Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thank you for not kvetching

A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?” Oscar Wilde.

Everyday when I pass that Quiline ad that asks you “Do you want to stop smoking?” I have to answer – no, not really.

Yes, yes, yes, I know all the arguments, the facts, the figures but fuck, I love smoking.

I love everything about it. Getting the cigarette paper out of its little packet, opening the pouch of tobacco, rolling the smoke, lighting up.

Just the act of rolling the ciggie calms and soothes me. I find it relaxing, like counting on a rosary or chanting – not that I’ve done much of either recently, I admit.

If I’m wrestling with a difficult media release or groping to find the right words, I walk outside, have a ciggie and everything seems to fall into place.

I smoke outside, I don’t smoke near other people (apart from other smokers), I don’t smoke on the street and I don’t smoke near The Boy.

I also have private health insurance, so you can cut out the old “drain on the public health system” shtick.

In the end, you can no more legislate for wisdom than you can for virtue – despite what my old chum Maximilien Robespierre might believe.

Smoking – it’s grouse.

The hacking cough is a bit of a worry, though.


Anonymous said...

Yes, but how far do you pursue a pleasure that you know will kill you, and diminish quality of life in the intervening years?

I tried smoking in uni. Fortunately, while it was mildly pleasant (and cigars weren't too bad an occasional indulgence), the difficulty breathing and subsequent lethargy it gave me was sufficient disincentive against taking the habit up full-time.

Otherwise, who knows? I might even today be one of those self-delusional types dressing up "hooked on a dangerous drug that I don't have the willpower to quit" as "I do this by choice, because I live for the now, and don't care about any long-term consequences".

Anyway, back to me crack pipe.

Perseus said...

My 74 year old aunt was asked to quit smoking by her doctor. He said quitting would add at least ten years to her life. She said, "But it's the shit end."


I love every cigarette I smoke. I just wish I didn't. But I do.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I smoke five rollies during the week and none on the weekend.

Still stupid, I know.

Anonymous said...

I smoke five rollies during the week

Do you smoke the good stuff, like "White Ox"?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I'm far too lah-de-dar for White Ox, Boogey.

I only smoke "Old Holborn".

Only the finest imported English tobacco for me.

Anonymous said...

You're so old-school, Ramon.

Teh nintendo-gen kiddies like something more hi-tech, like this.

Meh, e-cigarettes. I'll wait till Steve Jobs brings out an all-white "i-cigarette". I'll be so cool walking along listening to my i-pod, puffing on my i-cigarette, coughing up all-white i-phlegm from my dying i-lungs.

Perseus said...

You only smoke five cigarettes a week, Ramon? Jeez. That's impressive. I smoke five before I get dressed in the morning.

My aim in life is to be a 'social smoker'. Maybe I should move away from Dunhill and over to Old Holborn.

What about when you're out, drinking?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

What about when you're out, drinking?

I do like a smoke with a beer but I've been smoking a lot less now that the smoking bans have come in - so that's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

I cigar complements a nice port well.

I don't know what rollie tobacco complements. Methylated spirits?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I don't know what rollie tobacco complements

Goes a treat with a nice Coopers.

Desci said...

I'm of the opinion that you pretty much have to smoke in your teens/early 20s. And I was smoking Marlboro Menthols so you know I wasn't doing it to try to be cool. But by 25 you should be trying to quit, and by 30 you should put the brakes on completely. Otherwise you succumb to The Boganing.

I never met a cigarette I didn't love, until 3 years ago. Have not had a drag of cigarette since. Not one, bitches.

And yet any time I drink, or talk about it... I want one. Like right now.

catlick said...

I visited the fabulous town of Wonthaggi the other day. On every street I ran the passive gauntlet. Everyone smokes. Pregnant woman pushing prams queueing for Centrelink smoked. Doctors smoked. Pensioners were ducking out from the pokies at the Workingman's club for a puff. Babies in prams and pre-schoolers were lighting up. Weird.

Perseus said...

I'm going to move to Wonthaggi TOMORROW. It sounds like paradise.

I lived in Athens for a couple of years. You can smoke in banks there.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I recall people smoking on the train from Amsterdamn Airport to the city - a journey of about 10 minutes.

That was a bit much - even for me.

Louche said...

After watching both my heavily-smoking, maternal grandparents die of cancer within 2 years in their early 60s, it's not a habit I am remotely interested.

See my other grandfather drinks like a fish, and is 89.

There's something in that for all of us!

wari lasi said...

I finally gave up two years ago after 20 years of smoking and 2 years of trying to quit. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Evil, insidious drug that nicotine is. I did the full circle, put on 15 kilos which I only lost again in the last 6 months.

I don't judge people who smoke for the reason that it is so incredibly addictive. Here, almost everyone smokes and they've just gone up to K15 a packet (25s) which is about $6. You can smoke in restaurants (which pisses me off) and all bars.

I don't think any person of sound mind these days "loves" smoking tobacco. You get no return on it, at least dope gets you out of it. You "love" it because you have to, it just won't go away.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Louche, I'm hoping my heavy drinking will counter-balance my social smoking.

Desci said...

I don't think any person of sound mind these days "loves" smoking tobacco.

I did. I bounced from 2 packs every 3 days to only when drunk, and back again for years. It wasn't the nicotine when I went back to 'social' smoking, it was the smoking itself. The tobacco, the inhalation, the ritual, etc.

Perseus said...

I agree Desci, but add to that list the 'happiness', even if it's a perverted happiness. And it only costs $13.60 at a petrol station, or $10.90 at the Colac supermarket (poor people prices).

Mr E Discharge said...

A GP not long ago expressed some displeasure at my answer to the Question "How many cigarettes do you smoke a day?". "As many as possible." was apparently the wrong answer.My bad.

Yes. I know it will probably kill me, but at some point you have to make a stand. I can either keep smoking or let the Nazis win.

One of my favorite questions to my fellow outcasts, huddled in doorways, in the cold and wind is "What's the difference between a Leper and a smoker?", Answer: "You can have Leprosy indoors!" Boom,boom.

Long ago and far away, I was working for a mayor technology museum in Silicon Valley. My Clients had booked a room at a swanky private hotel just down the road from Stanford University in Palo Alto. On my bedside table was a sign stating that smoking in the room would incur a $150 clean-up fee.

After much fucking and cunting, I caved in and went outside for a smoke. No sooner had I hit the pavement when a police car pulled in and ordered me to put out the fag. A local ordinance prohibited smoking in any public area! Cunts!

Went back to my room, grabbed my bags, and moved to the venerable St Francis in SF. Which in the intervening years has become a totally non-smoking hotel.And the cuntiness continues to spread.We must stand up and demand our rights. Rise up, Champions of Ruby.

I tend avoid non-smokers these days, especially in large groups, largely in response to the injustices dealt out to me over the years, but mostly because I can't stand how they smell.

Anonymous said...

I love smoking

I smoke like a storm trooper

patchouligirl said...

I once heard cigarettes described as 'the silent companion', and I love smoking, a ciggy in the hand is like a friend. Unfortunately my lungs didn't agree and I kept getting pleuricy (a lung infection, you feel all prickly down the sides). Fortunately the pleuricy was easily cleared up with antibiotics but it was obvious that there was no future in smoking for me. I haven't had one now for 5 years and really dont think about them anymore. Having just spent the last two years pregnant/breastfeeding, I certainly wouldn't want to be smoking and passing the chemicals on to my son.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

The ritual - exactly Desci.

That's the important part.

If I gave up smoking I'd have to find another ritual and sacrificing goats in public is frowned on these days.

Anonymous said...

Yes. I know it will probably kill me, but at some point you have to make a stand. I can either keep smoking or let the Nazis win.

This pretty much summarises the stupidity of smokers for me.

What are you, 13 years old or just a moron? You're not some noble rebel fighting against the establishment. You're not James fucking Dean, living some Hollywood-esque "live-fast, die-young, leave a good-looking corpse" lifestyle.

You're just one of many, very many, sad people hooked on a dirty, unpleasant drug, and kidding yourself that somehow, that addiction is a romantic rebellion against 'the man'.

I mean really. Buy a Che Guevara t-shirt already, have a wank, and get over it, you cool rebel.

homesick said...

At age 20 it was Kent cigarettes, porfrey Sauterne and a well packed bong or five on the weekend..

Now at 41 it is a well rolled joint mixed with a little Marlboro Light so it'll burn easier and a glass or four of either 'Cape Mentelle' Sav Blanc or 'Stags Leap' Merlot.

Far be it for me to judge anyone on their vice of choice. My dear Uncle smoked Camels (the unfiltered kind) since the age of 19, and at 60 a bloody big truck smacked into the side of his Commodore on the highway on route to a wedding in Melbourne.

And they all said the Camels would kill him.

In the end it was a FOX.. geddit?)

My much admired & idolised younger Uncle (babe of the family) bit it when traversing Mount Ousley in a truck with faulty brakes... and everyone said the marijuana would kill him.... HA!

What I'm trying to say is do what makes you feel good. It might kill you but then again......

Puss In Boots said...

The only good thing I can say about cigarettes: my nana died from lung cancer/emphysema. That's a good thing because it was either that or the paget's disease, and paget's is much nastier. Calcium builds up on your chest or skull, so you either die from suffocation or from having your brain squashed - while all of your other bones break from having no calcium.

Other than that, I have nothing good to say about them. Every one of my family smoked except for me (4 out of 5). It is very unpleasant growing up in a house with a permanent cloud near the ceiling. At least my parents quit once my nana died.

WitchOne said...

My grandmother is in her 80's and has been advised to quit, she asked why, her Dr looked at her and said good point, it hasn't killed you yet.

My grandfather a lifetime alcoholic who drank cologne (back in the days when it had an alcohol content) quit drinking. On his way to an AA meeting he was hit and killed by a drunk driver.

Now tell me, if I quit smoking, am I gonna die of smoking related causes anyway? Probably. I like my habit, it's my excuse to have a minute of my own, it allows me to read a book every month (in my single days it was a book a day), it gives me "away time" which is desperately needed!

wari lasi said...

Kick arse boogey. Tell us how you really feel.

I sort of assumed that Mr E's diatribe was tongue in cheek. I hope so anyway.

Did anyone else have to look up kvetching?

I know, I'm an illiterate fuckwit.

And witchone, you can have all those things without smoking. I still get up and go outside and wander when I need to clear my head, I just don't smoke a cigarette.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

In my defence, I don't think I'm rebelling against "the man".

I just like smoking.

And if somebody can point out "the man" to me, I'll give him a through tounge-lashing.

Anonymous said...

I had an uncle... I think that's how these anecdotes begin, so bear with me....

I had an uncle, a hard-drinking Canuck... a lumberjack too... he would chop trees and drink a bottle of mountain moonshine for breakfast, and smoke cigarettes all day long, and some during the night too. He would go through 10 packets a day.

That old man was as strong as an ox, and was still chopping down 100 trees a day well into his 80s, and he would drag them down the hill with his teeth. The doctors told him to quit smoking, that it would kill him - he just laughed at them, said he didn't need no poofy univarsity-trained medical pansy telling him what was healthy, then shat on their desks for good measure.

He was 85 when he was hit by an out-of-control b-double truck careening down the mountain-side. The smoking didn't kill him after all!

This wild anecdote proves that smoking's ok, because if my crazy Canuck uncle did it, and it didn't kill him, it'll be fine for me and everyone else.


Wari, Mr. E's diatribe didn't sound very tongue-in-cheek, but more like the 'smokers are unfairly discriminated against, boo hoo us' argument one hears a lot of.

I also hear a lot of "I know it's going to kill me but I don't care". I think people making such statements don't really believe it will happen to them, and will happily trot out any 'my relative did it and they lived to a ripe old age' anecdote to prove that some lucky people can avoid the consequences, so therefore the doctors must be wrong and they'll get away with it. I don't think anyone seriously says, "I know I'm going to be bed-ridden, fatigued and coughing up blood in 20 years time, with amputated feet and a breathing tube, placing a great burden of worry and sadness on my family, but heck - I'm enjoying myself now, so that's all that matters!"

The thinking is more like, "I know it will kill me, but ha ha, it won't really, because secretly I'm one of the lucky few who will escape scot-free, and live to a grand old age smoking all the way, or I'll be lucky enough to die an accidental death and prove all you doctors wrong, ha ha ha."

Sorry for the long rant, but my point is this: attitudes and anecdotes like that just serve to re-glamorise smoking - make it sound subversive, cool, underground, and all that government advertising and legislation against it is spin by nanny-state nazis. None of which are true.

Perseus said...

But smoking is cool if someone sexy does it. You know, like those femme fatales in film noir. So sexy.

Fad MD said...

sacrificing goats in public is frowned on these days.

That's bullshit Ramon. Everyone knows you can get a grant for that stuff nowadays!

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

What and have the PETA people pelting me with lentils, Fad?

Not bloody likely!

Anonymous said...

What and have the PETA people pelting me with lentils

I thought PETA were sort of opposed to Pelting.

I suppose it's ok if it's a legume and doesn't have a pulse.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I so want a "HG Fleshing Machine".

wari lasi said...

Sorry for the brevity of my rant, but boogey, I agree entirely.

And Fad, ae you still in PI? Did you escape the typhoon?

Anonymous said...

I so want a "HG Fleshing Machine".

What have you got against Roy and HG?

Mr E Discharge said...

Boogeyman, My original post was a lame, humourous attempt to alert the world to the existence of a global cadre of sanctimonious pricks. Thank you for the practical illustration.


homesick said...

But smoking is cool if someone sexy does it. You know, like those femme fatales in film noir. So sexy.

I believe this is because they're sucking on something long and thin.. the 'phallic in the womans mouth' theory.

Boogey I apologise for the Uncle references but it was purely to bring a little dark humour to the thread.

Whilst those anecdotes are 100% fact I still agree that nothing good can come from smoking. Adult smokers know the risks and if they continue then so be it. I know many smokers but none who puff to make a stance against 'the man'.

So Boogey, got any vices of your own?

Anonymous said...

My original post was a lame, humourous attempt to alert the world to the existence of a global cadre of sanctimonious pricks.

Well, you failed pathetically at the 'humour' part, didn't you, Discharge? But did put in a sterling effort at championing the most odious type of smoker - a self-deluding apologist who uses weak defences like "you're all so sanctimonious, I'm so cool, so nyerr."

You really are the tobacco equivalent of Cookster, aren't you, Discharge?

Anonymous said...

Homesick, sure I have vices. But if those vices were in opposition to medical opinion, would you really want me to cunt punt your common sense by trying to justify them?

As for people who smoke to be cool and rebel against 'the man', just why exactly do you think teenagers and uni students take up the habit in the first place? Because they like the minty taste?

Fad MD said...

Yes Wari, still here.
I was pissed off because the typhoon woke me up at 4am when it passed closest to Manila.

This place is a bit like Bangladesh in that it floods if someone sneezes.

The upside was that the Shangri-La buffet wan't nearly as busy.

Mr E Discharge said...

You could have made your point without resorting to the use of words like "Cookster". It demeans us both.

Dignity, man.