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Monday, July 29, 2013

Smoke 'em if you got 'em, but not around normal folk.

This last vacation I spent about a week with my past, a bit of ancient history, a time long gone, and mostly forgotten.  Actually, we never remembered most of it, but the parts we could recall seemed like fun.  There were very few things we would not try, and almost all of them we had to try again, just to see if our first impression was correct.

And you know what, with the exception of a few beers, and maybe a shot of whisky, every now and then we left them all behind.  Oh sure, we had a lot of fun reminiscing about the old days, reliving our grand errors, talking about how much fun it was to be so stupid so often, but we were both glad those days were over.  Over cold beer and fantastic Templeton Rye we drove the "way back machine" to our days of mistakes and gloried in them.

But, those days are gone (I hope), and good riddance, all of those bad habits are history (I hope) and I have no desire to come any closer than discussing them with my good friend and fellow degenerate.   

However, the last bad habit either of us left behind was smoking.  It was the most difficult to break.  I don't know enough about the psychology or physiology of addiction to say it is the most addictive substance, maybe it is, maybe not.  Maybe the difficulty is caused by convenience, it is everywhere. A person can buy formula and diapers for their child and stock up on cigarettes and grab a lighter in one stop.  Right there by the register, cartons, packs, signs, colorful point of purchase displays all calling to smokers, screaming "hey, don't forget us."

Smoking bans are popping up everywhere, and smokers are forced to stand in the elements, outcasts in modern society, to light up.  They might as well sew a scarlet S on their clothes, and just accept the stigma. It is certainly OK to buy them, just don't think about smoking one around polite society. "Stop bullying" ads attempt to make us more humane, and accepting, but, ask any smoker what happens when someone walks by as they are trying to enjoy a peaceful cigarette in the last refuge allowed, the outdoors.

When I quit smoking I swore that I was not going to be a sanctimonious ex-smoker, my past is riddled with the shadows, and shallow graves, of barely dead dependencies (each one waiting for the right moment to attempt a reunion tour of sorts).   I may not understand the science behind the need, but, I am all too comfortable with the reality.  If you build it they will come, and they will buy and they will light up.  Humanity feeds off destructive behavior and thrives on self delusion.  "Oh no," we think, "this will never happen to me," as we watch people suffer and die.

What I can't help but wonder is why do we spend all of this money, all of this energy telling people how bad it is to smoke, forcing them to stand in the rain, or snow, or oppressive heat, or freezing cold and still allow the sale of such an awful commodity?  I am no big fan of restriction and law, but isn't it time to end the madness?  "At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"  Probably not.

Smoking kills, there is no denying that, and it is so expensive, and so heavily taxed.  Plus, most states use the taxes raised to pay for efforts to get people to stop smoking.  Something there seems so silly.

But, life goes on, and the insanity piles up so quickly.   So, next time you see a smoker, smile at them, say hello, and move on past, they are there because that is where they are told to be.  "Go, stand out there so we can all see you in your anguish and your shame."   Besides, we all appreciate a kind word occasionally.  Remember, "there, but for the grace of God, go I."

When I first started this post it had a very logical conclusion, at least by my standards, then it kind of took off on it's own, and now I am not sure of the original plan.  Honestly, I don't think it was about smoking.  Just try to be nice to everyone, accept people for what they are, and don't judge a person, particularly not by a single act.  Hey, that is pretty good advice.

Don't forget to tune in tomorrow when we will review my new app to help focus on a single idea, and not get sidetracked on sermonizing and grand ideas, let's face it no one is going to listen to that kind of crap anyway.  Now I am off to find a new app for keeping on track.  Any suggestions, just email me.