Call It What It Is

I was in Seattle for the day, attending a Project Management class. I sat at a table of Expedia attendees and they were as entertaining as the presenter. Neil, who sat beside me, introduced himself as the CEO, though I knew it wasn’t true. He exhibited dry wit and sarcasm throughout the day, which made the class quite entertaining.

At one of the breaks, his co-worker, Jane, started rifling through his bag. She found a pack of Marlboro Menthols. “What is this? What is this? You smoke? What is this?”

Neil played it off. “For emergencies. I’m not a smoker. I simply have them just in case. Just in case I have an urge.” He looked to me for support.

“Neil, I’ve had your back all day, but on this one, I’m with Jane. If you have a pack of cigarettes in your bag, you’re a smoker. Quit denying it.”

“It’s not like that. Okay. It’s like this. You’re a woman.”

“Yes. I am.” I wasn’t sure where this was going.

“So, you might carry around… you know… just in case….”

“Dude. You are NOT suggesting that carrying around a tampon is the equivalent to toting a pack of cigarettes. First of all, my period is inevitable. I know it’s going to happen. At least once a month. So therefore, if I choose to carry a tampon, I’m being prepared. It’s not about choice. Smoking is a choice. It’s not inevitable that you will HAVE to have a cigarette.”

He offered a smirk, knowing his analogy was not accurate.

“Let’s break it down, Neil. Let’s say, for instance, I carried around a flask of gin, just in case I happened to want a drink. Now, when I’m toting my flask, would you call me a drinker?”

He tore a piece of paper off his notepad then waved it back and forth.

“White flag. I surrender. You’ve made your point. I’m a smoker…”

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