Welcome to another Adam's Life patented rant.
I dislike cigarette smokers. Now, I know a few smokers who are generally very fine people... but I hate who they become when a cigarette hits their lips. A cigarette temporarily turns decent human beings into the most vile creatures on the planet, and the saddest part is, they don't even know it.
Perhaps you've heard of the "Flaming Bag Of Shit" prank, or seen it in the Adam Sandler movie "Billy Madison". It involves putting poop into a paper bag, placing it on somebody's doorstep, lighting the bag on fire, ringing the doorbell, and then hiding in the bushes. When the homeowner opens the door, they see the flaming bag, stomp it out with their shoes... and discover that their shoes now have crap all over them. Then the perpetrator snickers in the bushes.
What kind of person does this kind of thing? An asshole, clearly. Whether you smoke cigarettes or not, most people agree this is a crude, horrible thing to do to someone.
Yet, smokers do this EVERY DAY. They do it to you, to me, and especially to those in low-paying custodial jobs.
Watch a smoker on the street. They will take long, loving drags of their cigarette, and then, when it's about halfway done, they'll nonchalantly flick it to the ground, where it rolls to a stop, still smoking. Then, the smoker will walk away, not giving that cigarette a second thought.
That cigarette is a bag of flaming shit. A miniature bag of flaming shit. And someone will step on it, either inadvertently, or trying to stop an inevitable fire. Or a small, curious child will pick it up in their hands. Or a bird will choke on it. Or it will be washed down the drain and join 10,000 other discarded cigarettes, destined to pollute our nation's waterways.
Would we put up with a person throwing flaming bags of shit everywhere? No. Yet for some reason, smokers are perfectly fine with littering everywhere. They do it without caring. They do it without thinking. It's an unconscious gesture passed down from the kid they first smoked with back in high school, the kid who's still assistant manager at the Wendy's.
It's crude, rude, and gross. And the sidewalks of New York City are marked and spattered with smokers' mini bags of shit.
If that was all, I might be able to forgive smokers. But there's more.
How would you feel if your next-door neighbor burned their trash in their yard? When you leave your house in the morning, the putrid smell of burning garbage enters your nose and throat. When you come back at night, the pungent fumes make you cough and gag. You'd call the authorities. You'd probably strongly consider moving, just to get away from the air pollution.
And how would you feel if someone with a cold kept coughing right in your face? You'd probably think they were just about the rudest person in the planet.
Smokers are miniature mobile incinerators. They burn their garbage everywhere: city streets, sports stadiums, bus stops, office buildings, restaurants. And the smoke always wafts away from them, into the air passages of non smokers.
Smokers spread their disease, right into your face. Everyday on my way to work, on my way to lunch, on my way back from work, a smoker is inevitably walking directly in front of me. They'll take a long, loving drag from their cigarette, and then, BOOM, a blast of smoke out of the corner of their mouth.
The wind blows towards me. I get a mouthful of smoke. Some white ashes fly onto my clothes.
The smoker continues walking, continues puffing, oblivious.
I run to get in front of them, desperate to get out of the line of fire.
The smoker continues puffing, indifferent.
Maybe you can put up with the littering and the smoke in your face. But now imagine there's a group of people who demand that you pay them money so that they can continue playing a game of Russian Roulette (that's when one bullet is loaded into a six-shooter pistol, and the player pulls the trigger, risking that the chamber might be full).
You'd most likely say "hell no." You'd call them suicidal. You'd demand that their guns be taken away. You'd tell them to seek help.
Instead, non-smoking Americans pay, on average, $630 extra dollars a year in federal and state taxes, to pay for the health costs of smokers-- people who engage in an activity known to shorten their lives. $630 dollars, to ensure that people who choose to kill themselves slowly can be treated for their smoking-related illnesses.
That's not even factoring in the cost to the economy of these people taking "smoking breaks" during work, which can last 20 minutes or more and take place several times a day.
Finally, imagine that this person--who put a flaming bag of shit at your doorstep, who burned their trash next door, who coughed in your face, who made you pay money to fund his suicidal game--then complained that he was treated like a second class citizen.
"They make us smoke outside in the cold, like we're animals!"
They complain all the time. Talk about the good old days when they could smoke in bars and restaurants, when cigarettes were cheap and Joe Camel used to give them free rides on his humpy backside.
If that wasn't enough to get you pissed at this hypothetical person, imagine they keep insisting, "I can stop anytime I want to." But they don't. They continue these behaviors, refusing to acknowledge the following three things:
1. The smell of smoke is bad.
2. Other people exist.
3. Perhaps, maybe, they should get far away from other people when they smoke.
One day, smoking in most places will be illegal. We're headed there already. Many municipalities have banned smoking indoors, and a few have banned smoking in public entirely. No one can justify why nicotine isn't illegal... it's a substance designed to trick the brain into wanting more of it. All other drugs of this nature are strictly controlled. It's just a matter of time before the government no longer feels the pressure from an unpopular, weakened, and financially-strapped Big Tobacco.
But smokers shouldn't be outraged. They've had the right to smoke for centuries... and they've abused that privilege. It's their right to smoke, but is it also their right to litter, to force their smoke onto others, to steal our money and waste our time? Maybe if smokers were more responsible about their smoking, people wouldn't want to ban their activity so much.
So smokers, be warned. Stay the hell out of my way.
[UPDATE:] A handy chart:
My next rant: Irresponsible New York City dog owners.