Blowing smoke

July 4, 2006 at 1:20 am (Uncategorized)

It was a matter of time before we hashed out this topic in here. I believe the majority of regulars around here are non-smokers, with pink lungs, pinhole free shirts and a notable lack of nicotine stains on the fingers. Good for you.

smoke.jpgMe, I smoke like a 1979 Chevy Vega. I wish I didn’t, but I do. I have sympathetic tendencies toward non-smokers and I take pains to keep my filth to myself. I understand the people who want nothing to do with cigarette smoke at all, and I applaud their successful efforts to drive us butt fiends into the streets.

However, the lofty tone of this SJ editorial burns me quicker than the Bic at the end of my butt. It shrieks with the soaring delight a tofu eater apparently experiences when he or she sees another battle won in the war against the vices of others. The Sun Journal already penalizes smokers through insurance premiums. I have no doubt they will turn their attention next to the obese, heavy drinkers and those with alternative lifestyles. But for now, the smoker is regarded as the biggest tick on the ass of the editorial board. And my, how smug they can be.

At first, we thought it was just hokey: Gov. John Baldacci and nine past and present legislators who have sponsored anti-tobacco legislation unveiling a highway sign promoting Maine’s smoke-free status. The sign at the Yarmouth Visitor’s Center is one of five that will be placed around the state advertising our smoke-free status.

It didn’t take us long to get over our initial reaction, particularly after we read accounts of the new Surgeon General’s report. Secondhand smoke kills, the report says, and it can only be controlled by banning smoking in public places, something Maine has already done… The latest report is a reminder of how much progress has been made and of how much more work remains to be done.

‘More to be done,’ no doubt, meaning that sooner or later, we’ll all be forced down into the sewers to smoke our filthy cigarettes. And it’s all cause for glee among non-smokers and I don’t begrudge you that. But it’s also the first stride in a marathon crackdown on personal habits of all kinds. You can only drink this many beers at home because studies have shown heavy drinkers beat their wives and abuse their children. You can only have this much fast food because fat is a killer and it’s driving up medical costs. You can only have heterosexual sex with the lights off because anything else is a clear sign of sexual deviance and deviance means perversion and that is not the American way.

And so on. Blast me as just another strident addict if you want, but I stand on principal. And I’m blowing cool smoke rings while doing so.


  1. Martha said,

    If you want to smoke, I think its your right.

  2. Bobbie said,

    It would appear that we are headed towards Gene Rodenberry’s “perfect” world of the Star Trek series. If you want a cigar to go with the poker game on a Friday night, you have to replicate it because smoking has been banned for centuries.

  3. K2 said,

    Isn’t the bigger issue the fact that marijuana’s still illegal?!?

    Mark, you can smoke around me anytime. Just don’t blow your hits in my face.

  4. Mainetarr said,

    Well, speaking as a non smoker, I have to admit, I was pretty thrilled when smoking was banned in restaurants and bars. Nothing grosser than watching someone smoke, take a bite of food, and smoke more. Ewwww…That’s just plain nasty. However, if people want to smoke, then smoke away. But go outside or in a designated area, but don’t stand in front of the door so I have to walk through a cloud of smoke because I don’t want to smell it or breathe it in. I do have to agree with you Mark, it is the beginning of a crackdown on personal habits. Next will be alcohol. You will be give three tokens for three drinks at the entrance of the bar. When the tokens are gone, so are you. I mean think about all the things we do that are monitored right now. This conversation is monitored. Cell/land line phone conversations are monitored. When you surf the web, it is recorded. Go shopping? Bet you are on camera. Shop at Shaws? Use a rewards card? Guess what, every purchase you make is recorded. And so on….so we ARE losing our freedom, slow but sure.

  5. Martha said,

    MT.. Yup.. that about sums it up.

  6. Martha said,

    Interesting, this topic has shown up several places lately. Not just here and the LSJ article, but there was also an article in out local paper with a public opinion poll attached to it. The question was the same. do the readers support a ban on smoking in public. Since there was also room to comment here is what I said…

    I am a non smoker and have been for years. Although I don’t appreciate being subjected to other peoples smoke, this is supposed to be a country based on freedom. Why does the government have the right to restrict the freedom of the smoker? If they have that right, do they have the right, then, to exorbitantly tax and make money off the very behavior they are trying to restrict? I find it rather hypocritical if they do. If the government has the right to take away the freedom of the smoker, what will be the next behavior they decide to restrict in the name of the “public good?”

    That’s what it really boils down to, will we remain a country based on freedom, or become one controlled by the whim of the loudest voice?

  7. Bobbie said,

    I am a smoker, but I try to be considerate of the non-smokers around me. I’m more than happy to go outside and smoke in the designated area. If I’m giving someone a ride in my car and I’m not certain if they smoke, I will either ask them if it’s ok to smoke or will not smoke while they are in the car with me. I usually carry a packet of the small Chiclets with me so that if the urge hits me while I’m riding with someone who doesn’t smoke, they don’t have to suffer my craving for a smoke. I also smoke in my house, but am going to honor my daughter’s request while she and her family are here and smoke outside.

    It is crazy for Uncle Sam to try and end smoking while relying on the tax money that it brings into the coffers. When I went on my road trip, I was surprised to hear from a clerk in Kentucky who said that even tho tobacco is still considered a cash crop there, more and more people are getting away from it because the money just isn’t in it like it used to be.

    K2, did you know that if a state says it’s ok to grow medicinal marijuana, the feds can still bust you for possession? There have also been a couple of cases in Denver where the city police have raided people’s homes who have medicinal marijuana licenses. Heaven help you if the cops are chasing someone thru the alleys and they stumble across your garden. If you don’t have a good lawyer to get you off, you end up in jail for something that is suppose to be legal according to the state.

  8. don't worry, be happy said,

    “You will be give three tokens for three drinks at the entrance of the bar. ”

    I can see it now, an ugly non-drinking girl becomes a popular date, because she gives her extra tokens to the date who wants 5 drinks….

    ..and her broke sister comes along, to sell her drink tokens at the back of the bar for cigarrette money….

  9. sleazy said,

    and there’s an alcoholic ho in back of the bar giving out bj’s in exchange for drink tokens

  10. susan fourness said,

    It’s gonna be “1984” all over again.

  11. Treehugger said,

    They stopped making the vega in ’77

    So therefore, you are not smoking, its your imagination ūüėČ

  12. K2 said,

    A cowering refugee mother in a row boat futilely sheilding her baby from the high-caliber bullets of a helicopter gun ship? (A scene from ‘1984.’) Smoke if ya got ’em.

    Bobbie, yes, I love the hypocrisy of the Republican-controlled federal governement: They’re supposedly for state’s rights, but don’t acknowledge state’s rights they don’t like — medical marijuana and assisted suicide. But ban abortions in South Dakota? Well, no problem there.

    I must admit, what I find interesting here is that most of you lean right, but you don’t seem to be making the conection between who’s impeding your personal freedoms. Sure, the Left has had more to do with the ‘nannying,’ but the Right is primarily to blame for the infringement on free speech, along with their data mining and eavesdropping. The liberties that are most essential to our free society are being eroded away, but you’re more worried about what comes next after smoking bans. I say, what about what’s next on the Right’s ‘war on terror’ agenda? It’s been carte blanche. Why can they trample the 1st Amendment, but the Left gets all the shit for being concerned, perhaps idealistically, about Americans’ health?

    Call me crazy, but I see a real double standard here.

  13. brenda said,

    well said, k2

  14. LaFlamme said,

    Now, why the hell did they stop making the Chevy Vega? It was a perfectly fine automobile. And talk about babe magnets!

  15. LaFlamme said,

    Hey, I’m as pro-legalization as anyone out there, and I don’t even smoke the shit. I used to smoke it quite a lot until the night I shrunk. No, seriously. I used to be 6′ 4′.

  16. K2 said,

    You smoke cigs but no reefer? Tell me it ain’t so, LaFlamme. What about that stellar bone I have rolled for our first rendezvous? Don’t tell me I’ll have to Bogart it all to myself. But, if I have to. . . .

  17. LaFlamme said,

    Seriously. I used to smoke a ton of the shit, but then I had that bad experience. After that, it was a bad experience every time. Chromosome damage, maybe. My friends used to get me baked just for the sheer entertainment of it, the bastards. Now I just drink twice as much to pick up the slack.

  18. K2 said,

    Okay, so what was the evil weed experience, pray tell?

    I had a one on liquid acid once, but it was mostly due to overexertion whilst skiing the moguls at Wildcat with a monster hangover and almost no sleep. I got so freaked out, I had to ask my buddy for the keys to his ’74 Dodge van so I could have some ‘alone’ time. I writhed in the fetal position for an hour or so, then got my shit together and went back out on the slopes. For years, whenever I got buzzed, that set of friends would say, ‘You need to go to the van?’

    As an aside, their skis got stolen that day. (Mine weren’t, fortuntately.) Having your skis stolen is one thing. Having them stolen on acid is another. A very harsh dose of cruel reality for the unsuspecting acid freak. It was an ugly scence.

    Of course, I got right back on the horse for a few more years, before I quit the lysergic for good. Of course, some magic mushrooms are an whole other story, although it’s been a few years since I gobbled those. However, under the right circumstances — like the upcoming Grassroots Festival in Trumansburg, NY, which my wife and I are attending for three days and two nights sans kids — well, gobble, gobble, gobble.

  19. brenda said,

    back in the seventies, when i was still working at Dunkin’ Donuts, one baker who looked like Gandalf (Are you out there? Hello! you know who you are, if so!) Any way, Gandalf lived on a farm with his parents even though he was really old (I was 18, he could have been any +age for me to think “old”) but he had a girlfriend he’d rescued from the cruel streets of Florida, and his parents didn’t want her there so she moved in with me for awhile. Gandalf & his girl took me to the ocean, and we each had a hit…. well, I remember sitting in the shade of some bushes, and seeing all the minute life of the earth under & in the grass, it was a whole world of living things, magical, then I became aware of the leaves & branches over my head and it was awesome until I saw something fly in the sky above- oh….the sky! The whole universe up there….. It was amazing! Until Gandalf & his girl started slapping each other and I got really scared, they were supposed to bring me back to regular life and here they are fighting. The dog was my lifeline to reality. We went for a walk then, and I was watching these barnacles on the rocks, I laughed hysterically every time the water came up over my feet & the barnacles little worms cam out of the holes, then Gandalf made me mad by pointing out that the white barnacles were seperate from the black ones & I thought he was racist…. I went back to laughing, I think, I remember someone saying, look over htere! And I looked up and a huge black cloud was approaching and I thought God was mad at me and I freaked! Standing there with my mouth agape, eyes skyward, in a sort of panic, then a family walked by and Gandalf said he’d taken me out for my “day trip” (like from an institution) and he reminded me about weather being something that changes pretty randomly, it’s not about me, and reminded me to “maintain” – which I spent the rest of the day concentrating on, maintaining contact with reality. It was really hard in a way that I didn’t enjoy. The dog was my security, my lifeline back, but as I thought about that, I felt sorry for the dog, who’s dependent with his life on people who think it’s fun to voluntarily induce psychosis – like experiences for recreation.
    I like the smell of weed and even the idea of it, but
    smokin weed makes me sleepy & unsociable, what’s the fun in that?

    However, beer / alcohol’s worse for me, because of my genetic predispositions (bipolar disorders run in my family) – I learned that hallucinogenics are not as dangerous for someone with bipolar & schizophrenia in the family than alcohol & speed/ amphetamines, which will unbalance the brain’s chemistry and bring out those predispositions.

    I just prefer not to play with these things anymore. I don’t like to struggle to “maintain” – and I can see the beauty & wonder in the world without it.

  20. brenda said,

    I just went to visit the sunjournal & read the news, and discovered you guys have been hanging out at some new blogs there, with a Christine Crockett & Nick M.???? Shrunken Heads, & Man, I’m in Maine!

    hi-k2, how’s June? ha!

    All the variety of intellectual, stupid, sick, twisted, dirty, irreverent, etc humor -all this time, and that’s all it takes to make Mainetarr laugh!??? who knew?

  21. Mainetarr said,

    Brenda, K2-aka June, made me laugh so hard that morning that I still can’t read that post without cracking up. It’s when you don’t try to be funny that makes me laugh the hardest. OMG was that funny.

  22. AO said,

    That was funny. Ha. I think I chocked on whatever it was that I was drinking when I read that.

  23. brenda said,

    I was laughing, too. But I was laughing more because of your reaction! It was funny!

  24. Bobbie said,

    One more room and the carpets are done! Then we get to deal with ticked off cats.

  25. AO said,

    Eww..Bobbie, you’re doing housework??…On a holiday? Kick back girl! Relax! Have yourself a Mt. Dew. But, I’d recommend something stronger! Hey! How about a Fat Tire?

  26. AO said,

    Mark, by the way, I LOVE the picture of you posted in this blog. Very Cary Grant-ish. Too bad you weren’t wearing a white tux.

  27. Nadine said,

    OH MY GOD!!! Damn! I am for the leglization of EVERYTHING!! (Surprise, surprise! hehe). I smoke, indulge in every form of recreational drug usage, and believe that eveyone should make their own decisions regarding such!

    I am the chick who feels guilty blowing cig smoke out my car window when waiting at a red light next to another car — when will it end??!!

    In the right situation, every drug feels perfect.

    Ok, I hear the fireworks goin’ off…gonna see if I can get a glimpse from my window as I sip my LEGAL screwdriver (wish I had something better…K2?? I’ll take that hit that Mark is too “old school” for!! Pass it on!)

  28. Bobbie said,

    Well, yeah, I was doing housework all day. The kids are arriving tomorrow and Todd is allergic to cats. We had to do the back room to get the dander and stuff like that out before we put the door up, so we figured that we’d do all of the carpets and the furniture.

    The cats still haven’t forgiven us completely yet. My cat is the most forgiving of the bunch-he’s crashed right next to my keyboard. I’ll leave DJ’s cat behind the toilet-Ive already had one go round with her claws today.

    One of these days, I’ll have to try a Fat Tire. I’ve heard from someone (you wouldn’t know who, would you, AO?) that it’s a really good beer. Any truth to that?

  29. brenda said,

    Cary Grant! That’s right! I knew there was something film-noir about that pic!

  30. LaFlamme said,

    Apparently I look like Cary Grant when I’m all pissed off and cranky because I had to get up before noon for a friggin’ court appearance? Very cool. I wonder who I look like when I pull an all-nighter?

  31. Dave said,

    Ahh.. the Chevy Vega – the vehicle made of “compressed rust” – as says Click and Clack on Public Radio.

    I don’t smoke cigarettes, and aren’t that annoyed with those who do. But what DOES annoy me is those who throw their butts wherever they please. Many laughed at a proposal a couple years back to add a “deposit” to butts, like a bottle deposit. I thought it was a great idea. Might help clean the place up a bit.

    One time somebody sitting at a stop light threw a butt out as I happened to be walking by. Almost hit me. I picked it up and threw it back in their vehicle.. GRRRRRR

    Rant over.

  32. LaFlamme said,

    And a good rant it is, Dave. What’s the stats on this? It takes a cigarette butt a couple hundred years to biodegrade? I’ll bet somebody knows this.

  33. Mainetarr said,

    Yeah, I hate when they are tossed all over the place. Just looks messy. And I have to watch Milo, make sure he doesn’t get one in his mouth. He will eat anything, that little shit. It makes me mad when they mysteriously end up in my yard and no one here smokes. I think the teens next door are sneaking a butt in behind their house and throwing the evidence over the fence to my yard. I picked them all out and threw them back over a fre weekends ago and it has since stopped.

    Milo is going up and down stairs by himself now. What a treat!! He was getting heavy! I think everyone (except those with allergies-AO) should get a dog. They are great. And, two are a lot easier than one. They entertain themselves. It’s great.

  34. K2 said,

    I cheesed out on taking my 3-year-old son to see the fireworks last night. But like MT wrote, it sounded like a long, drawn out affair, and it was almost 10 before the boomers rocked the stratosphere. (I can hear ’em in Lisbon.) I guess being a slacker, dead-beat dad was the right call. Hey, I was in the gardens and sun all day and me so tired.

    Nadine: Always forward, never straight.

  35. Crystal said,

    I don’t smoke, but Loved this bit from Denis Leary, thought I’d share.

    I love to smoke. I smoke seven thousand packs a day, ok. And I am never fucking quitting! I don’t care how many laws they make. What’s the law now? You can only smoke in your apartment, under a blanket, with all the lights out? Is that the rule now, huh?! The cops are outside, “We know you have the cigarettes. Come out of the house with the cigarettes above your head.” “You’ll never get me copper! I’m never coming out, you hear? I got a cigarette machine right here in my bedroom. Yeah!”

    Know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna get one of those tracheotomies. So I can smoke two cigarettes at the same time. I’m gonna get nine tracheotomies all the way around my neck. I’ll be Tracheotomie Man! “He can smoke a pack at a time! He’s Tracheotomie Man!”

  36. LaFlamme said,

    Leary is the master of the word “fuck” as well as the king of militant smoking.

  37. Omnius said,

    Local college is still trying to force people to smoke in certain places, which are nonexistent according to the listed measurements and building placement. I wonder if anyone will ever start listening?

  38. David Burke said,

    Thanks to Google – I can answer your question Mark.

    Cigarette filters take 18 months to 10 years. to degrade.


  39. LaFlamme said,

    Well, huh. So visiting extraterrestrials won’t find a planet sized ash tray when they come check out the vacant planet one day.

  40. - A community web log for Lewiston Auburn Maine. » Pick up your own cigarette butts said,

    […] A recent blog entry by Mark LaFlamme in his “Screaming Room” led me to ponder, and investigate the abundance of dirty, stinky, smelly cigarette butts abandoned by their future cancer victims throughout our twin cities. You see them everywhere. People pitch them out their car windows like it doesn’t matter. I watched several get pitched off the Longely Bridge into the Androscoggin during the fireworks. Actions like these make me want the government to jack the tax on a pack of butts even higher. Ugh. According to this website, there is over a TRILLION spent cigarette butts lingering in our world. Ouch. Another interesting factoid. A person that smokes a pack and a half per day, smokes about 10,000 butts a year. […]

  41. Martha said,

    MT, I can relate to the butts thrown in my yard. Last spring when I started cleaning my yard, I discovered my neighbor’s (you guessed it, the ones with the pool) visitors were pitching their butts over the fence into my yard as they walked by to get to her back door.. Only thing is, she smokes, so keeps an ashtray on her back porch. I pointed them out to her and she must have said something because it doesn’t happen anymore..
    Oh.. and btw…. for those interested. I think I solved the problem of the noise from the pool. I posted on freecycle that I needed a small window air conditioner. It works great. My room is cool enough to sleep… with covers, and I don’t hear the racket from next door… Life is good. It is amazing what a difference a good amount of sleep makes.

  42. Nadine said,

    K2, why should I be? I wouldn’t want it any other way!

    And as for cig deposit — bring it on! I’d make a mint with all the smokers I know! WOOT!! ūüôā

    And by the way, so you all don’t think I’m an inconsiderate, smoking litterbug — I DO NOT throw my cigs out the car window. I would hate to ever think that I was responsible for a fire anywhere! Fire scares me.

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