I recently read an article stating that smoking kills 443,000 prematurely each year. The statistic comes from the CDC, the Center for Disease Control. I take exception to this statement. I have no problem with the “smoking kills” part or even the number. What I take exception to is the “prematurely” part. Clearly, this implies that humans have a maturity date (like a Certificate of Deposit) and, upon reaching it, then and only then are they allowed to die. Anything less would be “premature.”
If this date is known to somebody, and you happen to be reading this Blog, do us all a favor and tell us what it is! In the bible, it’s “three score and ten” so 70 years. In the movie “Logan’s Run,” it’s 30. According to the CDC, it’s unspecified but if you die a smoking related death, whether it’s at 30 or 70, it’s shy of what it should be or, in other words, “premature.”
I have a question for the CDC: If a person reaches their maturity date, can they expect your blessing to begin smoking? And will you actively hunt down those who exceed their maturity date and force them to engage in risky behavior? And what if smoking temporarily saves a person’s life? Let’s say he bows his head to light a cigarette and a sniper’s bullet misses him by exactly that much. What if a mad man (by which I mean a crazy guy; not a hunky ad exec from the 60’s on AMC) threatens pull the pin on a grenade unless he gets a cigarette? In this case, a smoker with a square to lend may save a dozen lives. Of course this begs the question: Is a death due to a bullet or grenade considered premature? Or are those deaths filed under “Right On Time?” If a smoker dies due to something other than smoking, is his/her death considered “post-mature?” I imagine that the CDC, as their name would imply, centers around disease control, and I don’t think that bullets and grenades are considered diseases despite the staggering lack of ease that they inflict. Therefore, bullets and grenades would fall outside the CDC’s jurisdiction.
And just who is in charge of keeping the books on our maturity dates? I would think it would be God. If so, is the CDC doing God’s work by enforcing our maturity dates? Perhaps they should change their name to the Church for Disease Control. They can even keep their current abbreviation. Oh, and CDC, since you have a working relationship with the Almighty, could you ask Him why bad things happen to good people? And then could you ask Him if He could create a burrito so hot that even He couldn’t eat it. I’ve always been curious about that.