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A Dying Breed

By Tom ĎLumpyí Waters
March, 1, 2002
Itís cheaper to buy a garbage bag full of Ecstasy than a carton of cigarettes these days. Of all the insidious vices in the world, we smokers catch the most flak and get pestered the most often. After coping with the gradual prohibition of smoking in restaurants, the country is pulling the same shenanigans with bars. Weíve been bullied into secrecy and peer pressured into quitting. Donít we have any rights left?

Once the ads were banned from television, non-smokers replaced the commercials with anti-smoking propaganda paid for by the tobacco companies who got their money from whom? Smokers. Itís bad enough to be chastised and preached to by holistic crusaders constantly, but why should I have to contribute to media campaigns aimed at rubbing my nose in it? Everytime I see one of those commercials I might as well kick myself in the ass, because thatís how I feel.

A few years ago, I was taking a smoke break outside of a store in the dead of winter with a co-worker when an old bag walked towards us and waved her hands in our faces without saying anything. God forbid that the smell got into her clothes and took the flea and tick collar stench out of the perfume she rolled in. It wasnít enough that we were freezing our asses off outside so that she could shop in a death-free atmosphere. In her mind we werenít even allowed to suck a cancer stick out in the open.

To make matters worse, some of our allies have gone into hiding. An Underground Railroad for smoking, if you will. One of my friends has been married for at least four years and heís hidden his half a pack habit daily from his wife since they started dating! Are you that ashamed of your addiction sir, or are you afraid sheíll throw your stash away where your genitals went so many moons ago? Another butt brother (in retrospect, I should have worded that differently) who works for a family business claimed that he quit, so now he suffers through hours of labor before he can enjoy that smooth nicotine rush again. Smoke proudly! The world shouldnít operate like a fifth grade boyís room!

And every week, like a traveling fiend caravan we drive out to the Indian reservation in order to buy top names for less than seventy five dollars a pack. Regrettably, there are those who either donít have the time to cross five state lines or theyíre too poor to pave their lung cavities in style who settle for budget brands. Companies like Fredís Fabulous Fags, Presidentís Choice Ultra, and Reconstituted Ashtray Menthols have skyrocketing stock thanks to regular price increases. I refuse to stoop to those levels.

Itís a filthy habit, right? Well itís not the only one! What about people who chew their nails while theyíre talking to you? I love seeing someone gnaw half their forefinger off and eat it compulsively in the middle of an anecdote. Or people who drink so many cups of coffee that their breath smells like theyíve been chewing turds all morning? Plenty of coffee drinkers get colon cancer. Go pick on them for a decade or so. Iíve got room for one more......tanning addicts. Thatís another proven form of cancer to boot. Run some self-righteous ads against that repetitive, harmful activity. ‚ÄúIf you march into the UV booths, you might as well be marching into a gas chamber!‚ÄĚ Now thatís a ridiculous, filthy habit. Sitting buck naked in a pool of community sweat until you look like Castroís illegitimate grand kid.

Itíll kill you. What wonít? As if every other form of death is quick and pain free. As if non-smokers just ascend into the heavens on a chariot of their own bullshit. Dying is painful. If itís not a grape-sized lump in my breast at fifty something else would come along. Smoking, on the other hand, isnít painful. Itís euphoric, enjoyable, and it gives me time to collect my thoughts. Iíll quit when I get around to it, not a moment sooner. Iím tired of arguing the issue with the unconverted. Besides, IĎm long overdue for a smoke break.


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