A doctor (D): Say "99".
A patient (P): 99.
D: Say "thank you".
P: Thank you.
D: Say "breasts".
D: Hmm. "R".
D: Yes. Do your shirt up now, Mr Pepperdyne.
P: Everything...everything as it should be?
D: I don't think there's anything to worry about. Now, you say you've had a
little difficulty breathing at nights?
P: Ah, yes. That's right, yeah.
D: Been bringing up any sputum?
P: Er, no, not really.
D: Any yellow or green in your phlegm, blood?
D: Mmm-hmm. A bit of tightness in the chest?
P: Ah, yes, a little, yeah.
D: Uh-huh. Headaches?
P: What, apart from the children, you mean? No. Not really, no.
D: Um... Right. Well, I think I'm going to put you on a course of these. I don't
know if you've ever had them before. One 20 times a day.
P: What are they?
D: Well, it's a simple arsinous monoxide nicotinal preparation taken bronchially
as an infumation.
P: An infumation?
D: Yes, you light the end and breathe in.
P: Oh, like cigarettes?
D: Oh, you know them, then? Yes, little hard for a doctor to admit, but they're
basically a herbal remedy.
P: Oh, herbal cigarettes.
D: That's right, yes. Um, the leaf originally comes from America, I believe.
It's called tobacco.
P: But medicated?
D: Medicated? No.
P: What? These are ordinary cigarettes?
D: That's right.
P: But they're terribly bad for you, aren't they?
D: I hardly think I'd be prescribing them if they were bad for you, would I?
P: What, 20 a day?
D: That's right, ideally rising to 30 or 40 if they begin to be... If they seem
to be doing the trick.
P: But these give you lung cancer and bronchitis and emphysema, don't they?
D: What on earth gave you that idea?
P: Well, I thought everybody knew that.
D: Are you a doctor?
P: No, but it stands to reason.
D: What are you talking about, stands to reason? You wouldn't know what a pair
of lungs did if you hadn't been told, would you? It's taken mankind thousands of
years to work out what a heart does, what blood vessels are for, what kidneys
And now, just because you've read a few weedy magazine articles, you think you
know more about the human body than I do?
P: No, but it can't be natural, can it?
D: It's a perfectly natural leaf.
P: Yes, but setting fire to it and inhaling.
D: It's more natural than Baked Alaska or nylon socks.
P: Yeah, well, yes, but you don't inhale nylon socks. At least, I don't.
D: A bit of leaf smoke to loosen the lungs, clear the head, ease that tightness.
P: You'll be telling me that cholesterol isn't bad for you next.
D: What's cholesterol?
P: Well, you know...
D: Yes, I know perfectly well, but I don't suppose you'd even heard of it until
about five years ago, had you? You'd die without the stuff.
P: Yes, but too much is bad for you.
D: But of course too much is bad for you. Too much of anything is bad for you,
you blithering twat. That's what "too much" means, too much water would be bad
for you. Obviously, too much is precisely that quantity which is excessive,
that's what it means. Jesus.
P: Well, I thought...
D: You thought? You didn't think at all, did you? Cigarettes are healing,
harmless and natural.
P: Well, if you don't mind, I'd like a second opinion.
D: That is your privilege.
D: My second opinion is that they are also cheap, stylish and nutritious.
D: Yep, and if you want a third opinion, I'll tell you that they're healing,
soothing and sexy.
P: Well, that seems to clinch it.
D: Exactly. 20 a day rising to 30 or 40 as necessary.