Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dearest Smokers, O Slaves to the Cig...

I am gonna try to be sensitive to your feelings, but it's getting harder...

I am the worst kind of smoker. An EX smoker. I buttered my lungs with carcinogens for the better part of 17 years before my then girlfriend declared that she would never marry a man who smoked. I knew I would never do better than this woman, and so finally, my need to smoke was beaten by my need for, well, her.

Now, I literally can't stand it. Hate breathing it, hate the smell, abhor the concept, and regret all the money, time, and insistence I threw at such a disgusting hobby.

Today I walked out of a store into the Wal-Mart employee cloud, and once again, caught a nose and lungfull of filth. To add to my disgust, I managed to hear one of these folks in the middle of a diatribe about how he is fed up with people telling him he can't smoke, or where he can't smoke. It's his right, dammit... And all that BS about second hand smoke...blahblahblah...

Some of our surrounding cities have recently adopted legislation prohibiting smoking in eating establishments, some in public places. And where my knee-jerk response to that would normally be along the lines of..."Yay!", I quickly reign in that opinion to replace it with another that I believe in even more wholeheartedly.

I believe that we should not be telling businesses that they cannot cater to certain groups, including smokers. I believe this, because I think that people can vote with their feet, and dont need government to limit free enterprise just to give us all one more place to eat. I hate the thought of ever setting foot in another Chucky Cheese, but I am not about to suggest that they shut down and stop scaring kids with that freakshow mouse of theirs, and I think that people can decide for themselves whether or not to head over to Chucky's House of Pain and Tokens.

My wife and I went out one evening to dinner at a local place we had to been to in years, since we were dating in fact. As we walked in the front door, the smell of smoke slapped us in the face, leading to our looks of shock and disgust. Regardless, we chalked it up to the fact that we had not been out in a long time, and had forgotten what it was like. We went and sat at the bar to await our seating, where we lasted a whopping two minutes before giving up and running for the door...we have never returned. And herein lies my point...I'll never go back there, but someone else loves that place, and I am not about to take that aways from them.

All that being said, Mr. Smoker, you are correct. You have the "right" to smoke. Until it is deemed illegal (and in some places it already is), you can keep stuffing those grey dripping lesions you call lungs with as much asbestos and landfill as you see fit. I totally understand, by the way. 10 years after quitting, I still miss it. But now, my lungs and nose are clear, and I can smell you. And with all due respect, you smell... And you make me smell.

How about being just a tad more sensitive about where you do it? I fight for your rights to smoke, but your care-less attitude about where you smoke because it is your "right" isnt doing you any favors, and is probably the main reason for doors closing to your patronage.

Keep it away from my kids, and if I get creamed by my Karma one day and have to ride in an elevator with you, don't be offended if I hold my breath...the entire damn way.

And finally, the next one of you I see smoking in the car with your kid next to you, I am following you to your destination to write you a note...with my keys on your paintjob.

Thanks for listening. Smoke up, Johnny.

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Kristen Zirkle said...

Worse if when they throw their butts (is that how you spell it?) out the window and it hits your car. I would have never married a smoker either. Gotta check out today's post from me.

Jillian said...

I smoked for an entire week when I was in middle school. It only took that long for me to realize what a disgusting habit it was.

I'm really, really happy to be living in a city that prohibits smoking in public places. I've never been in a restaurant that was smoke-free by choice... Perhaps that's due to the fact that I'm from Scranton, PA, and there's nothing better to do there than smoke, so business cater to that demographic.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Kristen and I had something very similar happen to us. When Emma was still a baby, Kristen and I went to a local Round Rock Restaurant. It was a beautiful day so we decided to sit outside. Well there was Mr. Smoker and I kindly asked him if he would stop smoking and he reseeded to blow smoke in the direction of Emma. I would go one step further in with Mr. Parent Smoker and shatter there windows so that the baby has half a chance for clean air.

Eudae-mamia said...

Kristen beat me to it. Smoke, if you must, but keep those disgusting butts to yourself. If they're too gross to stink up your already nasty smelling car, they're way too foul for my 2-year-old to accidentally pick up.

And don't get me started on the money wasted each year fighting roadside fires. Wonder how those things get started? Hmmm.


Luanne said...

I totally agree with all of it...great post...!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I'm a lifelong non-smoker, child of chain smokers, married to a former smoker & I support smokers. I just think 'outside' should maybe be 100 feet from the door I have to go in & out of, and perhaps it would be nice to not have to walk through the smoking section to get to the non-smoking section.
I always find it odd to visit my parents, in a different state, and not be asked 'smoking or non'? Even though I walked through a whole hoard of them to get in the front door.

Frogs in my formula said...

The worst I ever felt was when riding a train in France at 6:30 am on the way to the airport. I had a cold and everyone was smoking. There was no air moving through the train. I wanted to break a window.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you except for one thing, the people who are employed at said estabishment that allows smoking does not have much of a choice, and so therin the law does make sense. And I am a smoker myself.

posthumous pointer
To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded. - Emerson