We had an office manager then, he drank 7 to ten cups of black coffee daily and smoked 3 to 5 packs of Hope menthol. He had brown teeth and his hands shook and he stuttered everytime he told us of how he paid the sheriff, an ordinary thing, to have the summons served (P300 for Metro Manila, P500 for out of town). The staff told me that the reason he had Tourette syndrome (you know the Tagalog word, “natotorete”, to refer to confused stammering? It’s a scientific word after all) was that one senior lawyer hurled a phone at him, the landline, and it wasn’t the receiver but the base of the phone (so, who’s over-caffeinated?), they were arguing at the counter where the phones were all hooked up to, because he failed to file a motion; when he was told to file the pleading he put it in the filing cabinet and didn’t know that he was supposed to file it in court so the lawyer missed the deadline and blamed him (the really good lawyers do not file on the day of the deadline and when they do they don’t let go until a report-back from the messenger that it’s been filed in court). When he died that lawyer cried the hardest. Most probably out of guilt than grief. (One morning the office manager didn’t report for work and we found out he had died.) From oversmoking. He was 60.
I stopped smoking that day. One of the most difficult things to do, I paced my room like a caged animal and couldn’t work. I took my unused air-bubble running shoes and ran. And ran. And that’s how I kicked the habit.
I admit. I’m aggressively hostile when I smell cigarette smoke; I could smell it a hundred meters away; in a crowd I might not be able to locate the smoker right away but he/she turns up. (I read recently that former non-smokers are more aggressively hostile to smokers than those who never smoked at all).
So you could say I’m not unbiased. All of us have biases and conflicts-of-interest because we all have values, beliefs, friends, family, businesses, jobs, bosses, organizations, ties, histories, etc. It’s not a requirement to shed one’s beliefs, maybe only to be open and fair. I guess.