Recently I sat at an intersection in Houston waiting for an interminable red light to change. I glanced around me at the other drivers also waiting for the go signal. One driver caught my attention and held it. He was wrestling with his seat belt and quite apparently was having difficulty in snapping it securely closed. He kept one watchful eye on the intersection for the changing of the light and tried valiantly to fasten his seat belt. While I was watching this scenario I noticed that he couldn’t see the clasp of the belt very well because he was squinting his eyes almost shut. The cause for this severe Clint Eastwood squint was the cigarette that was dangling limply from his lips. Every time he looked down at the buckle the smoke would ascend and while floating upwards it would go into his eyes. After twisting his head back and forth, trying several times to see the latch, he began blindly stabbing with the seat belt clasp in his left hand while holding the latch in his right.
While I watched this predicament unfold (it was a very long light) I asked myself the question, “Why would anyone who smoked want to wear a seat belt?” If I’ve correctly heard our country’s ad council the whole purpose of wearing seat belts is to save lives. It’s a proven fact that wearing a seat belt greatly enhances your chance of survival in an automobile accident. And while some folks may wear their safety belt just to comply with the law, it is safe to say that folks who wear seat belts are concerned with saving their lives. Which brings me back to my question, “Why would a person who smokes cigarettes want to wear a seat belt?” It has been repeatedly proven that cigarette smoking causes many diverse and deadly diseases. Those that it doesn’t cause directly, it exacerbates indirectly. There are no health benefits from smoking; there are no Jack Lalanne’s hawking the wares of long-life from smoking. One thing that is sure about cigarette smoking is that it definitely speeds death.
Watching this person struggle to connect their seat belt helped me come to a conclusion. Wearing seat belts while smoking is senseless. While trying to accomplish something that will add safety and increase their changes of longevity, people who participate in this paradox are party to a practice that will ultimately take their life and its quality from them. It just seems crystal clear that since smoking is undeniably bad for you and seat belts are only manufactured for your good, to mix the two is quite an inconsistency.
I wonder if there are other practices of opposing principles that we allow in our lives? Maybe when we tell our children how stupid they are and then talk to them about their weak grades? Or the times that we treat our spouses with anger and humiliate them and then conversely want to build a loving relationship?
It looks a little like the old cartoon character that shoots his pistol before removing it from the holster thereby wounding his own foot.
Cigarettes and seatbelts…