Wednesday, September 12, 2007

9 to 5 jet lag

It happens every time my night-owl lifestyle smacks into the brick wall of day-jobby-job hours. I can't sleep when I should sleep the sleep required for a bright-eyed 6:20am alarm. I've been a little blurry. I could use a little more than 3 hours of sleep. But I've been working the job I like with all the fun people. It's the speed-typing gig that gave me a pink t-shirt with my name across the chest.


The work is an 8 hour trip through the carpal tunnel of love. I get breakfast and lunch, good coffee, and a refrigerator filled with ice cold sodie-pops. All the caffeine I drink during the day doesn't help my quest for Zzz's later in the day, but damn if I don't start to see through time late in the afternoon. I sit a table with a couple of cartoonists, and they draw cartoons of various group-generated ideas while I jam on a laptop, and we converse about midgets who get tattoos or whatever 80s hair-metal band comes up next on the satellite radio. Really important stuff. I joined their betting pool for the upcoming season of Survivor: China, so expect to hear more updates because my Fantasy Football has already gone to shit.

This latest assignment at the typing gig has been with a very large Tobacco company brainstorming smoke-free alternatives.

First: lots of people spell "Tobacco" incorrectly. (incorrect: Tabacco).
Second: I've learned a crap-load about Tobacco and cigarette marketing.
Third: I'm not sure if I'm allowed to talk about it.
Fourth: Well, I never signed a confidentiality agreement.
Fifth: But I don't want to get fired.
Sixth: But I'm not really getting paid enough to be worried about getting fired.
Seventh: That is depressing and makes me want to start smoking

I can't really fathom a viable, money-making, smoke-free alternative. Despite the addictive quality of nicotine, isn't the ritual and physical activity of smoking a huge part of what makes it appealing? Tapping the pack, lighting the cigarette, inhaling the smoke, exhaling the smoke, ashing the cigarette, repeat. I don't smoke. I have bad circulation and smoking would only make it worse and then my fingers would have to be amputated (thanks for telling me that, Dad). Then there's that whole lung cancer thing, and $7 a pack thing, and getting winded, and all. But I've watched a lot of people smoke and am friends with smokers. I've stood outside with plenty of smokers at plenty of parties and thought, "man, I wish I had something to do out here while I'm avoiding the sweaty debauchery indoors." And it sure would give me a good reason for all the random outdoor loitering I do.

Even though upcoming legislation is putting the ix-nay on the igarettes-cay in bars and restaurants in Illinois, smokers should fear not: Big Tobacco has got your back. Lots of work going into smokeless tobacco products that'll help you with your fix when you can't light up. The future is (almost) now.