Monday, September 27, 2004

The World Is My Ashtray

Right now I’m burning off seven minutes of my life. After I finish with this seven minutes, I’ll light up another cigarette and take care of another seven shitty minutes of old age. And I will love it just as much as this one.

I love smoking. All the cool people smoke. Me, Johnny Depp, Kurt Vonnegut, Hunter S. Thompson, Denis Leary, Bill Hicks. Okay, so Bill Hicks died in his forties, but that’s only because he quit smoking. And he died of pancreatic cancer, not lung cancer or a heart attack. That was his body’s big “fuck you” for all of those smoking and health nut jokes he told. You want to quit and be a huge hypocrite? Okay, bam, you’re dead. And, sure, Denis Leary quit and lost his sense of humor and started making movies like “Dawg.” But Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is pushing eighty and still inhaling Pall Malls like a dying man sucking on oxygen in a crashing plane. He knows what I know. Quitters never win.

If you’re not smoking you should be.

It’s like Denis Leary said back when he was still funny and not putting fifty percent crappy music filler on his comedy albums.

“Smoking takes ten years off your life. Well it's the ten worst years, isn't it folks? It's the ones at the end! It's the wheelchair, kidney dialysis, adult diaper fucking years. You can have those years! We don't want 'em, alright?”

My grandmother has spent the last seven years wasting away in a nursing home, unaware of who she is and who her family is. When I go see her, she doesn’t have a clue who I am. She can’t get out of bed because her hip keeps breaking. I love my grandmother dearly, but I don’t think that’s living. That’s why I’m smoking for my health. So I never have to go through that. When I keel over of a heart attack at fifty something like my grandfather did, I’ll still be a virile and cognizant bastard. And I’ll have a big fucking smile on my face because I never had to wear Depends. People will remember me as a force of nature rather than some frail, brittle-boned old man with translucent skin.

Don’t let anyone tell you that smoking makes you look old either. That’s bullshit. I’m thirty-five years old and look younger than most non-smokers. It isn’t smoking that makes you look old, it’s growing up. I mean look at Johnny Depp. Look at Brad Pitt. Do either of those guys look forty?

If anything smoking keeps you young. Colonel Depp hasn’t aged a day in the last twenty years and that’s because he smokes.

What? You think I’m making this stuff up?

Back in the fifties Rod Serling would smoke in his intros for Twilight Zone. That’s how fucking cool he was. He was from our grandparents’ generation where all the men worked eighteen hours and smoked four packs of cigarettes a day. They did us all a huge favor and died young before they could drain Social Security dry.

Not our generation. We’re making all of these fucking smoke-free environments. We have some sort of complex where we think we’re going to live forever if only we eat right and quit smoking and quit drinking and quit having any sort of fun what-so-fucking-ever. In some places, like California and New York City, you can’t even smoke in a bar anymore. In a goddamn bar. Bukowski is rolling in his grave right now.

We’re a selfish, weak-willed bunch of assholes that have let the non-smokers make all of the decisions for us. Those same non-smokers who drive gas-guzzling SUVs that burn through petroleum and pollute the fucking environment like there’s no tomorrow, screaming, “Second-hand smoke kills! Second-hand smoke kills!”

Because it’s okay to kill the world ecology as long you’re not indirectly killing people.

And what’s so bad about indirectly killing people? That’s one of my favorite reasons for smoking. That makes me want to smoke more. It makes me want to blow smoke in the face of every baby on the planet.

Bill Hicks said it best about non-smokers when he said, “Obnoxious, self-righteous, whining little fucks. My biggest fear is if I quit smoking I’ll become one of you.”

The only thing worse than someone who’s never smoked is someone who’s quit smoking and points that out to you every time you light up. You know what, asshole? That was your choice to be a goddamn quitter. I don’t quit anything. Here, have some second-hand smoke, you fucking Benedict Arnold.

Sure, there are some drawbacks, but even the drawbacks can be a plus. Your teeth will turn yellow and everything you own will smell like an ashtray. But when you smoke, you don’t smell any of that anyway. Every nasty smell that every non-smoker has to suffer through, you’re automatically exempt from, including your own cigarette smoke. And you can always get your teeth bleached like I did. I have whiter teeth than a lot of coffee-drinking non-smokers. Now there’s an oxymoron if there ever was one.

Who can love coffee and not smoke?

For that matter, who can love beer and not smoke?

There’s nothing better than throwing back beer after beer and chain-smoking a night away. It’s sublime. It’s one of the reasons mankind crawled out the muck.

It’s okay that I wheeze like an eighty-year old man, because I look fucking great when I’m smoking a cigarette. No non-smoker will ever look as cool as I do sitting here writing this right now.

Even the coolest fictional characters smoke. Where would Marla Singer be without her chain-smoking? Tony Soprano never looks more menacing than when he’s lighting up a big fat Cuban cigar. Wolverine smokes. John Constantine smokes.

So, kids, take my advice and start smoking.

It’s like Dennis Hopper said in Waterworld.

“You’re never too young to start.”

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