The smoky blues...
I hate the smoking ban. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I love smoking. I
love smoking after I eat, and I love smoking while I drink. For most
smokers, smoking after meals and while drinking are 2 of the 3 best times
to have a cigarette (smoking after sex will always be #1, but its a close
race). The smoking ban in bars needs to go, soon, or we will suffer a fate
worse than cancer, emphysema, stained teeth and bad breath combined. A
fate that no amount of legislation, money, or self help books will ever
fix. What is this horrible fate?
American bars will be lame.
Yep, thats right. Lame. A longtime bar-hopper myself, I took the smoking
ban personally and exiled myself from the scene. I know where my moneys
not wanted. Months went by before I ventured back, and when I did, I
didnt like who and what I saw. Non-smokers. Whole families of em,
sitting there, not smoking, clearly visible. It was then that I realized
that there is a fundamental difference between smokers and non-smokers:
Non-smokers are lame. Theyre good people, but just lame, and therefore
should be banned from bars. Why?
They wont put a hot stick of flaming tobacco in their mouth.
Invariably, people who defy death are more interesting than others. Doing
something that is dangerous, that has a level of unpredictability, is
interesting. Dangerous=interesting. Smoking=dangerous.
Smokers=interesting. Smoking automatically makes you interesting.
Dangerous. And unpredictable. Add a little alcohol and bad judgment and
you now have a recipe for a good time. While I have witnessed many
non-smokers trying to recreate this level of good time, it always seems to
come out like cable porn. All soft jazz, scripted, and no money shot.
Bars used to be the last bastion of debauchery and depravity, where
society allowed and tolerated getting loose. When you walked into a
bar, you never knew where the night was going to take you. Anything
could, and did, happen. Bars were loud, smelly, and dangerous. Only
neer-do-wells would remain after happy hour, lighting another cigarette,
dreading the eventual last call.
Now, bars are filled with PG movie-loving, designated-driver-having, I
wear a helmet Rollerblading non-smoking lame-Os that brought us such
joys as the Parental Advisory warning. And thats not cool.
I lament the loss of our cultural coolness that accompanies the smoking
ban. No more meet-cutes that start with I saw her across a smoky bar.
No more lighting a lady‘s cigarette as an icebreaker. James Dean
wanna-bes will have to be content to lean against the bar, posing, with a
ringing cell phone rolled up in their sleeve. Smoking in the boys room
will now land you in jail. The Marlboro Man has left flavor country, his
miles no longer redeemable. There are no more places in America were
everybody is welcome anymore.
Please bring back smoking in bars, now, before I lose my cool.
Joe Ferraro via email