Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Smoke Nazis

Ok, here we go again. I heard on the news today that now Mercer County is trying to enact the same kind of smoking ban in public places that a few other counties here in West Virginia have enacted.

I can see not allowing smoking in restaurants and movie theaters, as I can wait a few hours for a smoke, and even as a smoker I can honestly say it annoys me when I'm eating. I also respect other people's feelings. I don't go to other people's homes and light up, nor do I do it in their cars. I also tend not to smoke around those who don't. It's a respect thing.

But don't ram it down my throat.

What's the rule now? You can only smoke on the third Thursday of every month that has twenty eight days, but only on a leap year, in your basement, with the lights out, sitting in a wooden crate with a wet towel over your head, the doors locked and only between 4:36 am and4:43 am but only if there's a waxing moon and only if you have the Government approved, six foot flashing neon sign erected on your front lawn warning "Danger!!! Smoker Lives Inside! Keep Back 10,000 feet of all entrances/ergresses!"?

The best one I thought was the last time I went to a Phillies game at the old Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia. You couldn't smoke in the open-air seats, but had to go into these narrow, enclosed concourses that everyone had to pass through to get to there seats.

Really smart. Who though that one up?

What fries my giblets is the banning of smoking in bars, taverns, pool halls and bowling alleys. I don't frequent bars or taverns nearly as much as I used to. I might stop in a local watering hole about once a month now to play some English darts and have a few ice cold, frosty adult beverages.

While playing those said darts and enjoying a beer or three, I enjoy smoking a cigarette. They go hand-in-hand.

Beer and Butts.

You expect to have a place filled with cigarette smoke when you go into the place. Bars are supposed to be filled with cigarette smoke.

Read any Mickey Spillane novel.

But what I'm getting to is personal freedom. Let me tell you this little tidbit of information. If I owned a bar, especially if I owned the building, I'd be damned if I let the government tell me what kind of legal substance I could use on the premises.

Period.

I'll give you another example. Back around 1990 or 91', there was this big law enforcement job fair in Philadelphia that my partner and myself attended. Not that either of us was unhappy with our jobs at the time, we were just curious as to what else was out there.

I don't remember exactly what police department it was, but it was in Maryland somewhere. The recruiter was very persuasive. The pay was 1/3 more than we were getting at the time. Bennies were fantastic, the hours still sucked...

But the thing that got my goat was this little, minor stipulation. "You cannot use alcoholic beverages or tobacco products on or off duty."

Wait a minute now.

On or OFF duty? I don't fucking think so.

For eight to twelve hours a day I can see you telling me what I can't do. But you have no goddamn right to tell me what I do on my own goddamn time. Especially if it's legal.

Needless to say we both told the recruiter to pack sand, as myself and my partner not only smoked like chimneys at the time we also drank like fish.

We had to. It wasn't a butt or a beer, it was a crutch.

These goddamn Smoke Nazis.

They're trying to legislate morality, just like they tried to do with booze back in the twenties.

That worked really well too, didn't it?

It's getting really, really old. I've quit smoking a time or two in the past and I'll probably quit again in the future. I know it's bad for me, but I do enjoy smoking for now. I don't need you to tell me it's bad for me. So shut the fuck up about it already!

Keep it up and you just may find out what tobacco really tastes like.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

2 comments:

Kat_womanx2 said...

At a hospital in Charleston, WV...the smoking area is at the end of a sidewalk that surrounds a big horse shoe shaped drive/pt drop off. At the end of this walk is the street that you cross to get to the parking garage...it fascinated the hell out of me at the number of people that walked by this entire set up...but HAD to walk right through the group of people standing on the corner smoking to get to the hospital when they could have had any other 5000 yards of smoke free area to walk thru...some people WANT something to bitch about...face it.

Ranger Tom said...

You are so right!