It’s easy at Christmas time, because if a present turns up that you don’t fancy it’s a simple trip into town on Boxing Day. One believable story later and a refund or exchange is complete. Mind you, it doesn’t work so well for in-laws. Fancy a life in leather trousers? Once ordered online, you get the chance to try to channel the spirit of Jim Morrison before exchanging them for some Chinos.
The process of exchanging opens up learning possibilities, we get to try out things that we would never have done in days gone by. Who reading this can honestly say they didn’t benefit emotionally and spiritually from experimenting with those mail order thongs?
Everybody wins. On one hand you have businesses expanding their order books through encouraging test purchases while on the other millions of people prove that nipple clamps really aren’t for them. But, like a child pulling faces at a Brussels sprout, the important thing is that it was attempted – lessons were learnt, minds changed.
One of the single biggest issues vape faces in 2017 is the collective obstinacy of people like Stanton Glantz. These (almost exclusively) outspoken academic gentlemen like to ignore facts as they rail against something that is 95% safer than smoking. So, the question we asked ourselves was this – how can we get them to question their preconceptions?
Channel 4 was set up to inspire, nurture and stimulate debate. As it strove to become innovative and distinctive, one day a producer said, “Hey, I know what, let’s get men to swap wives”. As most of us don’t live in places were such things take place [nobody has ever touched my motorbike keys] the concept is alien to us.
But swap they did, in a non-sexual sense: The Orchards and the Sinclares, the Seniors and the Jordans, and the Sheriffs and the Wards. Families came together from different ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations and political viewpoints to spend a week in each others company, learn about a different way of living, and then have a good argument.
These academics who hate the notion of harm reduction are just like us: they go to the toilet like we do, they pick their noses when they think nobody is looking and they eat the same foods as us - except in the case of McKee, he seems to have more in common with the porcine inhabitants of farms.
So this is our proposal: we are seeking a number of volunteer vapers to go and spend some time with Simon Chumpman, Stanton Glib, Colin McPiggy and a host of other anti-vape crusaders. Obviously, there’s not chance that they would agree to this so we haven’t asked them. The plan is for a number of vapers to turn up at their front door and push their way in, staying for about a week, then all talking about what went well and what you all learnt from the experience.
It’s an exciting, experimental project and carries the chance that some things could go wrong. For a start, our public health experts might want to run away (we advise taking some string, tape or rope) or call the police. Clearly, we are not going to cover travelling costs or legal representation…in fact, we’ll deny ever knowing anything about this if somebody asks. Who’s game?