On Smokers

“We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning”

-Billy Joel

Photo credit: David Pecka


I hate smokers. I know some people who smoke, and I guess I don’t hate them, but I think I hate a teeny tiny part of their personality. The smoker part. You know what I am talking about. The part of their personality that blows smoke in your face, litters the ground with their butts, stinks up your life, and thinks that getting another puff is more important than anything else. You know, that part of their personality that is slowing killing them and being a real ass about it while they are at it.

I mean, I get that addiction is a disease, that people drank Big Tobacco’s Kool-Aid, and are now living this particular lifestyle. But what I don’t get is how it got to the point where there is this fraction of the population that not only is knowingly killing themselves, but they are trying to kill everyone around them too. I’m talking about that stereotypical smoker trope with the attitude of, if you don’t want to smell smoke, then you can find somewhere else to be. I guess they technically have a point, that in a public space they are free to do as they please, but by the same token shouldn’t I be free to breathe clean air? The mentality that somehow their addiction is more important than anyone else around them is so frustrating to me. And there is no explaining this to them. They are willfully ignorant of that particular hypocrisy.

Now, this isn’t true of all smokers. My mother-in-law used to smoke and would avoid me to the point of being rude in the opposite direction so that I wasn’t around when she lit up. Like, “get away from me, because I’m about to have a noxious cloud around me and I don’t want you to breathe it in.” Which is sad in its own right. But even now that she has weaned herself off cigarettes with those equally confounding e-cigs, she has fallen into that habit of using it anywhere she wants, including other people’s cars or walking next to you down the sidewalk, because “its only water vapor” that comes out. It’s still a visible manifestation of your nasty habit and is therefore still gross. Like those CGI mockups for cough medicine commercials that show the spray from when someone coughs and doesn’t cover their mouth. Nobody needs that, nor do they want it.

But there are others too that aren’t so self-centered as your typical smoker. My husband used to work with a guy who would stub out his cigarette and then put it in his pocket until he found a garbage can. My husband came home one day and told me that in a way that said “isn’t that so nice?” Which on one hand it is nice that he does that but on the other is super frustrating that our standards for smokers are so low that doing what is otherwise normal behavior for most people, i.e. not littering, is somehow above and beyond for smokers. We are now going to applaud this one particular smoker for doing the right thing just because nearly every other smoker is a littering jerk? That really Nestles my tollhouse. These are the same class of people that think it’s acceptable to empty an ashtray out the window of their moving car onto a bicyclist. This was a few years ago, and luckily nothing actually hit me, but I’m still pretty miffed. In what world is that acceptable? In what world?!

Somewhere along the line their disgusting, destructive habit has led some of them to become disgusting, destructive people. Who by the way have no regard for personal or public space, or the personal freedoms they supposedly hold so dear, as long as it’s their own. And I truly blame smoking. I don’t quite understand how it happened or why, but smoking seems to be a fairly common common denominator that I’ve noticed amongst truly crappy people #mathjokes. I generalize, they aren’t all crappy people. But for some, along with the host of horrible things that they physically cause in their bodies when they smoke, why do they need to add on top of that the apathy to the point of cruelty towards those around them? There’s no excuse for that in my mind.

Yours,
Quietly Seething

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