A 2005 New Year's Rant

Well, another year's gone. And just like other years we've had our share of highs and lows, gains and losses, good times and bad times. In 2004 being a Red Sox fan from Massachusetts meant we got to experience one of the highest of highs, I'm talkin' right up there with winning the lottery, it just doesn't last as long. Yes, after 86 very long years our beloved Red Sox finally won the World Series creating a feeling of joy and satisfaction that cannot be explained with words. We'd been bitching for so long about the curse of the Bambino that when it was finally over and we no longer had anything to bitch about, we didn't know what to do with ourselves. But unlike the short lived highs of the Red Sox victory, the lows we've experienced from our losses in 2004 will linger on indefinitely.

I could be talking about all the lives lost in Iraq this past year but it's a little closer to home than that. While our troops are half way across the world fighting for a free Iraq, back here in the good old U.S. of A. we're losing our own freedoms daily and no one's doing much fighting back. Maybe people are too ashamed to fight from being brainwashed all these years. Do I sound angry? You're damn right I'm angry. Three years ago I became a member of a small local organization. We were a respectable group of folks comprised of doctors, technicians, law students, veterans, businessmen, teachers and retirees that met once a month to enjoyed a good meal and celebrate our favorite pastime...smoking our pipes. It was a great place to make friends, share ideas and on many occasions, help our fellow man (or woman). We had been meeting in the same place for over a decade and we weren't hurting anyone, even our waiter was only in the room for a few minutes at a time. Now with the new Massachusetts Workplace Smoking Ban we've become second class citizens, cast out into the streets, banished to our homes and forced to take our business to neighboring states. It's a damn shame that things like this have to happen but unfortunately the future doesn't look any brighter. Two hundred years ago we fought long and hard for a free America, but back then when Paul Revere rode from town to town spreading the word that the "Regulars" were coming, the people listened. Well listen up now folks! The Regulars are here and it doesn't look like we have enough men (or women) like Adams, Franklin and Jefferson to negotiate our freedom back or prevent the loss of more. It's a sad state of affairs and it's only going to get worse.

So what do we have to look forward to in the future? One thing I see is long, long lines of sickeningly healthy people. Oh yeah, we Americans are going to become so damn healthy that before long even men will actually have to wait in line to use the public restroom. There'll be twice as many happy healthy people in the world and twice as many cars on the road. You think an hour long commute is bad now just wait, in ten years it'll be two hours. You'll have to buy movie tickets the same way you buy Red Sox tickets...online and as fast as you can before they're sold out. As a matter of fact movie theatres may even cease to exist and everyone will be watching the new movies at home. Well at least at home you'll be able to smoke. And don't think you'll be eating out that much anymore either, unless you have a reservation that is... if you can get one. And forget about fast food restaurants... they're next on the hit list. I remember hearing from someone not too long ago that in China, in order to control the population you needed to be granted permission before you could have a baby. We could deal with that, right? Hey, maybe by then the rover on Mars will have sent back enough information to determine if it's safe to live up there. That'll work out perfectly because we're definitely going to need a place to put everybody. Oh wait; I just remembered something that blows my theory all to hell. I forgot that there won't be any social security money left so we won't have to worry about keeping all those senior citizens alive. What was I thinking?

This may all sound a little far fetched to you but if all goes as they plan, the possibilities of it happening may not be as unrealistic as you think. The good thing is we won't need to worry about it; we'll just let our grandkids deal with it while they're trying to pay off the huge national debt that we're leaving them. But who really cares as long as we're healthy.....right?

So now I can legally marry the guy I played baseball with as a kid but I can't have a smoke with him at the bar. What's wrong with this picture folks? Don't get me wrong, I know cigarette smoking is not the best thing for your health; you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. But I don't smoke cigarettes! Those of us who choose to enjoy the non addicting pleasures of the pipe or cigar are being dragged under the bus right along with the cigarette smokers and it's just not right. Pipe and cigar smokers don't need to go outside every half hour to smoke. Why, because they do it for enjoyment not necessity. It makes us happy, and if memory serves me correctly, isn't there something in the Constitution about the pursuit of happiness?

As for cigarette smokers, I've got nothing against them personally. If they want to smoke, let them smoke. It's their choice. But the real issue these days isn't so much about us killing ourselves as it is about killing others in the process of killing ourselves. Which brings us to the second hand smoke issue or as they call it ETS, "Environmental Tobacco Smoke". I've seen enough reliable reports that show the statistics around the effects of second hand smoke are not near as accurate as they want you to believe. Maybe the acronym ETS would be more accurately described as "Exaggerated Tobacco Statistics”. But it probably won't make a difference because like I said before... nobody's listening. By now so many of the lawmakers have been so brainwashed that they don't need solid proof to act anymore, they just act. Is fairness no longer an option?

So that's what I'm hoping for in 2005. I'd like to see a little fairness on the part of the lawmakers across our nation with regard to their smoking policies. There are plenty of ways to make people both happy AND healthy at the same time. Do you really believe these smoking bans are going to do anything to improve the health care system? I don't! They'll all be too busy trying figure out ways to get us up to Mars. Let's be realistic, they'll never really be able to make EVERYBODY happy AND healthy, it's just part of life. Isn't it? There are much better ways of keeping people healthy while still allowing everyone to pursue their happiness. As Ben Franklin said numerous times during the drafting of the Constitution, “Both sides need to give up something." So far the smokers... all of them... have given up just about everything. We need something back. Whether it be for necessity or enjoyment, we need legitimate places for people to smoke without requiring the need to wear a jacket. Rooms with proper ventilation, intended for smokers only should be made available at restaurants, bars and other facilities that wish to have them, a place where people can enjoy their pipe, cigar or cigarette after a meal or while enjoying a drink or a night out with friends. Smoking should also be allowed in private clubs and that are not open to the general public and veterans associations. Smoking should never be banned outdoors or in anyone’s home, ever! By taking this into consideration the smokers should be happier and the nonsmokers happier AND healthier. It's still a two for one deal but I think it's a deal we could live with and more importantly.... it includes fairness.

So to those of you who desire one or both, I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy 2005 and ask that all smokers do their part, small or big, to restore our freedom to smoke while America is still free.

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