THE BIG, brave Passive Americans responded with a vengeance. They began shouting at smokers in restaurants. They shuddered and grimaced and said "Ugh!" as they waved away the impure air. They put up little signs in their cars and homes: at first they said, "Thank You for Not Smoking," but now they feature a cigarette in a circle slashed with a red diagonal. Smokists even issue conditional invitations. I know—I got one. The woman said, "I'd love to have you to dinner, but I don't allow smoking in my home. Do you think you could refrain for a couple of hours?" I said, "Go ---- yourself," and she told everybody I was the rudest person she had ever met.
Smokists practice a sadistic brutality that would have done Vlad the Impaler proud. Washington Times columnist and smoker Jeremiah O'Leary was the target of two incredibly baleful letters to the editor after he defended the habit. The first letter said, "Smoke yourself to death, but please don't smoke me to death," but it was only a foretaste of the letter that followed:
Jeremiah OLeary's March 1 column, "Perilous persuaders... tenacious zealots," is a typical statement of a drug addict trying to defend his vice.
To a cigarette smoker, all the world is an ashtray. A person who would never throw a candy wrapper or soda can will drop a lit cigarette without a thought.
Mr. O'Leary is mistaken that nonsmokers are concerned about the damage smokers are inflicting on themselves. What arrogance! We care about living in a pleasant environment without the stench of tobacco smoke or the litter of smokers' trash.
If Mr. O'Leary wants to kill himself, that is his choice. I ask only that he do so without imposing his drug or discarded filth on me. It would be nice if he would die in such a way that would not increase my health-insurance rates [my italics].
The expendability of smokers has also aroused the tender concern of the Federal Government. I was taking my first drag of the morning when I opened the Washington Post and found myself staring at this headline: NOT SMOKING COULD BE HAZARDOUS TO PENSION SYSTEM. MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY MAY BE PINCHED IF ANTI-TOBACCO CAMPAIGN SUCCEEDS, REPORT SAYS.
Smokers have become the new greenhorns in the land of sweetness and health, scapegoats for a quintessentially American need, rooted in our fabled Great Diversity, to identify and punish the undesirables among us. Ethnic tobacco haters can get even for past slurs on their fastidiousness by refusing to inhale around dirty little smokers; WASP tobacco haters can once again savor the joys of being the "real Americans" by hurling with impunity the same dirty little insults their ancestors hurled with impunity.
The tobacco pogrom serves additionally as the basis for a class war in a nation afraid to mention the word "class" aloud. Hating smokers is an excellent way to hate the white working class without going on record as hating the white working class.
And this is from 1990, before state-wide bans and other freedom-reducing political hijinks!
So please, hug a smoker today. Even if you have to hold your nose. Soon, a bad habit that gives pleasure will be outlawed altogether somewhere. Who will the busybodies have to be angry with? Who will they harass? We know it's not folks with guns, for obvious reasons -- they shoot back. Oh wait, now they're after trans-fats. Where does it end? When will we all be walking around wearing helmets because it's safer? In keeping with an earlier post, I say, if you don't want to be around smoke, don't be. If you don't want trans-fats in your diet, DON'T F$#@IN' EAT THEM! How hard is this?