“Can I bum one of those?” asked the guy that works in the financial company upstairs.
“Help yourself,” I answered, milling around near the back door of our office building, warm sunshine beating down on my slightly upturned face.
“Waitaminute…,” he stammered. “This is chalk!”
“Yeah,” I nodded, taking a piece of chalk from my lips and exhaling.
“Why are you ‘smoking’ chalk?”
“I recently read an article about how bad sitting at a desk can be for you.”
“I don’t get it.”
“Well, somehow smokers have worked it out so that they get multiple breaks during the day where they get to get up and go outside for a bit while I’m slaving away upstairs.”
“So when I take my ‘smoke break’, it allows me to stretch my legs and walk the halls, plus go up and down a couple of flights of stairs. That little bit of exercise really adds up, y’know.”
“And don’t discount the benefits of a little time in the sunshine. Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium and helps form and maintain strong bones. Studies have linked Vitamin D deficiency to a number of serious health problems, including heart disease, several types of cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and some autoimmune disorders.”
“And then there’s the whole concept of a mental break. The benefits of my time away from my workday stress include a mental recess, emotional relief and a physical change of place and pace. It all adds up to a healthy lifestyle.”
“Yeah, but dude… this is chalk.”
“Well,” I explained. “I ran the numbers on smoking and it turns out that the negatives… addiction, cancer, stinky clothes… far outweigh the health benefits of the ‘smoke break’.”
“Chalk,” I grinned.
“Well,” the guy sighed. “At least that explains the hopscotch grid in the parking lot.”