This is one of those topics on which I harp on from time to time. And by “harp” I pretty much mean the instrument my family members must be playing up in Heaven. Right after they accidentally burned down the family tree with a carelessly discarded lit cigarette.
Apparently I’m the proverbial apple that fell far from the tree. Or, in Taker family terms, I’m a mutant. Ironically, at least in this context, I’m a dying breed. You see, I don’t smoke and I never have.
I grew up in the “typical” American family. Our core family unit consisted of mom, dad, a sister, myself and 2.3 cats. Assuming the smoking rate back then, the math is already amazing. For simplicity’s sake we’ll say the odds of an adult smoking were one-in-three back when I was a youngling. Based on that, the odds of me being the only non-smoker in a family of four was about 1 in 27.
But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there. My sister had some children. 4 out of 4 of them are smokers. I had a son. He’s a smoker. My wife had a son. He’s a smoker. My son just announced his pending nuptials on Facebook. Nearby was a picture of the lucky couple. Both were proudly holding cigarettes.
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The local TV news, which consists of 18 minutes weather, 2 minutes news and 10 minutes commercials, has been telling us for months that practically every single day is setting another local weather record. In winter we had the warmest winter days ever. There have been lots of rainfall records along the way, including one just a couple of days ago. And now, finally, record heat days are occurring on a regular basis.
I think we’re setting a record on setting new records. Somebody check the records. This has got to be true.
Living in Portland means, of course, there is no air conditioning in our house circa 1950s. I think they hates them, they do. Maybe things were cooler in the 1950s so people didn’t think they were really needed? Bioswale floors, walls, ceilings and roofs constructed out of organic kale didn’t exist back then, did they?
Whatever the case, when the heat hits our house like an oven on broil, the windows, reluctantly, have to be placed in the “open” position. And that’s when the shit goes sideways.
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Once or twice a year I get up early, haul myself down to the donut shop and get something not good for me. What can I say? We all have our vices, right?
A short time ago I made the trip. Along the way, around 9:15am, I passed a tavern. Out front was a guy leaning against the building not far from the front door. It was a cold, wet, gloomy morning and an arctic 30 degrees (not counting any damn wind chill).
The man was smoking away.
Look on the bright side, I thought. At least I’m not him.
Who says I can’t have positive thoughts? Apparently all of mine come tinged with a wee bit of judgement. Perhaps that’s not ideal but I can live with. It makes the donut that much more delicious. At least I have taste buds.
As you probably know a pharmacy called CVS recently made big news by announcing they were phasing out sales of cigarettes (and other tobacco products) in their stores. Now I don’t know CVS from a hole in the ground. I’ve never been in one. I tend to avoid places like that.
Still, I welcome this bit of news. It feels like a step in the right direction to me. I actually heard something on the news about tobacco companies are hurting due to reduced sales. Is that supposed to be troubling? In the United States sales of cigarettes have reportedly dropped by 31.3 percent from 2003 to 2013.
Some, like me, thinks that’s a pretty good sign.
Then there’s that other group. You know, the people on Twitter who embrace the #boycottcvs hash tag. I guess you could call them the yin to my yang.
Hang on to your hats, space cowboys. It’s time, once again, for the epic battle between good and evil. Anyone know if George Lucas is a smoker?
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I don’t have a family tree. The family systematically broke it down into small pieces. And smoked it. Now it’s all gone. So much for my roots.
Rich, smooth flavor. A tad barky and leafy, perhaps. But lungs has gots to be choked to the max. Our family motto is apparently “smoke whatever you can improvise.”
My entire family smokes its guts out and yet, perversely, I’m the black sheep. Oh, the irony. That’s rich. I’m also pretty much the only non-smoker around.
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There I was, minding my own business, driving to work in the late mid-morning on Christmas Eve Eve. I had forgotten Christmas cookies and fudge at work and I wasn’t going to leave town without them. I also needed kitty litter. (It’s a fun combination. Try it sometime!)
In front of me was a burgundy Lexus. Even though the outside temperature was -75 degrees the driver’s side window was completely rolled down.
That can only mean one thing.
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My wife just left this morning on her annual weekend retreat with some girlfriends. Now I’m left home alone for a glorious three-day weekend.
Naturally I’ve got a lot going on, but I’m still going to try to squeeze in a little blogging as time permits. In between 14-hour bouts of sitting on my ass, eating entire bags of potato chips and sour cream dip, and watching my toenails grow, I shall endeavor to pump out the same high quality of bitching to which all of my reader have grown accustomed.
For today, I wish to announce the latest in a long series of miraculous and societal-changing inventions from the team of creative geniuses that power the Abyss.
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In your cage at the human zoo,
They all stop to look at you.
–Styx, circa 1977
Someone mentioned Styx the other day. I apologize but I can’t stop the references now.
This post is brought to you by the letter “Z,” the omega of the alphabet experience. Just like the human race, all good things must come to an end, so must the A-Z Blogger Challenge.
My idea for this post was “zoo.” I didn’t even bother going to the Google to find some obscure reference that might make me look smarter than that. Not this time.
But I wanted my own special spin on it. Fortunately someone mentioned Styx lately and, well, it just came together. Humans in a cage at the zoo; a human zoo. Now that’s an idea I can work with!
As the author of Society of Assholes I have done some limited research in this area. Before we begin, there is one important distinction to be made. I now excerpt from the book:
You might correctly be asking by now, “What the fuck? What about murderers, rapists, child molesters and such? Why don’t you call them assholes, too?” That’s a good point. However, for the purposes of this book, such extreme (and obvious) examples are beyond the pale. Those people are indeed true “assholes” and destined for a special level of Hell (I wish), but the purpose of this book is a bit more subtle. It seeks to explore the asshole within each and every one of us. The asshole that expresses itself from the typical and average individual within the larger context of every day society. That is the asshole we will be seeking.
With that in mind, it’s time to begin our tour of the zoo. We’re all too fat and out of shape to walk these hills under our own steam, so climb aboard this tram and we’ll be on our way. Please remain seated at all times, keep your head, arms and legs within the tram, and no flash flash photography.
Genus – Addictus Parentus
In our first exhibit we see a typical modern family. A husband, a wife, and two children, a boy and a girl. As you can see, the parents are smoking away furiously on their cigarettes. This is an important mechanism for passing destructive behavior from one generation to the next. This parental genome lacks the ability to evaluate long-term risk and there is a very high probability the addiction will be picked up by the children, who typically ape what they know and see.
I actually had the good fortune to spot addictus parentus in their natural habit just the other day. We were at a restaurant enjoying some dinner. At a table nearby was a family of four. They fit the profile but I had not yet made the species identification. If you are patient, though, field research can often be rewarding. The adults, both at the same time, got up and left the restaurant.
This was a curious development and it got my attention. Leaving the children alone in a restaurant is somewhat rare these days. I crept up to the front window, making use of plastic plants for cover, and observed my quarry. Of course! They were outside smoking.
Luckily I was carrying my logbook and successfully documented the sighting.
The Masculinity Experience
Welcome to our newest exhibit, sponsored by Ford Trucks that are built Ram tough and solid as a rock from heartland America. (Free truck nuts with every purchase.) Yes, it’s The Masculinity Experience featuring our prize specimen, Mike Rowe.
You all know Rowe from shows like Dirty Jobs and Ford commercials. That’s why we have these little infopoints mounted on each exhibit. For example, did you know Rowe started as an opera singer and was known for his arias? And that he then moved on to being an on-air host for the shopping channel QVC?
Arias and shopping!!!
Even in light of those facts, amazing the masculinity of this specimen is above reproach. Testing has confirmed that his testosterone is taking steroids.
I had more planned for the tour but we’re out of time. Maybe we’ll continue the tour later. That’s all, folks!
This is my “Z” post for the A-Z Blogger Challenge.