2.07.2006

The Tyranny of Lifestyle Choices

My sister actually said to me, that she doesn't hire smokers. She outlined her strategy of offering a five minute break between interviews, giving the interviewee the space to smoke.
If they took it, they were out.

This is, of course, the beginning of lifestyle discrimination. The obese know about it already. And the moral superiority that goes with healthy choices will make fewer people want to abide by them.

My former supervisor at Booz Allen smoked a lot. She also worked at home a few days a week, which is unusual for a supervisor. None of us were allowed to work at home, though. She never actually said that, it was just that every time I did, I was reprimanded, even when I asked for and received permission beforehand.

Now Econo-Girl, to tell the truth, is a bit of a pain to work with. Damn good at what she does, but a pain nonetheless. She sings and dances in her cubicle when in a good mood. She has a minor obsession with Martha Stewart and quotes her a lot. You get the idea. It can get trying for the people around me.

So is my former supervisor a good example of a smoker? No. But with all the swill being passed around about how bad smokers are, it would be easy to meld the two impressions into one. Thus is the power of the media.

Econo-Girl heard a doctor say that eighty percent of all disease is from lifestyle choices. That seems extreme. But it feeds into the "unhealthy is unholy" mean running around these days.

So how is all this stigmatization helping anyone? It isn't.

It just makes everyone feel bad, like airbrushing photos in women's magazines. Not real, but we wanted you to feel bad anyway.

7 comments:

lewis_medlock said...

Not a smoker here. Never.
But youre right , a lot of anti-smoker angst out there.
The lifestyle police are running amuck as we speak.

The American public loves to feel good about themselves...and if they can villainize certain folks, all the better.

As a firefighter, I find it laughable when I hear of a dept that doesnt hire smokers....like the lithium and magnesium fire I was at will have no lasting effects! Too funny!

The Lazy Iguana said...

I thought that sort of stuff was illegal.

lewis_medlock said...

i think because one can make an argument that job performance could be affected that they are allowed to do it.....Fair Labor Standards Act applies to cops/firefighters differently.
For example, not illegal to not hire anyone over 32.

Econo-Girl said...

Lewis,

Of course for something like that, there has to be rules on fitness. But for me, computer geek, keyboard bum, cubicle gnome, I have to have a DRUG TEST. No problems there, but are they worried about me programming while drunk?

Econo-Girl said...

Iggy,

It is illegal to discriminate based on age, gender, race and disability. But 'smoker' is not a protected class under the law. It has to be a protected class under the law for the discrimination to be illegal.

The Lazy Iguana said...

All I know is that if you want to work for the government, you can not smoke the green leafy substance! No way! Not even a little!

fine by me really.

lewis_medlock said...

yep.....gotta pee in a cup every so often here as well.
which I have no problem with...
my libertarian streak is tempered by two facts....
1....the concept of firemen on dope rings hollow
2....my job is more fun than getting high
LM