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Forwarded-by: Phil Glockner


BY DAVE BARRY    August 10, 1997

Q: Could you please explain the recent historic tobacco settlement?

A: Sure!  Basically, the tobacco industry has admitted that it is
killing people by the millions, and has agreed that from now on it
will do this under the strict supervision of the federal government.

Q: Will there be monetary damages assessed?

A: Yes. To compensate for the immense suffering caused by its
products, the tobacco industry will pay huge sums of money to the
group most directly affected.

Q: Lawyers?

A: Yes.

Q: Will the federal government also receive large quantities of

A: Of course.

Q: How will the tobacco industry obtain this money?

A: By selling more tobacco products.

Q: What if consumers stop buying tobacco products?

A: That would be very bad. That would mess up the economics of the
whole thing. The government would probably have to set up an
emergency task force to figure out ways to get people smoking again
in order to finance the historic tobacco settlement.

Q: If the government really wants people to stop smoking, how come it
doesn't just make cigarettes illegal?

A: Because people would smoke them anyway.

Q: Then how come the government makes crack cocaine illegal?

A: That is an unfair comparison. The tobacco industry is merely
selling a deadly product; the crack cocaine industry is guilty of
something far far worse.

Q: Failure to make large political donations??

A: Yes.

Q: Many people started smoking because they watched classic movies in
which glamorous Hollywood stars were always inhaling and exhaling
vast clouds of smoke and looking totally cool. What will be done to
correct this under the historic tobacco settlement?

A: By 1998, all classic movies will be digitally reprocessed by
special Food and Drug Administration computers so that - to cite one
example - in Casablanca, when Humphrey Bogart makes his dramatic
final speech to Ingrid Bergman, he will have the voice of Rocky the
Flying Squirrel.

Q: Whose voice will the late John Wayne have?

A: The late Lucille Ball's.

Q: What will happen to all the tobacco institute scientists, who,
despite decades of dedicated research, were never able to find a
single shred of evidence proving that cigarettes cause cancer?

A: At the request of the White House, they will be reassigned to the
Whitewater investigation.

Q: Speaking of administration scandals, if President Clinton actually
winds up in court over this Paula Jones thing, what steps will be
taken to prevent the trial from turning into a grotesque and
demeaning pubic spectacle?

A: Mr. Clinton's face will be covered at all times by an
electronically superimposed dark blob, underneath which will be an
electronic label identifying him only as "A United States President."

Q: How will the historic tobacco settlement affect the aliens whose
spaceship crashed near Roswell, N.M. in 1947, and whose bodies are
now being kept in top-secret government freezers?

A: Millions of dollars will be paid to their lawyers.

Q: I guess that covers it! Thanks! Smoke?

A: I have my own.

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