Ode to a Cigarette


Ah, the cigarette. My faithful friend in stressful times. The symbol of rebellion as one comes of age. The first kiss of every morning and the last breath of day. Ah yes, the cigarette. I have told more lies on thy behalf than any other. I have expended much creative scheming in seeking a secret rendevous with you. I have spoken up for you as if you were a maladjusted child, pissing on company’s shoes, as if somehow, that was excusable. I have always found a reason to include you in every excursion and all my travels, rushing from the game or the plane or the theater to the nearest smoking section, ministering to your needs, like a mother to the needs of her freshly evacuated infant. I have spent, over a lifetime, enormous sums of money on you, and equally stupid amounts on the Altoids that I rationalized would hide your influence on my otherwise sensible choices.

Ah, the cigarette, even as I wax nostalgic… (excuse the pause as I remove the slug-like projectile on my screen which has spastically appeared from the deepest regions of my bronchii)…I remember my first french inhale, my first smoke ring, my first Zippo lighter with the vividness usually reserved for more important milestones. And now…now as I write, deep in the throes of a fierce nic-fit, now I reject you. You must go away from me, never to darken my doorstep again in this life. I shall gather the accoutrements of your consumption together and deliver them to the dumpster. You are banished from the realm. Your perfume is “aroma non grata” and will pervade my closet nevermore. Yes, it will be difficult. When I see your face on advertising signs and concert promotions, I will think back to times when I too, was a Kool guy. But I will steel myself in memories of stomping my feet to stay warm on the frozen sidewalk outside a restaurant as you sucked the life out of me.

As with every major life decision, it would behoove me (God, I love that word! I imagine it to mean that it would be a good idea to put on shoes) to make a list of the positive and negative aspects of a course of action before making a final determination. Ergo, the following “positive rationalizations concerning cigarettes” immediately followed by a de-bunking statement:

1. Smoking makes you look cool. True in the fifties and sixties when every T.V. show was sponsored by a tobacco company and every scene included big stars sucking on a fag, but no longer the case.

2. Chicks dig it. Yeah…but the chicks that dig it smoke…and consequently they taste like shit!

Cigarettes relieve stress. Yeah, for a moment maybe. But run out of them with no stores open til morning if you want to know exquisite stress.

Well, that’s three things and I can’t think of any more. So on to the bad points.

1. The discovery of tobacco by Columbus and it’s importation from the new world to Europe represents the extermination of entire races of indigenous peoples and the onset of slave labor in the Americas. SHIT! That’s deep.

A wise old man once gave me an interesting piece of advice. When one puts forth a proposition, a naysayer may say something like, “I can think of five reasons why that won’t work”. To which the wise answer would be, “Why waste your time thinking of reasons 2 through 5 when the first is quite sufficient”. ‘Nuff said.

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