It’s a question we could all ask ourselves.
I am a man who enjoys a beer and in some quarters that makes me a “drinker”. But there was a time when I didn’t touch alcohol and, who knows, maybe that time will return. I hope not. I also smoke between five and 15 cigarettes every day too and am often accused of being a “smoker”. The term smoke, is often spat out rather than spoken and is there to denote some kind of social leprosy that I am blighted with which makes it necessary to shun me at every opportunity.
At an average of ten cigarettes a day, at four minutes spent smoking each one, I’m a smoker for 40 out of the 1,440 minutes in every day. So for 2.8 per cent of each day I am a smoker or, to put it another way, for 97.2 for per cent of each day I am a non-smoker. But I am a father 100 per cent of the time.
I only drink on the weekends and even then not for 24 hours a day. But I concede that I spend longer than 40 minutes on Saturday drinking beer. That would make me more of a drinker than a smoker then. But I work 40 hours a week and that would make me more of a worker than a drinker. And I spend far more time each week writing so maybe I’m a writer and not a worker after all.
Come to think of it, I used to travel a minimum of 1,000 miles a week in the car but as that took only about 25 hours a week behind the wheel I was more of a worker than a driver. I know a mother of two very young children who tells me she spends 20 hours a day minding them. Does that make her a babysitter?
And what about toilet habits? I pee four times a day, every single day, but I wouldn’t describe myself as a pisser, or something even worse. I do a lot of talking as well, both at work and at home and even sometimes in the pub at weekends. In terms of time spent I am probably more of a talker than anything else. I even talk in my sleep, or so I’ve been told.
But in the current unenlightened climate it’s the smoker moniker that is the one most used. “Johnny smokes” is a term I have overheard so many times as a description of who and what I am. If I had a medical degree I’m sure they would say “John is a doctor”, probably denoting the direct opposite to a smoker. Having said that, my GP was a smoker some of the time as well.
Anyway, for the purposes of clarity, should you be asked if this author and spokesperson for Forest Ireland is a smoker, remember that I’m not smoker 97.2 per cent of the time. Instead, you could, as my family like to do and simply say, “He’s a langer.”