sunday afternoon rant

An open letter to “non-smokers.”

First, how to tell if you are a “non-smoker”:

  1. You smoke only when you are at a bar, party, or other social event where you consume alcohol.
  2. You smoke only other people’s cigarettes on these occasions, as purchasing your own would make you a “smoker.”

If both of these statements are true, you’re a “non-smoker.” And I kind of hate you.

See, I have not always been a smoker. But I haven’t been a “non-smoker” since I was 16. The difference is that I used to buy a pack of cigarettes (whether I was in my clove, Capri or Camel phase) before I went to a party. And then I would smoke them. I rarely smoked on other occasions, and I once got grounded for having the half empty pack in my purse after a party, but it was worth it.

As an adult, I still buy my own cigarettes, so I smoke whenever I want.

I should be clear that I make a few key exceptions to my hatred of “non-smokers.” My vitriol does not apply to you if:

1. You are a smoker, as in, if you just forgot or ran out of cigarettes today. Also implied in this exception: if I was in the same situation, you would gladly share cigarettes with me.

2. I like you. Not necessarily “like” in the biblical sense. Mostly just enjoy your company and am willing to take a slight financial hit to ensure you have an enjoyable evening.

Because here’s the thing: cigarettes aren’t free. I mean, they’re not free to smokers. They’re free to you, “non-smoker”, because you smoke other people’s cigarettes. Really, you might as well make a cardboard sign and stand out on Speer Blvd.

This has been increasingly infuriating to me as I have become acquainted with habitual “non-smokers.” Back in my college days, these people were classified as lame and we stopped hanging out with them. Post-college, everyone smoked. Or enough of us did that the “non-smokers” in the crowd had multiple sources for handouts.

This is no longer the case. As I get older, there are fewer actual smokers among my friends, but the proportion of “non-smokers” remains constant. So you have a situation of steady demand with decreased supply – more “non-smokers” at every bar and party trying to scam off my pack. And it pisses me off.

Because here’s the thing, “non-smoker.” The world supply of cigarettes remains the same. You can still purchase them at your neighborhood convenience store, gas station, drug store, grocery store, bodega, cigarette specialty shop or outlet, etc. As highly addictive substances go, they are widely available.

And yes, they have gotten more expensive since you were in college. Sofuckingwhat? It’s not like I have a frequent shoppers’ discount card. The only thing I get for free is the eventual cancer, heart attack or emphysema. And I’m actually paying MORE than full price because I’m going to have to buy a new pack tomorrow to replace the ones you smoked tonight. It’s an expensive, stupid habit, and I can’t afford to fund more than one of us.

I also have a job that doesn’t pay me that well, so when coworkers smoke my cigarettes, it’s even more annoying. You know how much money I make because you make roughly the same amount. If I can see my way clear to buy the things I need and want, so can you. I can’t afford a new car, but I don’t expect you to buy one for me to drive around when I feel like it. I live in a small apartment, but I’d never ask you to rent a larger place so I can move in.

The moral of the story, “non-smoker”, is that you need to take some personal responsibility. You don’t have to become a real “smoker” – I know that’s scary for you – but you need to provide for yourself. Of exercise some fucking restraint. I don’t really care which path you choose, as long as you stop smoking my damn cigarettes.

Thank you.


3 thoughts on “sunday afternoon rant

  1. Good post, and of course, I’m guessing the coworkers who bum your smokes read your blog too, so a not too subtle way to get your point across. Kudos!

    I would add in a couple thoughts/comments/suggestions.

    1. It’s fine if the ‘non-smoker’ buys you a pack occasionally, right? I mean, usually they bum 3-4 over a weekend, and then if they buy a pack on Monday, it makes up for it.

    2. When in college a friend of mine taught be a good trick – carry around TWO packs, one that you smoke off of, and the other with one or two cigarettes left in it. Then when someone hits you up for a smoke, pull out the almost empty pack and go ‘Sure! D’OH! I’ve only got one or two left…..’, at which point any good person will say, ‘Oh I don’t want to smoke your last one’.

    3. Marlboro Reds and Drum rolling tobacco are what I almost exclusively have smoked for my smoking career. When I go off one of these two it’s usually for something even less appealing like Camel/Lucky Strike shorts, Pall Malls, etc. This is helpful as ‘non smokers’ are basically wimps who can’t commit, and sure as shit aren’t going to smoke a cowboy killer or learn how to roll.

    4. Charge people. Say, sort of jokingly when they bum the first one, ‘Ok, this one’s free, but every other one will be $.25 or $.50 or whatever. Since most non-smokers only bum after their 2nd or 3rd cocktail, and you’re both pretty lit, when they bum the second cigarette you can say, ‘OK MOTHER FUCKER GIVE ME THAT QUARTER!’ with all sincerity, but in a funny way.

    5. Say no.

    That’s all I gots.

  2. I’m going to have to call you out a little here, Mari. When you’re a few vodka tonics and/or Coronas in, you turn into a superhero named P-Funk Pusher. You think everyone should come smoke Parliaments with you. And I’ve enjoyed every last drag. 🙂

  3. Wes, you should revisit the exceptions listed above. Clearly, I like you, which is why you get the freebies, silly.

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