When I was a smoker, the horrendously expensive task of purchasing the little packets of death-sticks was made somewhat more bearable by reading the warning labels. It was always a lottery: if I drew (shudder) "Smoking Causes Heart Disease" or "Smoking Causes Lung Cancer", or worst of all the dreaded "Smoking Kills," my first drag seemed a little sharper, the taste more acrid, the clouds of smoke filling my lungs more clinging and toxic. The "Your Smoking Can Harm Others" label was better, in a sort of sick sociopathic sense, but still grated against my youthful altruism. But if I got "Smoking is Addictive" (well, duh...) my day seemed a little brighter or, at the very least, less immediately lethal. And if (joy of joys) I ended up with "Smoking When Pregnant Harms Your Baby," a message anatomically impossible to apply to myself, then I felt downright immortal.

I'm sure there's a metaphor for life there somewhere, but I'll spare you.

My thanks to ohe for reminding me what some of those half-forgotten health warnings actually said.