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Never Played in the Rain

Nobody wants to be a bad guy; obviously, everybody wants to be the good guy. The CVS Pharmacy chain has phased out its tobacco sales because…they’re good guys. They still sell soft drinks high in corn syrup. Candy, snack foods, along with over the counter medicines of questionable value, but the company is adamant in its commitment of ending tobacco sales. Clearly, this is a moral imperative! Thirty – five brands or cigarette varieties with a carton for each on hand, at $50 per carton is a minimum of $1,750 in inventory per store. If the store makes a dollar profit per pack and expects three turns (sales) per month, they must sell 5,250 packs of cigarettes to be cost-effective or 1,300 packs per week.

The company could just announce, “Hey, due to declining sales and rising overhead costs, CVS is eliminating tobacco sales.” But you couldn’t be the good guy that way, there’s no chance to stand on your soap box and shout, hey look at me! “We care about the world and your children and have recently discovered that tobacco use is very, very bad, and we never fully realized that until we weren’t making enough money to justify the cost. Hagen Das on sale! Buy one, get one free! Pepsi Cola twelve packs, Reece Pieces! Doritos! The truth is; if it were legal; they’d sell crack to middle schoolers.

One of my favorites: “Always drink responsibly” Does the board of directors of Smirnoff hold board meetings? “Ladies and gentleman, we must find a way to encourage our customers to buy less of our products, any suggestions?”

“We could offer a five dollar off coupon for gym memberships with the purchase of a half-gallon of vodka!”

Alcohol, like tobacco, if used properly and in sufficient quantity is lethal. Can you buy alcohol at CVS? Sure you can, back your truck up and you can have all you want. I’m not just picking on CVS; all the big corporations do it. McDonalds are the frequent targets of healthy food advocates. In response, McDonalds began selling healthier alternatives and quickly found that they couldn’t give the stuff away. The people complaining didn’t eat at McDonalds restaurants anyhow.

Mark Twain put it like this: “Moderation in all things, including moderation.”

You can die from drinking too much water or die from not drinking enough. If you go outside in the winter without a coat, you could freeze to death. You could hardly expect North Face or Columbia apparel to mark their jackets, “Always use caution when dealing with inclement weather. Frostbite or death could occur, if used improperly.”

Sometimes freedom means allowing people to learn by sticking their fingers into the fan. This is our nature, Darwin was an optimist, there wouldn’t be a warning sticker on the gas pump advising us not to take internally, if someone hadn’t done it. Should you give your chainsaw to your eighty year old grandmother or a 300 horse power motorcycle to a teenager? It’s dangerous, life is dangerous; rock climbing is dangerous, surfing or hang gliding is dangerous. Personal watercraft, account for 15 percent of all watercraft, yet account for 40 percent of boating accidents. You’re 37 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident, than a car accident, but…motorcycles are fun, I’ll take my chances. I had a buddy that scuba dived and I’d always wanted to try it. He was testing his equipment in a pool and I asked if I could try. Boy that was great, but as I sat on the bottom at the deep end of the pool it occurred to me, if I were sixty feet down and this thing quit, I’d be in deep trouble. (No pun intended) I lost all enthusiasm for scuba diving, it felt claustrophobic.

I didn’t try to preach my own beliefs; this guy loved diving, so go with god son and be blessed. It is our nature as human beings to push the envelope; otherwise, we’d still be sitting in caves. Some Native American back in the primordial past was the very first man on earth to jab a 1,200 pound buffalo in the side with a sharp stick. History has failed to record whether he survived the experiment or even if it was wise. We only know that others followed his example. There were no warning labels, [Caution: stabbing large mammals with sharp sticks could be hazardous to your health] or [Objects at end of stick are closer than they appear – always point away from face]

Who wants their epitaph to read: Never played in the rain or climbed too high up a tree. Never went exploring to see what’s over the hill. Never got drunk on a Friday night or had a hangover on Saturday. Never stuck their fingers in the fan; never made human errors. Never knew true joy or true sorrow, never won and never lost, never tasted of life’s pudding.

Life is experiences, good, bad or otherwise. Trying heroin is a bad choice, hang gliding, maybe, maybe not. Freedom is clumsy and cumbersome; it’s difficult to let others try things we might see as foolhardy. Speed limits and health department laws aren’t crippling our freedom; they’re protecting us, from your freedom. Today it seems, everyone has a soap box, everyone wants to be a preacher. I replied to ad from a Colorado group, wanting someone to write articles about the horrendous, bloody traffic statistics, since Colorado legalized marijuana. Only one problem, it wasn’t true, the statistics were unchanged. When I explained this, the author replied, “I was in rehab for a month because of marijuana!” The short answer is, “but that was you!” I fell off a ladder once, was it the ladder’s fault? Would a warning label have prevented the ladder from slipping in the wet grass?

I’ve known those who could injure themselves stuffing feathers in a pillow factory. There’s no such thing as fool-proof when they keep improving on the fools. You want to prevent accidents? Teach people to read and comprehend. Common sense is incomprehensibly rare, everyone is stupid sometimes…everyone. A free society cannot protect us from ourselves, without giving up its freedom. If you don’t want to sell cigarettes, don’t sell cigarettes, but don’t make a show about it. If you don’t like McDonalds, don’t eat there. If you want to pray, I’ll fight anyone who tries to stop you. If you want to lead us in prayer, I’ll tell you to sit down. The right to swing your arm ends at my nose.

On a local gas pump: “In event of Fire: Exit vehicle and notify cashier!” Really… my car is on fire and I need a sign to tell me to get out? As the flames rise all around me, I’m saying to myself through the smoke and fumes, “what’s that sign on the pump say? Boy, if I get out of this alive… they’re going to hear from me!”

Intolerance is un-American; Ben Franklin flew kites in thunderstorms.


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David Cox

David Cox