Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Shaman Greeting The Non-believers


As usual I was the first to arrive at the meeting and rather than waste twenty minutes I decided to get my system loaded up with enough nicotine to get through two hours of boredom. At one time you could actually smoke anywhere within public buildings. Then they went to the "smokers on this side, non-smokers on that side" concept, followed by having a break every so often, but God forbid it should be called a cigarette break! Over the years the gaggle of people rushing for the door dwindled to a trickle. People waggle their finger in your face while reciting the mantra "Smoking is bad for you". The formal breaks gave way to sneaking out for a quick smoke.

Tobacco was first cultivated by the American Indians and introduce to the European colonists. The Indians enjoyed the mild euphoria, the calming effects, and looked upon the plant as, well, perhaps sacred. Passing the pipe around was a often a ceremonial way of greeting or making friends, hence the term Peace Pipe.

The definition of a shaman is a mystical spiritual leader who uses a mind altering substance, which includes alcohol according to the literature that I consulted. Yup, it says that a Catholic priest is a shaman, it actually does. It's those sips of wine! Recently it's been found that the nicotine in tobacco not only increases cognitive ability but also delays the onset of Alzheimers. It's not all bad after all. Judging by the thinking processes that I'm assaulted with at some of these civic and government meetings they should not only allow smoking, they should insist on it. I try my best though to make sure that there's at least one brain present with functioning neurons. It's my civic duty.

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