Because you Smoke
The First Time..
The first time I heard that crap it was coming out of Mack’s mouth. He'd started hitting on every woman in the circle and had become the king of Wife Bashers.
He was going to explain why his relationship with his wife was ending:
“Cause she smokes cigarettes.”
What was so shocking was that Mack had smoked,
In fact, he used to break the filters off his wife’s cigarettes before lighting up
if he didn’t have his brand.
He must have quit recently, that is, if he quit.
No one made a sound when he utter that statement about his wife smoking. It was an extremely portentous silence followed by everyone deciding it was time to leave.
I took it as a life lesson.
When one wants to justify their behaviour they find a reason. A reason they can repeat in front of others.
A man can’t say;
“I want to sexually experiment with any woman who crosses my path, and
it has nothing to do with my wife, I’m just that kind of guy.”
A person can’t say;
“I wish you did something I could use to justify my behaviour but you haven’t so
I’m going to search for some plausible explanation to justify what I’m doing.”
So a reason is invented.
Smoking is one of those easy reasons.
Firstly, it is an action not a trait.
It is not as antagonistic as saying “I can’t stand the sound of your voice”,
“You have offensive body odor.”
It isn’t like saying;
“You’re too judgmental” or contrarily, “You’re too forgiving.”
Secondly, it is supposed to be self defining; smoking is bad and you smoke
so you are bad.
The inference being that if you didn’t smoke you would not be bad.
Thirdly, it gives an excuse that is supposed to be unassailable, such as telling Uncle Sidney he can’t come near your children because he is a convicted pederast.
Smoking is one of those ‘looking for occasion against you’ justifications which doesn’t stand up to the most cursory glance.
Mack wanted to cheat, Dee hadn't done anything, so Smoking was the scapegoat.
The Second Time
The Second time I heard that crap was about thirty years later.
A son wanted to get rid of his mother. Nothing wrong with the woman, he just didn't want her around.
He didn't care if his mother wound up in a homeless shelter or on the street. He needed a reason why he couldn't look after his mother.
He blasted; it was because she smokes and he can't stand the stink of cigarettes on her.
I almost spoke but didn't. I let him babble about cigarettes and smoking and say all the same things you've heard and read a thousand times.
His mother had been in the hospital for two weeks. She hadn't had a cigarette. He simply didn't want his mother around.
He couldn't say; "Listen you old bat I don't want to see you..."
"I want to slam my girlfriend on the dining room table so you can't be there."
or some other honest response.
Since he knew his mother had smoked, that was good enough for him.
When you watch movies from the 1940s until the 1960s, or television programs, during that time, you'll find that every other character smoked.
News presenters smoked, celebrities smoked,
Every body smoked. Every where was an ashtray, Air lines gave away complimentary packs of cigarettes. Everywhere one went there was also complimentary cigarettes. Smoking was common, cool, and no biggie.
Then, there was the big anti-smoking campaign It began in the late 60s and took up speed through the 70s and by the 1980s it became the 'enemy'.
Those who smoke were driven 'underground' smoking in secret as they have learned that if one doesn't know you smoke they can't find that fault with you.
Unless you smoke a lot in enclosed places, or have just put out a cigarette, the 'stink' doesn't stay with you. If you aren't having sex with another person, (or
close enough to have sex) they aren't going to smell cigarettes on you.
Just as the son could smell cigarettes on a mother who no longer smoked, he
can't smell cigarettes on a person he doesn't know smokes.
If people think you smoke, (even if you don't) they can 'smell cigarettes on you.'
(If you like to play with hypocrites and people like Mack make them think you
smoke, and watch all the false coughs and face twisting).
Smoking has become the easy reason why....(fill in the blank)
Proving my Point
I wrote this article a few years ago. A friend of mine, wanting to prove the point took and empty box of cigarettes, put in some small white pencils. And got on the elevator.
People started the false cough.
Amused he went to the box, took out a pencil, while everyone shouted, "You can't smoke in here!" and taking a pad wrote down..."Idiots" and held it up before getting out.