Smokers are like the living dead. They’ll do anything for their fix.
Warning: this is a Gonzo narrative and does not refer to all smokers. Readers are advised to take it with a pinch of salt and a large shot of ‘don’t get your pants on fire.’ If you think you may be offended by it, don’t read any further — and wear less flammable pants.
Smokers. Smelly creatures. Needy and dependent. Walking around with a splinter inside their brains, the pain driving them insane, forcing them to light up and suck on one more cigarette, just one more, one more, more, more…
They’re the closest thing to real-life zombies we have. Walking around screaming ‘SMOKES… MORE SMOOOKES.’
As nasty as it is though, their habit shouldn’t be made illegal. Prohibition never worked for alcohol and drugs, and it sure as shit won’t work for tobacco.
Smoking should remain legal.
But it should be regulated. Public areas should be separated into smoking and non-smoking zones: places where non-smokers can enjoy a clean environment vs. places where smokers may enjoy their vice.
Thing is, there’s a whole lot of places in the world, some of which I spend time in, that regulate smoking only in theory. In practice, the non-smoking zones designed to give non-smokers like me the ability to hang out without inhaling tobacco smoke are not kept. Smokers light up and blow away.
Why? Because they don’t give a shit about my rights.
Because they can’t be bothered to take their cigarette outside.
Because they have a problem with following rules.
Because they’re ‘selfish, spoilt buggers with little consideration for others in general.’ (quote from a non-smoker.)
Because ‘too large of a % of the public are smokers and can’t be ignored.’ (quote from a smoker.)
So you end up with places where smoking is permitted everywhere, to the detriment of people like me, who can’t get a break. Everywhere I go, there’s that stinking smell. SMOOOOKES!
Prohibition never worked for alcohol and drugs, and it sure as shit won’t work for tobacco. Smoking should thus remain legal. But it should be regulated.
I often wonder if the rumors are true. If the only way to kill a zombie is to destroy its brain. Smash that dying sponge to a pulp and, what do you know, no more zombie!
So let’s do it. Let’s smash some zombie brains.
Smokers, here’s the thing. You wanna smoke? Good! Smoke all you want. I don’t care. Neither do most non-smokers, from what I gather. Your lungs, your arteries, your emphysema and vascular disease. Knock yourselves out!
Now, if you want help to quit, seek it. Sooner rather than later.
If you ask for my help to drop the habit, I’ll offer it to you. I’m good at that. I used to be a smoker. I know what it takes to kick it.
If you’re not interested in kicking it, good luck to you. Just don’t smoke in non-smoking areas, please, where I go to relax and enjoy myself.
See, just like you, I, too, am entitled to a little R’n’R outside my home, without being pestered by things that bother me.
Care to give me that? Pretty please?
Also, don’t smoke in my face when in a smoking zone.
Yes, I know, smoking zones are YOUR areas (SMOOOOKES) but please take a step back, and I’ll take a step back, because — guess what! — you stink when you smoke. Your clothes, your hair, your skin, they reek. There’s no glossing over it, it comes with the vice. Even when you step outside to smoke and then come back inside, Jesus, the stench! Like those 70-year-old teachers at school who couldn’t put it down, not to mention those sergeants in the army who smelled as if they’d been broiled in gunpowder, tobacco and tar. And onion-soaked sweat — mixed with tar, and additive-riddled tobacco.
Yes, the older you get, the more you stink when you smoke.
Also, look into electronic cigarettes. They use vapor fumes and can deliver the nicotine you so crave without the sticky tar clogging up your veins.
They also don’t stink as much. Just saying.
You probably don’t want the electronic cigarette, I know. You’re addicted to the good old leaf, additives and all.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not trying to get you to stop smoking for your own good. I don’t care about you and don’t want to save you. I want to save the people I care about from you.
Who do I care about? People who care about me, who don’t try to eat up my brains, lungs and arteries with their disease. People who don’t try to kill me.
If you’re one of those considerate smokers, who observes some of the points I mentioned above i.e. if you respect my non-smoking privileges, and never light up in non-smoking areas where non-smoking relatives and friends of mine go to enjoy themselves, I apologize. I do care about you. Kind of.
Zombie dickheads are hard to get to, because they’ve discovered one simple but powerful truth: strength in numbers!
Please stop smoking, for your sake and mine.
But if not, if you’re one of those smokers who doesn’t give a shit about others, screw you! You and all hardcore zombies who don’t give a shit about anyone or anything when pursuing your vice, whose brain goes haywire when you need your fix, for which you would wear a penis for a hat — you need to be dealt with ASAP.
Because no one likes a dickhead.
Especially a zombie dickhead.
Thing is, these zombie dickheads are hard to get to, because they’ve discovered one simple but powerful truth: strength in numbers!
Yes, these critters have banded up. They constitute very large groups, at least in certain places of the world, like southern and eastern Europe, Latin America, and parts of the countryside across the world, as well as certain hard-to-control neighborhoods.
They’ve infiltrated the government and police.
They’ve infiltrated the shops and restaurants.
They’re everywhere, driving policy.
They get together at night to enjoy their share of smokes, en masse.
Like good old zombies they come out mostly at night to feast and proliferate. They drive the nightlife economy.
You can smell them a mile away.
You can spot them by the huge clouds hovering above the places where they hang out. By the plumes spilling through the cracks of the doors, windows and skylights of the venues they occupy.
You walk inside these venues, and for a moment they turn around and stare at you, they know you’re not one of them. They can smell it on your clean clothes. They can feel the judgment emanating from you, sensing your skin crawling at the stench they wallow in.
You walk among them, feeling their wraith tentacles reaching for your brain, looking to turn it into a piece of coal.
But they turn away and go about their business as usual. They feel safe in numbers, wrapped neatly inside their smelly smoke cocoons. They feel protected. Shielded.
You can walk among them freely, breathing in the floating filth and tar. The ground stones and ash. You take the lot in and wonder why, oh why are people doing this? What do they get out of it?
Might as well stick their heads in the exhaust pipe and suck the fumes in.
You walk among them, feeling their wraith tentacles reaching for your brain, looking to turn it into a piece of coal. They ask you to sit down, happy to see you, lighting up another tobacco stick to mark the occasion. Fresh meat has just joined the party. Fresh meat for smoking. Time to celebrate!
They laugh and joke. They’re truly happy, like pigs in mud, wallowing merrily in their mire, grunting loudly.
Welcome, sit, they tell you again. The more the merrier, they shout, ordering another round of drinks.
Breathe lightly when among them. Oxygen is scarce there. Breathe lightly and remember, you have to destroy their brains.
How? All you have to do is tell them the truth. What truth?
That numbers kill.
What? They don’t understand.
You elaborate. Their strength in numbers…? That thing they enjoy when getting together to smoke unencumbered? It’s their Achilles’ heel. The safer they feel when congregating, the deeper the holes they drill inside their heads, exposing their brains.
They still don’t understand. Smokers are dumb when together and smoking. You have to explain it to them.
See, one cigarette, you tell them, or two, or ten, or even twenty and thirty a day are one thing. They’re harmful but manageable.
But a thousand cigarettes a day are a proper shafting. Throats, lungs, arteries, veins, all fucked.
What — what do you mean? they protest.
Well, the more you get together and smoke, especially in these enclosed, non-smoking areas you so enjoy taking over, the more concentrated the kick of the tobacco you inhale. You’re smoking not just your own cigarettes but everyone else’s, too.
200 smokers times ten cigarettes each and you get a minimum 2000 cigarettes for the night, delivered in chunks of anywhere between 50-100 at any given time, in an enclosed, poorly ventilated area.
You pause and give them time to understand. They seem perplexed, as if you just showed them a piece of Kryptonite and told them they’re from Krypton, but they don’t really know what Kryptonite is, or don’t want to hear about it.
You point around.
How many of you are there? Here, now! Smokers! In total! (You count — there’s about two hundred of them in an enclosed area of around four hundred square meters.)
And how many cigarettes will you smoke tonight? (They tell you about 10-15 apiece.) You laugh out loud.
You’re deluded, you tell them. 200 smokers times ten cigarettes each and you get a minimum 2000 cigarettes for the night, delivered in chunks of anywhere between 50-100 at any given time, in an enclosed, poorly ventilated area.
This makes for a whopping, continuous supply of at least 49 more cigarettes over and above your own.
Think these things will kill you a little faster than you think?
Say hello to your zombie kind when you get together for some communal puff-puff!
PS – please, DO take over enclosed spaces in droves. Light up en masse, go on! You’re helping evolution do its share of selecting.
And the Darwin Award goes to: The Smoker Zombies! SMOOOKES!
PS 2 – this is a forward-looking piece. A piece that looks into a future where people don’t inject themselves — and others — with carcinogens. Kinda like a world without carbon emissions and pollution in general, which we all love talking about, and for which we praise each other when raising the issue, looking to curtail emissions rather than use one kind of pollution to justify another.