January 2006 /Volume Seven / Issue One
David Gaffney
New best friend

After the consultant left Tim called us into his office and handed round a packet of Marlboros. ‘Take one, light it, and inhale,’ he said. I immediately had a coughing fit, and Julie was sick in the bin. ‘I haven’t had a fag,’ she protested, ‘since I was fourteen.’ Tim ignored her and prodded on the powerpoint. Lines of text slid on and off. ‘Smokers,’ he said, ‘change things. Smokers are clued up on office affairs, know what staff think of the company, are less risk averse and more alive to the moment. They’re sensualists, pleasure-seekers and,’ he snapped off the machine, ‘never defer gratification. Smokers take action so from now on the members of this management team are smokers. Tomorrow we’ll look at lighting and holding, disposal of stubs, and when to offer and when to accept. And I have a few things to say about lunchtime drinking.’