrhotic livers, bruised wives, vomitting teenagers and blood covered faces? Will our Chardonnay be called 'White Wine' with no reference to the winery, year and other such devious marketing ploys? Well the truth is that this utopian vision is what our healthy friends would dearly love to achieve. Average Joe, after all, is a victim of big corporates and will slavishly drink and smoke until his untimely demise unless these fearless deniers of 'freedom of choice' step in with their macabre tactics.
One thing I do know is that the day when your Toyota is covered with mangled limbs, decapitated bodies and teenagers in wheelchairs is probably far removed. Then again, maybe we are heading down the path where a trip to the pub will be like walking through Leningrad after the seige in the 1940s. Not sure if I want to live in such a society.