Adventures : Zeph Tales (12)

Continued from

The Case of the Imaginary Cigarette

941602_smoking_and_moving_cigaretteAt about 9.30pm at Marina Bay, Zeph and his friend Clyde were near a ‘foot’ of Sheares Bridge of Marina Bay. The two friends were sitting on the breakwater rocks, doing nothing in particular, munching a big bag of chips. Zeph thought, ‘Is this a small joy of life? Or is this a “sin” of idleness? Shouldn’t they be doing something useful? How is being here now going to get me closer towards enlightenment? When do I give myself a break?’ Clyde didn’t seem to have a care in the world, as he gazed at the night waters idly. And it was always Zeph that asked himself these questions. Was he troubling himself unnecessarily? Arghhh… another unanswered question. Dukkha, dukkha, dukkha… He wished he could be live in the moment as well as Clyde could. Or was Clyde lost in time? But Zeph was always too self-conscious, too caught up in seeking meaningfulness in everything he encounters. He considers this a disease – the disease of thinking too much. Yet sometimes he considers his ability to stay focused on his thoughts a virtue. The Middle Path is the answer to all his questions above. But the tricky part is knowing how much is enough, how moderate is moderate. A day gone by with no lesson learnt he deems a wasted day. 9.45pm already, and he had yet to realise anything for the day. He munched on the chips, while frowning at the waters…

Something on the rocks caught his eye, and Zeph picked it up. It was a cigarette butt, one old and trampled. Holding it with thumb and finger as if he were smoking, he struck a thoughtful pose, remarking, ‘Someone could have been here alone or with a friend not unlike the two of us, puffing this cigarette, thinking about his life while ironically puffing it away!’

Clyde looked at Zeph’s silly posture. Amused, he replied, ‘Aren’t you doing the same right now? You are thinking about about an imaginary person, puffing imaginary smoke, but while puffing away your REAL life – wasting your own time! You are the real irony!’

Zeph was appalled. Shaking his head vigourously, as if he had woken up from being possessed by pointless romanticism, he looked at Clyde in the eye, ‘Gee! You are so right!’ With that, he flicked the butt right into the rubbish bin nearby. Shrugging, he raised his hands to his shoulders, palms open wide in surrender. ‘I give up smoking! Imaginary or not!’

How scary, how bleak, how abstract, how real. There is the saying that ‘the Devil (that’s Mara for Buddhists!) finds work for idle hands.’ Zeph looked up at the sky… there was a slight haze. And he felt a wee bit guilty. He assured himself that his imaginary smoke did not add to the haze. What an evil smoking can be! Shortens the lives of both first and second-hand smokers. And this second-hand smoke is forced to be breathed by the already ailing Earth itself.

The big bag of chips are finished at last. 10.47pm. Not bad, Zeph thought. I’d learnt something before the close of the day after all. Zeph grinned a contented grin to himself, as they started walking to City Hall train station… going home, passing both smokers and non-smokers on the streets.

Government Warning:

1.Smoking causes cancer and heart disease and harms your family.
2.Everyday, 7 Singaporeans (or more) die of smoking related diseases.
3.Every cigarette contains more than 400 kinds of toxic contents.
4.Every cigarette takes away 5 minutes of your life!
(This also means it takes 5 minutes of you out of the lives of everyone you love!)

Related Articles:

Bad Faith of Smokers
Not Quitting is Harder
Inhaling the Haze
Intoxicants’ Sleeper Effects
Coffee & Cigarettes
Virtual Addiction is Real?

Continued at

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