Smoking is bad for your health. Especially if you’re in a hurry…

There are days when one is proud to be British.

And then there’s yesterday.

Smoking’s not healthy, no two ways about it.  It shortens your life, stunts your growth and makes you unattractive to the opposite sex.  (I read that in a book – Why Smoking Sucks – so it must be true.)

According to reports in this morning’s national press (even The Independent, which doesn’t generally go in for news), a terrorist plot of global proportions was foiled when armed police swept into action on the M6 in Staffordshire.  [A well-known Al Qaeda ‘hotspot’, and listed in ‘500 Places To Visit And Blow Up Before You Die’ (Taliban Today, June 2010).]

Traffic was closed in both directions – and at rush hour, too – for more than six hours.

It turns out a man – on his own (naturally – see third paragraph above!) – was spotted having a quick drag on the back seat of the Preston to London Megabus. (Statistics, freely available on the internet – so we know they’re to be trusted – show that 94 per cent of us are officially obese in the UK, but until now it was not as well known that we have our own buses, with extra-wide seats and complimentary chips.  That’s progress with a capital ‘P’, whatever the dietitians tell us.)

The police were phoned and, it not being a burglary or equally minor offence, were off like a bat, hurtling through the streets, ringing a bell and checking their ammunition.

Passengers were herded from the coach, arms in the air,  and told to proceed in an orderly fashion or a man in a tree would shoot them with his gun.   (For some reason that’s where the marksmen were stationed.  Possibly in case there was indeed a bomb on board, and it went off while no one was looking.   They’d be far enough away to survive the blast, pick up a medal and be home in time for tea.)

It turned out pretty pronto that it wasn’t a real fag after all, but a so-called  ‘health improvement aid for smokers’.  Or, to give it its proper name, an electronic cigarette.

I’m not sure why it took  a further five and three quarter hours to call the mission off.   Our police are not known for acting quickly, unless there’s a fine involved, or a car needs blowing up – so possibly they were waiting for someone to tell them what to do.   Or until their shift ended, whichever came sooner.

Police said it put them in a good light as it showed they took all threats seriously and had responded in a ‘proportionate manner’.

If it takes six hours for the police to tell the difference between a bomb and a cigarette, I’m not sure we wouldn’t be better off blowing everything up ourselves and saving the Taliban trouble.

At least we’d know where we were.

No one was shot, or fatally injured during the operation, but police say that doesn’t mean they view it as a failure.

The authorities, meanwhile, were keen to confirm that ‘all passengers are safe and well’.

Had they reached London, of course,  and the Met been informed,  it might have been a different story.

(Click on above image to enlarge)

Thought for the Day

‘I have never seen a situation so dismal that a policeman couldn’t make it worse.’

Brendan Behan (1923-1964)


About Chester Crump

Chester J Crump has spent a lifetime in cheese. His company, CC Cheese Ltd, was voted Door to Door magazine’s ‘Smallest Retailer of the Year’ from 1985-2007. Cheddar Today described him as ‘Chester Crump, aged 45’, while the UK’s most successful broadsheet, The Daily Telegraph, has never mentioned him at all. In his spare time, and under a completely different name, Chester has written gags and sketches for a wide range of TV and radio shows both in the UK and mainland Europe (BBC1, ITV, S4C, Radio 2, Radio 4 and the World Service – among others). A published writer for children, teenagers and adults, he has also performed stand-up comedy across Yorkshire and, in 2011, at the Edinburgh Fringe. Ten years ago, he was rumoured to be the constant companion of Sarah Michelle Gellar – TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and, more recently, that girl out of EastEnders whose name no one can remember. When he’s not writing his blog, Chester attends second-hand hat conventions, and has what many believe to be the largest collection of used headgear in Yorkshire. He is married to a woman, and lives in a house. All the above is completely true – with the possible exception of the bits about cheese. And Buffy. And EastEnders. And hats.
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6 Responses to Smoking is bad for your health. Especially if you’re in a hurry…

  1. Hilarious! Very clever! Thanks! My new post is not nearly as funny but hopefully will be entertaining: “A Hitch at Hatchet Lake” Enjoy.
    James Osborne

    • chestercrump says:

      Many thanks. I am away now to read your blog – and have taken the liberty of adding yours to my ‘Links’ page. I hope this doesn’t lower you in the estimation of others! 🙂

  2. Her Indoors says:

    You forgot to mention the ever-ready tasers. I’m sure they were itching to get into their Clint Eastwood stance and fire off a few volts. Excellent article my good fellow!

  3. CP says:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think it might be more appropriate to focus on what a cretin the guy on the bus was rather than mock the police in this case?

    I love the blog, by the way, and have added it to my favourites.

  4. chestercrump says:

    A perfectly valid point, of course – but not as much mileage to be had from it. (I imagine lack of mileage was probably a sore point for many of those stuck on the M6, too :). It’s days like that that make me glad I’m rarely allowed out of the house on my own. And certainly nowhere near a motorway.)

    In the ‘which of us is crazier’ stakes, I feel in this instance it could be seen as a goal-less full-time draw, but with the police winning on penalties. (Certainly given the extra firepower at their disposal.) 🙂

    Many thanks for your kind words, and for taking the trouble to comment. I hope I can justify your faith in me!

  5. CP says:

    And I suppose that’s a valuable lesson for a new writer like me! A valid point without much mileage won’t capture readers’ attention. Yet your article clearly captured mine 🙂

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