Posted on Alt.Smokers.Pipes - June 19, 2004 (reposted here by permission of the author)

Preaching to the Choir


There. Now wasn't that simple? Apparantly not to certain people. On July 5th, ironically the very day after Independance Day, The state of Massachusetts will follow the path of other states and ban smoking in public buildings. All of this nonsense cold have been avoided by a simple government mandated warning (or not) placed on the doors of restauraunts, bars, etc... who chose to let thier patrons smoke. "This establishment allows it's patrons to smoke in designated areas. If you feel you may be uncomfortable in a smoking environment, you may request seating in one of our non smoking areas." . Simple. Polite. Restauraunt owners could choose. Smokers or Non Smokers could choose. People could be happy. I guess not.

Every Friday for the last 6 years I've met four of my friends for dinner at a local pub. After dinner we head to the bar and enjoy a pitcher of beer or two and a nice after dinner cigar or pipe while we talk Baseball and fly tying and fishing. If I had a nickel for every time me or one of my companions, when asked kindly by a dining patron to forgo our smoking until after they had eaten, eagerly complied.....welll....I wouldn't be selling cigars. Likewise if I had nickel for every time we refused the same when a rightous asshole demanded the extinguishment of our evening smokes...well.....I'd have Robin Leach narrating my every move.

Just last Friday, the day that our Governor signed the proposed ban into law, I was at my weekly get together and had just lit a nice Camacho Liberty Cigar. (Again...the irony). What began as a faint whisper of a grumble behind me, something to the effect of "God that stinks..." from a mulletted bar patron behind me, soon escalated to a chattering repitition of the phrase " I Can't wait till the 5th!" by the same gentleman shithead. I kept my cool. We continued puffing. The gentleman paid the bartender, turned to leave and decided to impress his white trash friends by screaming in my ear "I"LL BE BACK ON THE DRY 5TH!!!" . I snapped, turned around and shoved this douchbag about 4 feet away where he caught his balance. Ready for a fight that i'm certain would have ended up with me getting a good thrashing (I'm a little guy) and/or arrested, I met his surprised gaze and was surprised myself to see him turn tail and walk out the door without another word. I was even more surprised to hear several people clapping (Just a few...but enough).

I've seen the old posts on ASP. Democrat= Anti-Smoker, Republican = smoke friendly, but I don't buy it. While I am no proponent of political correctness, I don't think it is solely thier issue either. In fact I don't believe that the radical move towards a smoke-free America is to be blamed upon any one social or political group. It's much worse. It comes from the very souls of selfish people...and that is what our society has become. A people who cannot take responsibility for thier own actions. A people who cannot bear to see the existence of anything that is offensive to them. Utopians. Imagine a world where anything that makes us sad, angry or offended is banned. Let's ban homeless people. Let's ban perfume....jezuz I hate the smell of some perfume. Hey....let's even ban farting in public. And while we're at it......why don't we just piss on the U.S. Constitution and wipe our asses on Olde Glory? Why the fuck not? Offended by my language? the warning.

I used to wonder, before I worked retail tobacco counters, how these people got so powerful. Now I know. When I mention to a customer (and it happens several times daily) my disgust at the smoke bans, I am shocked and disgusted to hear him say in a apathetic tone "Well...waht're ya gonna do?". Shame on him. Shame on all of us for letting it get this far. We gave the the whole airplane back in the early 90's. Then we even gave them the Ball Parks. Now we've given them everything but our homes and the public parks and streets (Though some cities have banned them as well.!) In fact....the Mass. ban was halted and re written just a month or so ago when a contientious Senator noticed a lack of language in it's writing which could have allowed the ban to be interpereted as pertaing to our very own homes!!!

So. Whatr'e we gonna do? Here's what I suggest to this small forum of fine people. Smoke proudly! As citizens we MUST obey the rules. We needn't smoke in the places where we have been banned from. seen with your pipe, cigar or even cigarette publicly wherever possible. In the park...on the beach, walking the dog. Anywhere we can. It doesn't even have to be lit. Wanna have some real fun? Have an unlit pipe or cigar or cigarette in your mouth when you walk into a non smoking building. It's an amazing social experiment, if a bit obnoxious. Call your Senator daily. Leave a message. Hell, leave two. Tell your friends. In short: make the world your ASP. Should we push an angry bar patron several feet if he complains? Well....probably not a good idea (Though it felt great at the moment).

This will be my only rant on ASP. Hell, I know I'm preaching to the choir, but we can certainly recruit more choir singers and we can certainly let folks know that there are still lots of smokers out there and smoking isn't going to go away anytime soon. I'll tell you one thing: If it ever does go the way of alcohol during prohibition....I know a lot of guys on this group who are gonna get filthy free. Ernie Q.

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