Give Me A Break

Trash canI think it is a good idea if a blog site has a trashcan and trash-bag available for such things as this post; the non-essential, frivolous, probably not worth reading, but maybe something to make you smile a little. Smiling is good, not as good as a really deep-down, shake-you-up laugh, but good.

I have discovered that there are different levels of break times. When someone says, “Take a break,” it is important to know just what kind of a break they are suggesting you take. The one with the highest acceptability level is the cigarette break. Because of the not smoking in public buildings law, which applies to most work places, we no longer have people working hard at their job with a cigarette or a cigar hanging from their mouth, or a pipe clenched tightly between their teeth. That has effectively cut down on the amount of work done but not on the amount of smoking.

Smoker 1Now I am not an anti-smoking nut. Used to smoke 3 packs a day minimum, plus a cigar or pipe after dinner, all of it inhaled deeply and deliciously, coating my lungs with tar and giving my blood the needed shot of nicotine energy. I still love the smell of tobacco smoke. I will stand down wind of a smoker just to get a whiff of that old, familiar love. I started when I was in the Navy and could buy a carton of cigarettes at the ship’s store for 80 cents a carton. That’s right 8 cents a pack. It’s a wonder I’m still alive. But I digress…

Coffee breakThe second unquestionably acceptable break at work is the coffee break. Because someone often joins you with his or her cup of coffee it is a good thing because it is a social break. We all know how important it is to be sociable and that is the reason Facebook is such a phenomenal success. In fact we are social creature like; elephants, bats, whales, gorillas, ants and all sorts of other creatures so a social break is highly acceptable.

1 mugI’m not an anti-coffee person either. I used to drink 16-20 cups of coffee a day, probably to wash down the nicotine. I still drink 3 to 4 cups a day; I mean mugs of coffee, you know the big ones, the kind of coffee mugs I make which hold a minimum of 16 ounces. You know when a can of coffee states that it makes 120 cups it is talking about those piddling little 8 ounce cups.

Cloud 1However, when you walk away from your desk and go outside for 15 minutes without a cigarette, or a mug of coffee, not smoking or being social, but just admiring the sky and the passing clouds, that break is considered a waste of time.

May all your waste-of-times be delightful ones.


Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is now available on Amazon and from the publisherKindle and Nook versions just $4.99.


Filed under fiction, Humor, writing

10 responses to “Give Me A Break

  1. Paul, your blog took me back to my smoking days, which fortunately ended fifteen years ago. As a software contractor I worked at a number of companies where a lot of non-smokers would ask to join the small group of the addicted outside. Like you said, they seemed to need the social break, too, but lacked an excuse. A lot of business was conducted out by the back door.

  2. Yeah, those were the days. 😉 (And many of us lived to tell about it!) Fun rumination, Paul, on the ways our habits contribute to human social life.

    • Paul J. Stam

      Yeah, Juliet – And it used to be that you could hold your cigaret comfortably between your first and second finger, now with the electronic cigaret it takes a whole fist. Thanks for commenting.

      Aloha- Paul Stam

  3. dellanioakes

    Thank you, Paul! Your blog was successful, it made me smile. 🙂

  4. I had a job in a fish “factory” in Maine (really a cannery but they called it a factory) and all the other workers would take a break from cutting up the fish and stuffing them into cans and go for a cigarette. But when I picked up my sketch pad and took a break to sketch, the supervisor yelled at me. Who the heck did I think I was to just walk away from my work like that? I wasn’t able to get him to see that my break was the same as the smoke breaks.

    • Paul J. Stam

      I’m sure glad you are not still working in the cannery. Few can understand that one can have an addiction to sketching, or writing, or just dreaming that is as hard to break as a nicotine habit. Aloha- Paul Stam

    • Zero imagination, that guy.
      Was it a sardine factory? Had Maine friends back in the day who worked in one of those.

      • Yes, except they told me no one had seen a real sardine in years and the fish were actually herring. These fish were about three times as long as the cans and we had to cut them with scissors to fit them into the cans. I seem to dimly recall seeing whole, small sardines in sardine cans when I was a little kid, but that might be an illusion.

  5. Ah yes, the famous breaks which like Norm said probably involved conducting lots of business. Thanks, Paul. You must not have slept much back in the day!

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