red time stories

If only body weight was like your shoe size. It would be much simpler if you just hit your peak in your mid-to-late teens.

Over the last few months of cholesterol-charged consumption, I've given my body the gift that keeps on giving -- lard. The problem is that I'm not a seafaring creature and am therefore not in need of this protective blubber for buoyancy or warmth as I slither through the ocean.

Never mind, with a bit of exercise all torsal dimensions should morph themselves back into place, or at least that's what the retailers say. But we've all seen the graveyard of exercise devices concealed with shame in the closets and cupboards of our friends.

"Just watch your diet," say the experts. No dairy products, stay away from red meat, peel that skin off the chicken and be careful how much mayonnaise you dollop on the pelmeni. All good in theory, but lentil salad doesn't cut it when you need the fuel to fight a hangover of heinous proportions. Grease is the go. Grease is good.

So what to do? After some concerted soul-searching and a long, drunken conversation with my local barman, I saw clearly the path to that smooth stomach. It's time to start smoking again.

It's a shame that due to all the negative side effects of smoking, there is so little attention drawn to all that's good about lighting up. Sure, they give you cancer, but so does sunbathing!

A cigarette is a suitable substitute for almost all distracting bodily desires. The peaceful prescription to all your daily worries. Whether you're tired, cold, hungry, sad, angry or just bored -- the smooth, smoky sensation of toxins tickling your tonsils is a recipe for relaxation.

And appetite, what appetite? Two coffees and a bifter for breakfast, a long drag for lunch and 10 durries for dinner. Just add sugar to keep the heart ticking, and you've got a weight-loss program that'll shave the kilos off a sumo wrestler.

Want to turn that keg back into a six pack? Most pack-a-day players boast stomachs of steel. It would take an army of infomercials to come up with a better abdominal workout than the convulsions required to bring the tasty tar from the depths of my lungs.

Having a membership to the smokers' club is nothing but a plus in the social arena. What better method to introduce yourself to your future ex-girlfriend than under the auspice of borrowing her lighter? A timely puff is also the perfect answer to those uncomfortable silences that seem to pop up just as all parties are inching toward intimacy.

And about this myth that we all lose our sense of taste. Why then, pray tell, are there 50 different flavors of cigarettes on sale?

Anyway, I'm starting to feel a pinch of hunger coming on. Time for my medicine.