A Smoker's Crime and Punishment
Smokers used to take a back seat to NO ONE unless that was where the ashtray was. We were first class citizens and all you healthy people were in second class. We could blow smoke right in your face and you were too embarrassed to wave your arm and hold your breath because everyone would think you were RUDE.
What was the MATTER with you people?? I know, I know…smokers were all powerful and usually extroverted types who wouldn’t have noticed even if you HAD waved your arms and screamed, but we smokers could have saved ourselves a LOT of money, wasted time and terminal illnesses if you had just spoken up to us sooner.
Maybe some of you WERE…like me. But now I’m a nonsmoker, only in middle age and with quite a bit of stops and start agains, I must confess. I’ve spent years watching the tide turning. I’ve seen a few of you hide the ashtrays when we would come over to your house and then tell us that there was one on the porch. That’s how the whole "don’t smoke inside" thingy started. Then came the "no smoking" in movie theaters, which really ticked us off a lot. Some of us didn’t even GO to movies anymore (who do you think invented the first Blockbuster?). Not me - I’m a movie nut and I could force myself to go without a smoke for a couple of hours as long as I bought the family-sized box of popcorn and kept my hands occupied that way.
The worst for us was, of course, when they told us we couldn’t smoke on airplanes anymore. Boy, we sure had you health nuts suckered into thinking somehow that the smoking section on an airplane was different air than the second-hand, re-circulated air you were breathing with us. Sheesh. Youd’a thunk those pretty stewardesses (or is that stewardi?) would have spoken up about the premature wrinkles and coughs they were getting from living inside a capsule filled with smoke every day. Of course, we didn’t care. We’d just keep our eyes glued to that little icon of a cigarette with a line through it above the seat in front of us, and the very NANOSECOND that sucker changed to the icon WITHOUT the line through it, you could hear all the Zippos firing up.
The times, they are a changing, that’s a fact. We’ve come a long way, baby. We are the ones always standing outside, in an alley, the backyards of our houses, on porches or lurking 15.5 feet from the entrance with the smoking instruction sign on it. It’s our own friends now who wave their middle-aged, flabby arms at us as they approach just to let us know that they rule the world these days and we are the criminals! If I hear about one more TRIATHLON or bike ride or fun run, I can’t be held responsible, that’s all.
I’m a friendly nonsmoker. I don’t wave, lecture or leer at smokers, but the book that helped me quit showed me how to pity the poor smoker because they HAVE to have that smoke…they don’t even really want it. It’s just that monster, Nicotine who occupies their every minute of each day. So, remembering that your own house is made of glass, please have pity without showing smokers how stupid they really are. I’m just sayin'. Bless their addicted little hearts.