That’s when we, the consumers, put our collective feet down and cried out in a united voice that there was a little thing called The Law of Supply and Demand! And that we’d be willing to break that law for the chance to purchase an already free and abundant earthly element if it came in a squeeze bottle.
The latest trend is oxygen, which can now be purchased at a growing number of hip “Oxygen Bars” around the country. To prepare for your first venture, you must visualize the atmosphere of an oxygen bar.
[Pause here to catch clever irony of last sentence.]
[Thank you for waiting.]
Picture a singles bar with attractive people all sitting around conversing. Now, take the wine glasses and beer bottles away from these people and replace them with plastic oxygen tubes draped over their ears. Add to this sexually charged atmosphere the constant hum of an oxygen pump… and there you have it!
The terminal-care ward on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
OK, that’s the visual. Now let’s work on etiquette.
To begin with, flatulating into the end of someone’s oxygen tube is not considered an acceptable “ice-breaker.” Though there are many scent options to choose from, that is not one of them. Also, nothing exposes a first-timer faster than asking for the “smoking section” at an oxygen bar …
Come to think of it, that’s not entirely true.
The fastest way is actually not asking — and just lighting up.
For you single men out there, it’s important remember that the whole purpose of breathing 97 percent pure oxygen is to clarify and revitalize thinking. So pick-up lines that may have sounded clever after four beers at a singles bar now sound something like: “I wish I were a Jedi Knight. Can I live under your couch?”
So instead, try one of these savvy lines to entice a prospective date at an oxygen bar:
1) “Excuse me, is this nose-piece taken?”
2) “Can I buy you another minute of air?”
3) “This reminds me; whatever happened to the group ‘Air Supply’?”
As with any new and exciting trend, knowing the correct terminology and etiquette are crucial. Just as you wouldn’t enter a biker bar and ask for a “Zima,” you wouldn’t want to ruin your first oxygen-bar experience by asking for a nose cannelloni instead of a cannula; while one will blow oxygen through your nostrils, the other will blow ricotta cheese.
So, let’s get started by covering some basic terminology:
• Cannula — A stylish, plastic tube that delivers oxygen to your nose.
• Host — Someone carrying an illness that can be spread by sneezing on someone else’s cannula (or cannelloni, for that matter.)
• Ebola — A deadly, incurable virus made famous by the movie “Outbreak,” in which Dustin Hoffman contracts the virus after trying to pick up on an infected monkey at a Peruvian oxygen bar.
• Life insurance — A policy that will pay your loved ones should you contract the Ebola virus from a cannula (or even a cannelloni.)
• Swizzle shtick — The act of writing a humor column about oxygen bars.
If you’re nervous about taking the first step into this new trend, remember that it’s actually been around for a long time. Japan, for example, has had oxygen bars for almost 40 years. Mexico, California’s down-wind neighbor, opened its first oxygen bar 20 years ago — which, coincidentally, is right about the time Ross Perot started complaining about that “Giant sucking sound.”
Lastly, if all else fails, just hold on to your cannula.
And don’t forget to breathe…
(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation and a member of the writing team at Long Awkward Pause. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. Disclaimer: Even if you choose Ned’s book for summer reading, you should still use sunscreen.)