Smoking is the new jogging.

Smoking has joined jogging as a legitimate form of exercise during the COVID-19 lockdowns because it requires smokers to remove their face masks in public places. According to strict lockdown rules, masks must be worn outside at all times unless a person is exercising, or for religious reasons.

“Smokers are smoking in public places all over the world during the pandemic,” stated the World Health Organisation (WHO), which awarded smoking its new status.

“They are removing their face masks in order to do so, and they are doing it so often, in every part of the world living through lockdown, that we had no choice but to declare cigarette smoking a form of exercise.

Had we not declared smoking a form of exercise, local authorities throughout the world would be forced to prevent people from smoking outdoors, and they appear extremely reluctant to do that.”

In many parts of the world, people are also allowed outside without a mask for religious reasons. While smoking is not a form of worship, it is one of the few vices allowed in devoutly religious societies, even those living under Sharia law.

Big Tobacco is delighted at the announcement.

“Now we don’t have to spend millions of dollars to lobby governments or to convince people that cigarette smoking is not potentially deadly to smokers, bystanders and the planet. If smoking is a form of exercise, it must be healthy. The WHO just saved us a fortune.”

Social commentators have long questioned the tolerance of smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic. They argue that cigarette smoking not only pollutes the air, but weakens the immune systems of smokers and passive smokers. If more people have weak immune systems, they claim, more people will be susceptible to COVID-19 and similar diseases.

This means people throughout the world could be in lockdown for even longer.

Image: Julia Engel

The End of Charity Fund Raising

The kind-hearted and generous folk of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs are hereby advised that all charitable fundraising activities must cease forthwith. Consequently, residents are no longer permitted to organise, or donate to, charitable efforts such as the Wardy Claus Christmas present drive for sick kids. Also prohibited are the annual Mullet Pro at Tamarama Beach raising awareness of mental health issues, and Boards for Bushfires from the Bronte Boardriders. Sophie Smith can no longer Run for Premature Babies, and any other activities designed to harness goodwill for the betterment of the world are outlawed.

The aforementioned charitable undertakings may only resume when:

  • Every royal family, everywhere in the world, abdicates the throne and redistributes their enormous ill-gotten wealth among the great unwashed.
  • Every single cigarette smoker (or vaper) on the planet quits their disgusting, self-indulgent and destructive habit and donates their smoking (or vaping) money to charity.
  • People stop paying $AU90 to have their fur baby receive a massage.
  • Multinational corporations pay the tax they are required, at law, to pay.
  • Corporations return the taxpayer-funded JobKeeper payments they received while recording massive profits during a pandemic. Go!
  • The world’s major religions release the substantial wealth hoarded in sites such as the Vatican, and direct it to the less fortunate: blessed are the poor.
  • Celebrities stop spending $1315 for a dog collar, $550 for a dog leash, and $84,000 on a car for their 9-year-old daughter.
  • The Australian government reverses the decision to spend $500 million to glorify war.
  • Church organisations in Australia stop defending paedophile priests and redirect the exorbitant legal fees to their parishioners throughout the world. Just drop it off at Vinnies.
  • FIFA and the IOC pay every person who works at their major events, such as the 2023 Women’s World Cup, including the volunteers whose work is essential to the conduct of those events.
  • Local politicians replace pink flowers with institutional change next International Women’s Day.
  • Mattias Cormann pays for his own international flights.
  • Fees for the country’s aged-care facilities do not pay for mansions with tennis courts and swimming pools.
  • The most expensive and elaborate building in the village or town of so many developing nations is not the church, synagogue, mosque, temple or other religious house of worship.
  • Australian taxpayers see a return on the $190,000 Scott Morrison spent on an empathy consultant.
  • Parliamentary pensions are paid on merit.
  • NSW Labor politicians stop shopping at Aldi.

In the interim, residents are advised that special dispensation will be given to GoFundMe pages raising money for highly-paid homophobes and reality TV failures seeking social media stardom.

Image: http://www.istockphoto.com

First published in The Beast magazine, July 2021