L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 101, December 4, 2000
Smoking's Fun Again
by Lowell Potter
Special to TLE
They've made smoking fun again.
That's right. The social-engineering crowd and the anti-tobacco crusaders have succeeded in putting the pleasure back in smoking. It's a fact, and anyone laboring under the misconception that the Forbidden Fruit Syndrome is not a reality in full force and effect needs immediate remedial instruction in the foibles of human nature.
The evidence in support of this syndrome became very clearly irrefutable to the more astute and rationally cerebral among us at a very early age (and even to those not), and not only in the realm of the romance and allure of tobacco, but in any other other adult activity and behaviour accepted and practiced by our elders, but prohibited to us erstwhile youths, still pure and unsullied in our guardians' eyes.
Undoubtedly, a small percentage of prescient parents harboured no such illusions of their progeny's inherent innocence, working from a larger understanding of the human condition, naturally unproscribed by the measures of age or maturity. No, ....age is certainly no prerequisite for the ability to tread on Verboten ground.
One of my earliest personal recollections, in fact, of my perceivedly misspent youth involves inspecting the naked nether regions of a precocious neighbour girl ironically called, Mary. Though I believe our ritualistic child's game was initiated at Mary's behest, I recall being an eager and willing co-conspirator, and the utter fascination I experienced with my first hands-on lesson in female anatomy was nothing less than mesmerizing.
I cannot imagine that either of our parents' approval for our clandestine discovery sessions would have been freely forthcoming. We were about 4 or 5 at the time.
Look me in the eye and tell me that the cookie purloined before dinner was not sweeter, that the disapproved of literature read under the sheets with a flashlight was not more engrossing, or the time passed with a friend parentally deemed unacceptable was not infinitely more convivial.
Come on, ....be honest now, and tell me.... But, I digress.
About the time I was in Kindergarten, my Dad had the excellent idea of teaching me all about cigars. I must have shown some interest in them at the time, because one day my Dad broke out the matches and the Panatelas and announced that we were going to smoke!
Though this earliest of my lessons in the time-honored tradition of the Smoking Arts was ultimately eclipsed by later, more flawed inculcations, there is definitely wisdom to be gained therefrom. As I puffed my first few mouthfulls of the harsh strong clouds, instinctively eschewing any further indulgence in the heavy and disagreeable smoke, my father insisted I continue, "Like a man!"
The end result of our little training session was an overpowering illness which turned my face a sickly green, and engendered my complete revulsion for smoking for years thereafter. Not until my eighth summer, ....when coincidentally, the same father who had earlier so expertly taught me a healthy disdain for cigars, issued a threatening and unilateral prohibition upon cigarettes, ....was my interest in smoking rekindled. Literally.
The post-ultimatum fact was that here was something my Dad and his buddies were doing quite openly and without concern, at the same time they were preaching to us small fries that that particular activity was unacceptable for young people of our age. You shouldn't need a degree in rocket science to see where the whole thing went from there.
From the very first drags I took off the Vantage filters I pilfered from my Dad (his brand of choice at the time, ....you remember, they had that funny little hole in the end), the sublime sugar of rebellion left a sweet and unforgetable taste on my tender little tongueno matter how completely horribly those first few smokes might actually have tasted.
As that summer unfolded, my friend Dave and I developed our own little smoking ritual, which entailed stealing 28¢ every single day from whichever of our parents' money was the most readily available, purchasing a pack of Salems (I can't remember exactly why we bought Salems), and smoking every damned one of them within the space of about an hour.
In spite of what our modern politically correct legions would have us all believe, we engaged in our cigarette smoking not because we were hopelessly addicted to the evil drug, nicotine, nor were we even out to impress any of our sundry friends or nubile young girls, as we invariably did our smoking secreted away in the most secluded of environs, an old abandoned Maine logging camp.
No. Not for any of the pro forma reasons spouted by the do-gooders and nanny statists, who are seemingly everywhere one turns nowadays, did we smoke.
We smoked, and we continued to smoke, and we enjoyed every blissful minute of smoking ....because WE WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO!
Admittedly, some hard-core smokers may indulge themselves in tobacco because of an indomitable addiction to nicotine, or to enamour themselves in the eyes of their fantasy playmates, but it is almost a sure bet that each and every one of them took their very first puff because some self-important busybody or other TOLD THEM NOT TO!
Currently, after an off-and-on thirty-five year run of alternately enjoying the pleasures of, or hating the consequences of smoking tobacco, and more recently, after giving up smoking altogether, I find myself once again having an occasional smoke JUST BECAUSE IT'S FUN!
D.A.R.E. soldiers and other substance and thought police should note the the axioms espoused above seem to apply with equal validity to the smoking of marijauna and cocaine, and to most all other activities deemed officially unsuitable for civilised peoples and targeted for eradication by the guvvies and other puritanical organizations. You boys and girls in uniform keep up the good work, now, you hear?
And like they said back in bootcamp, "Smoke 'em if you've got 'em!"