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

Dogs Under Attack at Mackenzies Bay.

Dogs at Mackenzies Bay are under attack after Waverley Council approved plans to construct a park for SUVs at the tiny beach. The news has angered pet owners who resent the intrusion of off-road drivers into a space they are not allowed to use.

The showdown is set to rival the most brutal and bloody sporting contests in history after months of bickering between the two parties on social media.

An SUV driver sparked the conflict with a simple remark.

“An SUV would crush a little pooch,”

To which a pet owner replied,

“A medium-sized pet dog has the same carbon footprint as an SUV.”

From that point it was on.

The beachside fight will take place with no regard for social distancing or health concerns, and will begin as soon as council completes the construction of the SUV facilities.

An access road will plough through Gaerloch Reserve, across the coastal path and onto the rocks, and a boat ramp will be a launching site for jet skis. Hoses will allow drivers to wash the sand, oil, motor fluids and other debris straight into the ocean. Council has also opened a tender for a car wash café to be built on the site, but pet owners reminded drivers they have taken over every café in the Eastern Suburbs.

Vitriolic pre-fight tension included the following attacks:

“SUVs will scare away the sunbathers, we’ll have it all to ourselves,”

“But dogs scare coastal birds away, and many of them never come back to this resting spot.”

“We’ll rip a hole in this beach with our circle work,”

“Just watch our pets damage native and planted vegetation with their digging”

“Slip, slop, slap with motor oil,”

“Yeah, well SUVs don’t poo, but dog faeces alters the coastal soil’s nutrient profile.”

“That’s right,” supported a fur friend, “and our dogs will destroy the original soil and the ability of remnant native vegetation to regenerate”

Pooch parents reminded the drivers that most owners pick up after their dogs, before one of their members admitted to never scooping up a soggy dropping from a rock pool, and claimed that the natural tides of the bay wash away everything anyway.

The dirty drivers then boasted,

“Stormwater run off closes beaches for days,” which drew a counter attack,

“Faecal contamination impacts the health of swimmers and surfers at Mackenzie’s Bay and Tamarama Beach, and this pollution will disrupt sensitive marine biodiversity.”

Meanwhile, Waverley Council promised that Rangers will ensure the fight does not detract from the experience of other beachgoers, but will instead be great live entertainment for people on the coastal walk.

“Like an animated Sculpture by the Sea”

First published in The Beast magazine, March 2021.

Image: http://www.frugalfrolicker.com

Safe Injecting Space Planned for Mackenzie’s Bay.

Drug addicts will be able to legally consume any form of illicit drug at Mackenzie’s Bay after Waverley Council declared the beach an open-air safe injecting space.

Hard core junkies, professional footballers and recreational users will be free to inject, sniff, snort, smoke or imbibe any illicit substance they chose with complete impunity, and police and Rangers will take no action against any person within the signposted designated area of Mackenzie’s Bay and Gaerloch Reserve.

Council alluded to dog owners in explaining the rationale behind the shock decision.

“Dog owners claim that they should be allowed to take their dogs to Mackenzie’s Bay because they have been breaking the rules for years anyway,” stated a spokesperson for Waverley Council.

“Drug users have also been illegally consuming drugs for years, so they should be allowed to use the bay as well. We really owe a great deal of gratitude to dog owners for opening our eyes to the possibility of creating a safe and non-judgemental space for people to enjoy their drug taking,” continued the spokesperson.

Council recounted how owners have given their dogs free rein over the space and enjoyed the lack of regulation that is applied to other beaches within the municipality, and that local residents will be elated to learn that drug users will be extended the same privilege.

“We are also confident that tourists flocking to the coastal walk will be delighted to see a beach full of drug addicts enjoying the lovely bay. It makes a great backdrop for a selfie.”

Council has subsequently been forced to reverse the current alcohol ban on all of its beaches, because alcohol is also a drug. As a result, residents are advised to leave footwear on at all times to protect their feet from shards of glass, and to take gloves and rubbish bags to pick up other people’s waste after alcohol-fuelled celebrations.

Bemused residents oppose the move, and argue that the presence of drug users will detract from the experience of the public who want to use the beach. They also pointed out that used needles, bongs and other drug paraphernalia will be left on the beach.

Council reminded residents that dog droppings and plastic bags have been left on the beach for years, but this hasn’t forced Rangers to enforce the rules which prohibit dogs from the beach.

“Furthermore, as one owner told us, anything left behind at the beach will eventually be washed into the ocean by the tides. Dog faeces is already harming marine life and fish, as well as posing a health risk to swimmers at Mackenzie’s and Tamarama, so a few needles and traces of meth won’t make too much difference.”

Image: http://www.frugalfrolicker.com

This article was first published in The Beast magazine, November 2020.

Carpark Conundrum

The debates, the discussions, the proposals and humdrum,

A world-famous beach and its carpark conundrum.

Build it ABOVE GROUND, came a councillor’s motion

But why an above ground? Just swim in the ocean.

Well UNDER GROUND, then, is the perfect solution,

Until ice caps melt from car-borne pollution.

Warn us, they did, that cars would start floating

As suburbs like Bondi kept bulging and bloating.

So, HOME GROUND, said locals, with spots just for us,

While those labelled ‘other’ must cram on the bus.

Or HOME GROUND for athletes, so guts they can bust,

While their current home ground turns to rubble and dust.

Waratahs, Roosters, Sky Blues and Swans

Can be sheltered alongside those striving for tons.

An UNDER ARM carpark, for those for whom laws,

Are as easily tampered with as red leather balls.

The voices grew louder, with yet more ideas,

And echoed the sound of the changing of gears.

Why, UNDER COVER, and be it constructed with stealth,

To protect all our cherished assertions of wealth.

Or INBOUND, cried tourists, enjoying their trip,

Without us, who else will get caught in the rip?

But, OUTBOUND is better, for serving the function

Of keeping the Westies holed up at the Junction.

Be OUTGROWN it will, as more residents arrive,

And through poor public planning they are all forced to drive.

Thus, INGROWN, the carpark pierced through the thin

Perfectly sculpted, tanned Bondi skin.

The longer debated, the deeper it burrowed,

Incessant dull pain causing brows to be furrowed.

It gnawed at locals and pollies alike,

But is rendered redundant with the push of a bike.

So, while pushers of pens kept on talking and talking,

A solution was found, and the answer was…walking.

Image:www.timeout.com