where the writers are
Where there's smoke, there's...

Many years ago, I wrote a short story called, "Where there's smoke, there's..."  I typed it on an old PC computer using DOS.  It was saved on an old floppy (remember those!).  Now that dates me, I'm sure.  It wasn't long before the story was lost in cyberland.  When I started writing seriously and was successful in getting novels published, I decided to re-construct the story, bringing it up to date.  The story is finished and will be part of a collection of short stories.  If you want to read it now, you can at www.synergEbooks.com  It's under the free short story section.

What prompted me to bring that story back to life was encountering so many fellow workers that are chain smokers.  For most of my adult life, I was a teacher.  Rarely, did I come in contact with people who were smokers.  When I retired from academia, I retooled myself and became a certified RV technician.  My first job was at a Camping World.  Welcome to the blue collar field! Nearly every technician smoked and I mean like chimneys.  When the nicotine monster reared it's hungry head, they would go outside to smoke, most of the time on the clock.  One of the techs was a huge guy who had one time in his life worked on the crab boats up in Alaska.  He told me he had had three heart attacks.  Yet, there he was a puffing away on one of those extra long cigarettes.  

My wife and I are now workampers, and we are just astonished at how many fellow workampers that we've run into lately who are major chain smokers.  It seems that there is always a cigarette either dangling from their mouth or stuck between their fingers.

I never started smoking and have no regrets on that one.  Ever since I was a kid, I absolutely hated cigarette smoke.  I nagged my parents for years.  They did finally give it up.  Unfortunately, cancer from cigarettes has a way of depositing deadly seeds whenever it wants that manifest themselves years later.  My mom at the age of 91 has lung cancer.   The tumors are the one's directly caused by smoking, and she is in the final stages of the disease.  Her quality of life is best described as painful and drug induced.  

My wife always says that smokers have an addiction.  Now that's an understatement.  Sure I understand that, however, there are many things I wonder if the clueless individuals are aware of.  Here's a short list:

1--they smell really bad.  I mean not only when they are smoking, but the stomach turning smell lingers on them for a long time afterwards.  The best image would be that of the Peanuts cartoon character Pig Pen...where the little kid is enveloped in dirt.  Well, smokers have that same swirl of stench following them. 

2--their breath could peel paint!   I have had to literally back away from a fellow worker because his breath was so foul and it made me almost vomit.  I once dated a girl who was a smoker.  Kissing her was like kissing an ash tray.  I didn't miss that when I broke up with her.  Oh, and when they try to cover it up with a breath spray, it's even more disgusting.  Now you have a minty foul nauseating odor that smells like it was created by an evil, demonic mouthwash company .

3--their teeth look like they belong in a zombie movie.  Yellow, rotting, and sometimes not even present, a smoker's smile is something that would probably scare most little kids.  It's the type of smile that would be found likely in an apocalyptic, Night of the Living Dead film.  

4--they are the worst litterbugs.  Have you looked around the ground lately and I mean anywhere?  The ground has become one huge ash tray.  The next time you are at an intersection waiting for a light, take a look at the side of the road.  There are literally tens of thousands of cigarette butts.   Those helpful little filters at the end of a butt take forever to break down.

5--they are a drain on our health care.  Cancer care is expensive and we are all paying for those smokers!  

Despite all the education and ad campaigns about how bad cigarettes are for you, people still engage in something that is so disgusting, and harmful.   It affects the heart, the lungs, the teeth, and on and on.  I truly wonder about their intelligence (that's a polite way to ask that question instead of saying stupid, moronic, imbecile, etc.)  

At one time, smoking was glamorized by Hollywood (recently it seems to be sadly making a return).  When I see some starlet on the screen dressed to the nines holding a cigarette, the only thought that comes to my mind  is...does she know how bad her breath and hair smell?!  That cigarette does not turn me on.  Also, when our parents were younger, cigarette companies told everyone that smoking was good for them, that somehow it aided digestion.  Riiiight!   Now years later, that nonsense was revealed as a bold face lie and the big butt companies had to pay.  Probably just a minor setback because so much of the rest of the world buys their cigarettes.   So, I ask myself, why would I want to buy a product from a company who I knew openly deceived me?  Why would I want to give them my money?  Yet, smokers don't care and continue to shell out buckets of money to them.  I once ball parked an amount that a chain smoking couple was probably shelling out a month for their stomach turning habit and it was over $200 a month.  Just think that's over $2400 a year.  I can think of a lot of things I could do with that.

Recently, I saw a new ad on TV against smoking.  Hooray, it seems like it's been a long time since I've seen any.   It was a good one about a man's wife who died of lung cancer from cigarettes at the age of 46.  I wish there were more ads speaking out, and I mean one's that explain the bad breath, smelly hair, yellow teeth, etc.  People,especially teenagers, are so image oriented these days and maybe if they were hit over the head more about what cigarettes are doing to them...well, maybe they'd reconsider.  

So, the next time you have to encounter a smoker, just keep backing away from them as if they were contaminated with the plague or were recently released contagious lepers.   Don't feel sorry for their addiction.  With all the help that's out there, they can do something about it if they want to.  Maybe holding your nose, or backing away from them will send a message.