Lileks on The Great American Smokeout!
It’s also the Great American Smokeout. The message is good, the intention is laudable. I’m not sure it has any effect on smokers whatsoever, except to give a note of grim defiance and hollow solidarity to the mood around the outdoor ashtray. When I smoked cigarettes the day made me feel guilty, for a few minutes. I’d read Ann Landers with the morning coffee, learn that it was Smokeout day, read her comments – smokers were administered a lashing with a wet noodle from Dominatrix Ann - and I’d think: I should quit. They just raised the price to 65 cents a pack anyway. If I put that money aside I could go to Europe. Where everyone smokes. It’s not bad for you over there because they also drink olive oil, or something. Well, I’ll cut down today. Then I’d read an article about how the nuclear arms treaty negotiation had broken down, realize I probably wouldn’t see 30 anyway.
If someone saw me smoking and pointed out that it was the Great American Smokeout Day, I’d snap “tell it to Brezhnev,” and leave it at that. Some things are just beyond your control, you know. Later I learned: do not base your bad habits on the assumption of inevitable nuclear catastrophe, because things may not work out the way you want.
. . . Anyway, if you decide to quit today, try the nicotine gum. It tastes like ordinary gum that’s been left in an ashtray overnight. You’ll feel better in the end, and –
Good Lord, I’ve become Ann Landers. CURSE YOU, twenty years of homogenizing effects produced by tenure in the mainstream media! Curse you!
BTW, we hear that ALL smoking is bad. Hmmm. I smoke between 1 and 1 1/2 packs a month (seriously - I only smoke good cigarettes and they're almost C$13.00 with tax up here!) - any word from the Lung Association on my percentages?
(p.s. Check out the rest of Lileks' column and the comments - some funny fridge-cleaning stories!)