I’m sure that the very people who need to read this the most will be the very people who will not do so, but I feel the need to get this off my chest. I hate smoking and everything about it. I’m tired of soft-pedaling that attitude simply because it’s an addiction.
I’m quite sure I’d be just as addicted to nicotine as the next person, but here’s the difference: I chose never to start smoking. If you did not make that same choice, it’s on you. Own it. Yes, tobacco companies tend to target youth, who are more apt to make stupid choices, and heaven knows none of us are the same people we were at 14, but even so, you made that choice. Take responsibility. Stop making excuses.
And for God’s sake, stop throwing your saliva-soaked cigarette butts on the ground. It’s disgusting. I used to love to walk in the rain. It makes the world seem so fresh and clean. But the last time I did that, I had to wade through about a thousand soggy cigarette butts, and it left me dry heaving. I’d rather look at dog poop. Yeah, you’re addicted. But that doesn’t give you license to be a pig. And any smoker who tries to say they’ve never thrown a butt on the ground, not even once, is lying to themselves and everyone else. And as one of the unfortunates who has to clean up after your lazy ass, know that I’m cursing your name with every butt I have to pick up.
And then there’s the stench. You are so used to it that you probably don’t even smell it anymore, but trust me: you reek. Your house stinks. Your car is even worse. When you sweat, it oozes out of your pores. It clings to your hair and your clothes. (My mother died 26 years ago, and her raincoat, which I inherited, STILL stinks.) And if you leave ash trays around, that disgusting odor permeates the room. Many of us believe that you render yourself unkissable and undateable.
Growing up, the first sound I’d hear every morning was my mother’s smoker’s hack. Do you have any idea how terrifying that is for a child? It’s awful knowing that something is wrong with the person who is supposed to keep you safe. Sure enough, she died of cancer when I was 26.
And I suffered from chronic bronchitis because she chose to expose me to that secondhand smoke at a time when my little lungs were still developing. That’s one powerful addiction if you choose it over your child’s health. Shame on you. And don’t even get me started about women who smoke while pregnant. Would you inject rat poison into your own placenta? No? That’s what you are doing to your unborn child.
And if I hear one more smoker complain…actually have the nerve to complain about not being able to smoke anymore in restaurants or on planes or in other public places, I hereby reserve the right to slap the shit out of that person. Even heroin addicts have the sense not to gripe about these things.
The worst part about all of this is that you are an unbelievably selfish human being. You are killing yourself. You know it. Everyone knows it. You are committing suicide in the slowest possible way. And that hurts the people that you love. That leaves the people who depend upon you vulnerable. That in turn puts an unbelievable strain on the economy and the health care system.
You are shitting all over the incredible gift of life that you have been given. And because of that, while I might like you or even love you, I have zero respect for you and your effed up life choice. Zero.
I just finished doing the least glamorous, most disgusting part of my job. I spent an hour getting cigarette butts off the sidewalks and bike lanes of my bridge. So many thoughts go through my head while I do this.
Smoking is a disgusting habit, compounded by the fact that these butt-throwers clearly have no civic pride or sense of personal responsibility. And if you’re health conscious enough to jog or bike, what the heck are you doing smoking in the first place? When it crosses my mind that I’m interacting with things that have been in the mouths of about a hundred total strangers, and surely some portion of them have a communicable disease, I start to dry heave.
When that happens, I have to force myself to put a positive spin on things, so as not to retch all over the sidewalk and then have to clean that up. So what am I learning by doing my least favorite part of the job? What is this bringing into my life?
It’s good exercise.
It shows me the type of person/pig that I don’t ever want to be.
It allows me to be out in the sunshine.
Inevitably one person walking by every time I do this takes the time to thank me.
It reminds me that the rest of my job is actually pretty freakin’ fantastic.
It gives me a stronger sense of who I am, who I want to be, what I’m capable of, what I like and don’t like and why.
It provides me with an idea for a blog entry.
It feels sooooo good when I’m done.
I suggest to you that your least favorite things shouldn’t be avoided. Rather, examine them closely. Deal with them with perspective and an open mind for the lessons that they provide. Gifts can come from the most unexpected places. I’m grateful for every gift that comes my way.