If you think about it from a social standpoint, they have a good thing going.

They have a common activity that forces them to stand in similar areas for a few minutes at a time. They have to stand in the same area, and they’re all doing something that they have in common and that thing doesn’t interfere with talking. It’s an ideal circumstance to meet new people. The ice breaker is built in, because people can take turns pretending not to judge the other person’s choice in cigarettes. And there’s a built in timer on it, the length of smoking a cigarette, so that you have a reasonable excuse to leave when you discover that the other person is a wanker and you don’t want to speak to them anymore.

It’s an amazing social facilitator, really. There’s an allure to it. I dream of the ability to meet new people like that basically on a daily basis.

I’ve often considered taking up carrying around a lighter and a pack of cigarettes so that I could participate. Not actually smoking. I can’t smoke. I literally haven’t got the stomach for it. So I don’t smoke and I don’t take it up.

The social aspect of it, though, does attract me.

So I put my mind to the problem. I thought to myself, what other activity has similar aspects, you know? I needed an activity that brings a few people together, which made me immediately think of an orgy. But I nixed that, because they take too long. I only wanted it to last for about five minutes.

I needed to think of something that keeps people in close enough proximity that they won’t need to chase or shout at each other. I thought of escape artist practice, but then I couldn’t think where to find appropriately diverting assistants at this time of year, so that was out.

It needs to be something visible that has some personal flair to it, some conversational value to choosing to do it one way instead of another way. And something fun that would attract people to come do it more than once. Which obviously suggests collecting and trading cards from trading card games. But with that one you risk the smokers coming over and lighting the whole thing on fire, and nobody wants that kind of grief. You know?

And something without the respiratory issues. I think I’m not alone in that.

It’s a bit of a puzzle, you see? But I think I’ve hit on the solution.

I thought through all the features needed for this particular social facilitator.

Something that checks all the right boxes.

What it is…

Having a fight.

If you think about it, a fight has pretty much all the required features. It only take a few minutes to finish one, and you can fight however you want. Really, it’s better than smoking because with cigarettes you’re restricted to brands. Not so with fighting. Fighting is myriad. Fighting can reflect your personality. Anorexic sumo versus capoiera tango! Go!

But there’s no lung irritant, so it’s perfect!

I’m already drafting a letter to HR to insist that, in addition to smoke breaks, all the employees at my company ought to be allowed four fight breaks throughout the day.

I suggest that you do the same. If we’re organized about this, we can probably have workplace fight clubs instated nationwide before Christmas.

I foresee a flaw in this idea. Just one. Just a little.


I think that’s all I need to say about that.


We produce sparks.

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