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Volume ∞ Issue ∞

Second hand smoke

Mon, Jan 21st, 2008
Posted in Commentary

The reported health risks of second hand smoke are likened to the Great Plagues of Europe. If it were true, Baby Boomers would not be a threat to Medicare and Social Security. They would not have been large enough to mount campaigns for women's rights, civil rights or the right to cosmetic surgery.

This generation grew up in a blue gray haze that had no free zones except the front pews in church. The Greatest Generation smoked. They smoked everywhere, all the time. Ashtrays the size of bathtubs filled living spaces, public lobbies, even doctors offices. Mothers nursed their babies and enjoyed the sit down time by smoking while baby suckled. Cigarette tips would glow in the magical darkness of movie theaters and served as a soothing nightlight for small children looking for mommy or daddy when the boogey man visited at night.

Smoking was a perfectly civil activity until the 1970's when concerns were raised about a connection between Lucky Strikes and tumor spotted lungs. Before that, who knew?

Now, this information, in the hands of serious Baby Boomers determined to live forever and look good besides, has become a drum beat to war.

No Smoking- ever- anywhere-

Not in a plane or a train. If smokers would walk cross-country, they'd be healthier.

Not in a bathroom, bad smells have no place there.

Not in a bedroom, even after sex with Johnny Depp.

Not in a restaurant- why increase the risks after those burgers and fries?

Not in a bar because only the healthy and righteous go there.

Not in a public, outdoor park where the sparrows might drop from the tree tops.

Not in the movies or on television where children might get bad ideas. Without the smoking, only wholesome images are offered up in the media.

Not within 25 feet of the entrance to a building, even if it's a bowling alley.

The world is clearly a better place, of course. We can no longer see the air we breathe so we just trust it is there. Nobody is mourning the ashtray industry. There are smoke free states. Whole states! Everyone smells good. There is no risk of small children playing with matches because nobody needs matches. The tobacco industry is still thriving because they can market to brown skinned people overseas who, apparently, have not heard the news about second hand smoke.

Oh, there are still smokers out there, huddled in the cold, clustered up in human knots, greater than 25 feet from the building entrances, and they deserve to be watched closely. What do they talk to each other about, out there? They talk about being marginalized. They talk about how stupid it is to be freezing their small bits off in the cold. If they had more breath, they could plot a revolution. Shouldn't someone infiltrate this group to prevent an uprising? We'd have to offer combat pay to send them into the midst of that second hand smoke.

Better we just tap their phone lines.

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