Saturday, February 07, 2009

Will Power

Yesterday afternoon, while queuing up at the W. H. Smith’s in Liverpool Street Station in order to purchase a bag of Glacier Mints, I happened to notice a book on prominent display by the checkout. It was called “Quit Smoking Today”, by Paul McKenna. It had been reduced in price by 50 per cent. Instantly, I realized that it’s a load of crap and doesn’t work. Why?

Because if Paul McKenna and his publishers had any faith at all in their oeuvre, they wouldn’t have cut the cost; they’d have sold the book with a free packet of cigarettes attached, instead. What better way to affirm to the world that the motivational techniques described inside actually work? (The clear implication being. of course, that, having read the instructions, you’d thereafter have no desire whatsoever to smoke those cigarettes.)

It may be recalled that those responsible for weaning the Mahatma Gandhi off sex used a very similar technique to the one I suggest with the cigarettes (and I feel the Attenborough epic was somewhat remiss in steering clear of this area of his life). Basically, Gandhi didn’t go all “cold turkey.” What happened was that he’d go to bed with naked, nubile women on either side of him. The temptation was there, but he showed proper self-restraint by overcoming it. Eventually. The same goes for smokers. What demonstrates better commitment and strength of character: not smoking simply because there aren’t any cigarettes available, or refusing to smoke even if you’re surrounded by hundreds of cartons of the things? Well exactly.

I’m not sure if Gandhi had a 20 or 40 women a day habit, but the aversion techniques obviously worked. At no point did he have to use woman-flavoured chewing gum or a woman-impregnated patch. And at no point in negotiations over Indian independence was he ever recorded as having said to Louis Mountbatten, for example, “Much as I’d like to go into the question of partition and the inadvisability of separate Muslim and Hindu states, I’ve just got to pop outside for a minute for a quick shag.” If he had had to do this every half hour or so, India would, I’m sure, still be British.

Thinking about it, if Gandhi had brought out a self-help book based on his quitting experiences, it would have been a surefire best seller. Who could resist one called “Quit Sex Today” if it came with a free naked woman attached?

1 comment:

K. McEgan. said...

You have it all wrong old chap.Mohandas used to shag the asian babes then roll over satiated murmuring that he had no (more) thoughts of sex.As for Frau von Battenberg Nehru was slipping 'er a length while hubby and the Great Soul were arguing over Punjab.