It isn’t often that we get the opportunity to observe ‘Yooffs’ all together, at the same time, in great numbers. Such is the situation in Magalluf, Mallorca, in the early hours of the morning.
There is a street which is popularly known as “The Strip”. The street is on something of an incline. It is lined on both sides with bars, tattooists, fast-food outlets and so on. About halfway up is a good spot to sit and watch, so my practice during this last week was to turn out about midnight for a couple of hours and amuse myself by watching the antics of these “children and young people”. There are hundreds of them, milling about and parading up and down. (I should imagine that, in the resort as a whole, there are thousands of them) It really is damned amusing. These ‘yooffs’ know how to enjoy themselves!
But is this ‘population’ typical of ALL ‘yooffs’ (mostly British)? It is hard to say. Certainly, it is unlikely that they could be expected to include many ‘layabouts’, since the cost of such a holiday is not negligible. Even so, it did not appear to me that these ‘young people’ were other than ‘average’. That is, they displayed no significant ostentation. Further, my visualisation of ‘youthfulness’ might well be somewhat skewed. Perhaps many of these ‘kids’ were older than the ASH-type definition of ‘kids’ as ‘up to the age of 24’. But ‘yooffs’ they were, whatever their ages.
Of course, my ‘visual survey’ was most concerned with smoking, but I was also interested in ‘over-weight and/or obese’. Let’s consider the ‘over-weight and/or obese’ first.
I do not recall seeing one single ‘yooff’ who was obese. Not one. A few were, in my judgement, over-weight, but my opinion is based merely upon visible ‘tubbiness’. The vast, vast majority of the revellers were slim and fit. I fact, many young men were clearly rather conscious of their ‘fitness’ (as they think that young women see ‘fitness’). In all the hundreds of people, I saw only about five tubby young men over the whole five times that I conducted my ‘visual survey’. Interestingly, tubby young women outnumbered tubby young men by around five to one, if not more, but that is not to say that they were in any way unhealthy.
But I also kept my eyes open during the daytime. Again, although there were lots of people suffering from ‘middle-age spread’, there were no ‘blubbalubs’. In fact, the only time that I saw one person who was ‘obese’ was in the airport coming home. She was very fat and used a walking-stick and she gasped for breath a little, but she seemed to be very cheerful. She was certainly over sixty.
I was also interested in the ‘obesity epidemic’ among children. As it happened, my balcony overlooked the pool area of the hotel, so I was able to see the ‘kids’. Not only did I not see any obese kids, but I did not see any fat kids. My observations were confirmed by the appearance of kids in the restaurant – no fatties.
So where is the epidemic? Perhaps it is only in America.
My other interest, as I said, was to observe smoking among the “children and young people”. The opportunity to observe is very much more restricted, of course, because of the milling about. Nevertheless, I was able to conclude that smoking was significantly prevalent, but, perhaps, what is more important is that there seemed to be no ‘stigma’ attached to smoking in the minds of the youths. I saw many smoking as they walked about, but the lack of ‘stigma’ was most apparent when they sat down at a table. Some smoked and some did not. There was no frantic hand-waving or artificial coughing and spluttering. It is impossible for me to put numbers on the smoking (as compared with overweight/obese) since the ebb and flow of people was just too great. But I did get to have a word with a couple of young women (around 20) who sat sat down at a table adjacent to me.
I tried this once before, but, on that occasion, the girls involved got upset because they thought that I was criticising them. On this occasion, I chose my words very, very carefully. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “Can I ask you something?”
Me: “I’ve been smoking all my life and I really enjoy it. I don’t believe the lies about smoking harm that we hear all the time. But I am wondering how you young people cope with all these lies?”
Them: “Well, it’s life, isn’t it?”
End of conversation.
I didn’t know what to make of their answer. (By the way, obviously it was only one of the girls who answered) What does “Well, it’s life, isn’t it?” mean? It may be that she herself did not really know what she meant. I suppose that it could mean any number of things, but my own interpretation is that the girl meant, “Life is for living and not for dying”. If her meaning was something like that, then she is a great philosopher!
Is it not true that the Holy Zealots of Tobacco Control are obsessed by DEATH? “Well, it’s LIFE, isn’t it?” makes sense, if you are not prepared to worry and worry about death. For ‘worry about death’ is what The Tobacco Control Industry thrives upon. And the same applies to all the other quangos who promote ‘worry about death’ in connection with alcohol and food etc.
Perhaps that girl’s remark should give us hope. ‘Young People’ are not as slavishly encumbered by ‘worry about death’ as the Zealots would like. The Young People are right and the Zealots are wrong. ‘Worrying about Death’ is for the very aged, and not for the young. If fact, ‘worrying about death’ ought to apply to no one, since death is inevitable, and is caused, eventually, by old age. The older you get, the less that you should worry about death. In the end, you make a Will and accept the inevitable.
So what this means is that it is organisations like ASH which are ‘purveyors of death’, and not tobacco companies. Not that I have any truck with tobacco companies – they have let their customers down something awful in defence of their corporate interests. Is it normal for a company in business not to give a shit about its customers? I fear that it is becoming more and more the case that that is true. And it also applies to Government. Cameron, Clegg and Miliband do not give a shit about The People. They care only about themselves.
But what is clear from my ‘visual survey’ is the reason that Tobacco Control is doomed, which is that YOUTH will please itself and embrace its own values. The Zealots and the Quacks in Government will not rule the YOUTH. Even if tobacco was banned, the YOUTH would merely move to something else without the blink of an eye.
One final thing.
I also observed a massive amount of “INAPPROPRIATE TOUCHING” among these ‘yooffs’. Many a hand, both male and female, strayed into ‘private parts’. Oddly enough, not one person did I observe seeming to be less than overjoyed at these predatory and, obviously, paedophiliac, sexual approaches. But we all know, as we have been told again and again, that these approaches are not in the least bit welcome, despite appearances. Everyone hates being touched.