About once a year everyone at my firm that travels extensively has to attend an anti-kidnaping/security seminar. Normally the seminars are fairly boring recounting of info that should be obvious to anyone of average intelligence with the biggest challenge of the weekend being to avoid getting annoyed/amused by the no neck ex-something or other carrying on about how he narrowly avoided becoming a hostage of some wacko Salafists/commie/nazi group no one ever heard of.
The no neck ex-something or other they brought in this year was an American Colonel Blimp
) sporting a chrome dome, a Kitchener mustache and a strut that would make a peacock look modest. After listening to the usual shuck & jive about being aware of your environment, staying away from rallies/mobs and obeying local customs he launched into the most stunningly stupid comments ever made about narghile use.
He started with the old chestnut that smoking a bowl of the hubbly bubbly was the equivalent of smoking a carton of cigarettes and how he hoped that the World Health Organization will “ban the bane of shisha and save the children of the world” before things got really stupid. He then proceeded to claim that Salafists/ Al Qaeda/Iranian militants have cells all over the world and they all love to smoke shisha pipes “because it puts them a trance as they listen to violent fatwas”. Even worse is that these sneaky jihadists will fool Western businessmen in to thinking that shisha pipes are safe by disguising themselves to “look like moderate Arabs” and then use the intoxicating smoking of the narghile to render the victim unconscious. Apparently according to this “expert “coals are used to increase the amount of toxins in the smoke which help paralyze the victim. Innocent Arabs smoke without coals or they don’t inhale when they use coals to fool foreigners. It also seems that the jihadists also lace what they smoke with apple flavourings to fool people into thinking it’s flavoured tobacco and sometimes they even claim to be smoking molasses which is “impossible of course”. They also use these tricks to lure young girls to into compromised positions so that they can be blackmailed. It would also appear that most shisha facilitated kidnapings happen in Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq but that it’s “a common problem in all Arab countries.”
After recovering from the shock of be subjected to much demented pablum being spewed at me I pointed out what an idiot the “expert” was to my boss although I didn’t raise a fuss at the seminar. My boss admitted that he never heard this guy talk about the evils of shisha but concluded that I seemed to know what I was talking about and planned on taking “the expert” to task on the issue.