A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words

The FDA has announced that packs of cigarettes will now feature gruesome pictorial warnings against the dangers of smoking. One picture will show a corpse with a toe tag, another will show someone with a permanent tracheotomy. I didn’t look at the rest of the pictures, but you get the point. Ever since I saw the movie The Informant, starring Russell Crowe, portraying the true story of the scientist who blew the whistle on the tobacco industry, I have the greatest sympathy for smokers. Tobacco companies spend millions in research to develop the most highly addictive enhanced nicotine they can. The fastest delivery system is straight into the blood stream through the lungs and right up to the pleasure center of the brain. The cigarette is just a delivery system for the drug. It’s not that smokers don’t want to quit, it’s that they are fighting an uphill battle against a lethal and legally addictive drug. I admire anyone who can quit. [expand]

But I am very concerned about the precedent being set by printing the negative results of consumer items right on the labels.

“You ready to go shopping, Patty?”

“Yeah, Sal, I got my black marker and an extra for you.”

“Okay, get your cart, you first.”

“Meat counter first, Sally. The FDA allows farmers to sell cloned meat to the public now, so look for the meats that don’t have the picture of the two-headed calf on them.”

“I can’t find any, Patty. Found some pork though, there’s no picture of a freak pig, but there’s a picture of a man clutching his chest as he’s falling.”

“Okay, let’s get the pork, just use it sparingly.”

“Right Patty. The chickens have pictures of a heart with a smiley face. The Purdue chickens have pictures of people square dancing, I guest they’re the healthiest choice.”

“Are there any organic, free range chickens, Sally?”

“Yeah, but the picture is of chickens rolling around on the ground stoned. They might be a little too organic for us.”

“Toilet paper next, Sal.”

Okay. The Charmin has a picture—is this really necessary—of a guy sitting on the toilet smiling and giving a thumbs up to the camera. The Scott tissue has a picture of the same guy—I guess he’s the only moron they could find for this job—just sitting on the can reading the newspaper, very noncommittal. Now here’s the generic, and the picture here is not good, it’s the same guy being taken into the ER, the caption reads, ‘Beware, splinters!’”

“Let’s get the Scott.”

“Good enough for me, Patty.”

“And now to the snack aisle—get your black marker ready.”

“Ready, now show me how you do this, Patty.”

“Choose the snack you love, hold it in your hand at arm’s distance, get your marker ready, turn your head away, flip the box over—you know the picture is on the top of the back of the box—and black it out by feel, then you can turn the box around and voila! No trauma!”

“I think I have it. Let me try my Little Debbie Cinnamon buns. Grab package, turn over…”

“Turn your head first, Sally!”

“Aaaaaahhhhhhhh…….too late……oooohhhh mmyyy ggggaaawwwdddd!”

“What was it? Was it that bad?”

“It was my ass, Patty. I’d recognize my pants with the giant pink flowers anywhere……oh, the inhumanity…….”

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