Tonight, the city council of Springberg will be meeting to consider a more all-encompassing smoking ban in public places. By “more all encompassing”, I mean one that isn’t riddled with enough loopholes to make RJ Reynolds blush with pride. And holy guacamole, it’s causing a firestorm of alleged controversy, at least on the message boards all populated with smokers named “anonymous redneck” or some other cute moniker.
What really kills me about smokers is the veil of freedom that they cloak themselves in: it smacks of wild hypocrisy. The same old chestnuts get trotted out each time, red herrings sliding down slippery slopes. You know these by now, don’t you?
- “it starts with smoking, then next thing you know, they’ll be banning water because it’s dangerous”
- “it’s all a liberal plot designed to take away my guns, my smokes and my right to be a Nazi”
- “they’ll be crying the blues when I, and all my freedom-loving friends, take our business elsewhere.”
- “why not regulate fast food too, you fascist pigs?”
- “this is yet another plot by Big Brother to eviscerate the American Spirit”
- “if the employees/patrons don’t like it when I smoke, they should just work/go ‘elsewhere’“
Full disclosure here: I don’t care if you smoke, I was raised in a household of smokers and I can’t stand it. I have my own disgusting habits that we can deal with on another day, but this isn’t about your personal habit. It’s more about your desire to thrust your habits on others and play the victim of an oppressive tyrannical mass. And who doesn’t want to root for a helpless victim?
And therein lies the crux of my argument: just be honest about your intentions.
It’s similar to when marijuana advocates claim to have a real interest in hemp as an alternative rope material. WHO CARES ABOUT ROPE? Stop insulting the rest of us by working yourself into an orgasm over rope – just say “hey, look, I just really want to smoke weed, and I want it to be legal.” THAT I can respect, if only for your ability to be honest about your intentions. Good for the advocates. Work your asses off to legalize it SO YOU CAN SMOKE IT ALL YOU WANT. Nobody gives a shit about rope, I promise.
So, it is my hope that the council gets with the program. They have an uphill battle, with Missouri always ranking as one of the smoking-est states in the nation and some of the lowest taxes on smokes anywhere. This along with other such distinctions as living in the county with the highest child abuse rates and winning the award for the most Meth-tastic state make for a glut of “freedom” fighters. Poor choices abound. When we bitch about Big Brother, what are we complaining about? Is it the fact that a social contract exists, the same one that mandates we all drive on one side of the road and we don’t go on coke-fueled murderous rampages?
I get to see the results of a lifetime of smoking when we go on our emphysema patients for the umpteenth time, hooked up to oxygen cannulas stained brown and demanding the right to smoke in the ambulance on the way to the hospital for “shortness of breath”. Unfortunately, their desire for personal freedom often costs the rest of us in terms of covering their medical bills.
I’m just hoping for some truth in advertising. Smokers should just say “yeah, it’s a vile habit and I want to continue to do it where I please.” Stop the spin. Stop wrapping yourself in the Constitution, playing the role of innocent victim.
You’d never get my vote, but you might get my respect for being honest.