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A00956072


SMOKING AND LAWS




Gnawing on a concoction of beef between bread, the famous Judice Burger, two pounds worth of the greasiest, most macho food on the planet, i smell my tobacco-stained, tar-covered fingers, yellow and brown, reminding me that itís illegal to smoke in the city now. This might be hard for the non-smoker to understand, but the post-meal cigarette is more important than the last smoke of the day. Normally, i would light up before the restaurant door could close behind me, satisfaction, serenity, happiness, one with the universe. No more.


i spit a mouthful of cow back onto my plate. Itís good and itís the best and iím quite hungry, but all i can think about is how i wonít be able to smoke afterwards. It turns my stomach, twists it and wraps it into knots. It rejects pleasure when itís afraid. i go with my gut. If my gut says stop, give up, i stop, i give up. i donít question the gut. Itís got reasoning and wisdom beyond the rest of me. iím 120 lbs. and my gut knows best, always knows best. Canít smoke! i just canít smoke!


And then there is that 80 cent per pack tax increase to our already overpriced overprices, making the long-lived act of smoking no longer a poor manís sport. Millions upon millions of men and women work their lives away simply to be able to smoke. Millions of others quit their jobs to be able to smoke more simply.


They sit on corners like packs of hungry wolves, thirsty for tar, waiting for someone to walk by with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. Not that hey have to see it in their mouth to know its there. For wild beasts, theyíre smart, and they can tell by the square bulge in the passerbyís pants that theyíre holding. They can smell it on their clothing, study the fingers for nicotine stains and the teeth, the breath, the leathery skin of the face. They can feel waves of damp tar radiating from darkened lungs like an aroma of transcendent bliss, God in the souls of Man, true happiness, the meaning of Life. And so, in lines and rows and on knees if they must, they go: ďCan I get a smoke? Ė can I bum a smoke? Ė can you spare a FUCKING smoke?Ē


And the man with the fresh pack of overtaxed, overpriced cigarettes being begged knows right off that the wolves know heís holding and he canít say no without putting himself in danger, so he takes that pack of cigarettes that he paid more than triple its worth for, way too much for, and he hands one to the first beggar, hoping the rest of them will have some courtesy, some dignity, some generosity, some FUCKING decency, to wait until the next sucker comes along willing to spend an hourís work on a pack of cigarettes, but they donít wait and they never wait and the guy with the fresh pack, just opened, that field and factory smell, knows this and he considers making a run for it, but he smokes too much to run and he realizes that theyíd follow him anyway, like dogs love the chase, without thought, run that smoker down, charge him, trample him, stampede him, tackle him, take his fresh pack of overtaxed, overpriced cigarettes, holy halleluiah.


And so what does our hero do? Ė what can he do besides give them up?


Well, heís smarter than the wild beasts and instead of giving each of them a cigarette apiece, which there are 12 of them sniffing around, saliva hanging from their open jaws, attack in their stance, kill in their eyes, our hero pulls only 3 from the fresh pack and he throws them into the air. The cigarettes hit the ground, bounce one time, roll, they echo like a canyon HELL-O-O-O-O-O-O! The fiends donít hesitate, fiends never hesitate. They donít look to each other first, to see if the others saw or heard or smelled the tobacco in the breeze. No. They know, shit they all know, and if they waste just one second thinking about it they wonít get one of those smokes. They canít afford to think. Consumers can only act: consume, consume. Fortunately for them, it is their nature to not think, instinct, consume.


So they run, they rush, dash, they clash, they wrestle and fight and gnaw and bite and when its all over, what was once 3 cigarettes is now loose tobacco floating above their swollen, red faces like dandelion in a backward wind.


The beasts are furious, realizing that theyíve been duped. They snarl and growl and look for the smoker, but he is long gone by then, around the corner enjoying the greasy of all greasy, the utterly inhuman Judice Burger, the most macho food on the planet. And after his meal, he walks out into the cool autumn air and lights up a cigarette. Itís overtaxed and overpriced and certainly overrated, but it feels so good to have his lungs filled with smoke on such a full gut, even if some people have no idea what that feels like.



None of that happens anymore now that itís illegal to have that feeling. And so it is, once again, another pleasure has been taken away, another precious gift in a world full of hardship and struggle, and anyway, everyone knows, or rather they should, that Freedoms are necessarily taken, and they cannot ever truly be given, and using this simple idea, weíre given more Freedom by having Freedom taken away. And as luck, or more precisely, Freedom, would have it, you donít get paid to smoke. You donít get paid to enjoy. You get paid to work. And ironically, you pay them so that you can work. Hence, the Freedom to work, not the Freedom of pleasure.


Thus they say: smoke Ďem if you got Ďem . . .


while you still can.




------
jesuschriss; aka jimmy condomhead (of jimmy condomhead and the rubberband peanut stand, featured on myspace music); aka cgstarling; aka johnny longhead; aka lib raulphf; aka jc bibble; aka jc; aka christof gee starling; aka (jcgs); aka





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