Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Up in Smoke

There's only ONE THING I hate more than smoking -- it's talking about quitting smoking. Yes, I know, I know. It's HARD to quit. It's harder than quitting heroin. Got it. But isn't it enough to pollute your lungs, your loved ones' lungs, the streets, the rivers, the lakes, the oceans and the beaches? Must we also pollute our conversations and our newspaper inches talking about this? I'm not interested. This isn't news. This isn't new. This isn't anything the surgeon general hasn't been telling us for decades. And I don't want to HEAR the words "bum a cig" associated with the leader of my country -- EVER. If someone wants to smoke, then smoke and shut up about it -- and do your best not to walk in front of me blowing it in my face when I'm trying to enjoy some "fresh" air. If someone wants to quit smoking, then get your shit together and quit. And shut up about it. (And NO. It's not that I think I'm so perfect. But I also don't yammer on and on about my flaws to try to engender sympathy from people.)

Last fall when the whole world was jumping on the Barack Obama bandwagon one of the main reasons I wasn't willing to join in was because of his smoking. I'm fairly certain most people I told thought my saying I have issues with his being a SMOKER was a euphemism for his being BLACK, when in fact it sort of was -- I have issues with his having BLACK LUNGS.

Here's the way I see it. When someone is a gym and health-food nut WHO SMOKES, it makes me question everything about their judgment. And it raises serious questions about their propensity for ADDICTIVE behaviors. (Bill Clinton was obviously a food ADDICT and we all know that other addictions lurked within.) For Barack Obama to religiously go to the gym (I've read that he didn't miss a single day for two years on the trail -- working out for something like 90 minutes a pop -- and finally took his first day off on Christmas) AND be a longtime smoker indicates to me that he's got some serious issues with making sound decisions (example to follow).

To me, Rick Warren at the Obama inauguration is the same thing as a gym bunny with a cigarette. Let's hope this isn't a two-pack-a-day habit with our new prez ...


Matthew said...

Kenneth is to smokers as that loud-at-the-movies family was to the dude who shot one of them.

IMHO, I think smokers who work out are not working out to be healthy, they just want to look hot...and there's nothing wrong with that.

But I really hate to see people smoke, too. My mom smokes and while she's cut down, it's still a persistent terrible habit that I fully expect will continue to ruin her health. It's also, at least for some people, a very personal failing that they don't like to talk about, which might explain some of the recent "closet smokers" among celebrities.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. I've always thought of smoking as a weakness that speaks of a persons character, not just a filthy habit. Bravo!

Mitch said...

Are you really asserting that someone who defeated two of the best known and loved names in political history, devised a campaign that raised more money than any candidate in history, activated a new base of voters, and won a decisive victory for President of the United States has serious issues with decision making and sound judgement because he smokes and reached out to evangelicals using Warren?

I love your blog and read it religiously but I really question your logic here.

Anonymous said...

Why so unforgiving? Yes, smoking is a disgusting, self-destructive habit.

You know what? We ALL have some kind of behavior that causes us trouble. It doesnt mean we are bad or have bad judgment. It means we're human.

Remember, Bush was Mr. Clean Living and look where THAT got us.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

Thanks for clearing that up, Matt. And all this time I thought people who worked out were health conscious when really they're just vain! I feel much better now. Maybe Obama's universal health care system can skip the (silly) cancer screenings and cover face lifts and tummy tucks instead!

Anonymous said...

Kenneth: I think leading by example is what you're talking about, and whether he likes it or not, Barack Obama's smoking is a really BAD example for people.

Mitch: It sounds like you don't "get" the Rick Warren problem. For starters, I'd suggest you read Frank Rich's column here, which says, among other things:

When Obama defends Warren’s words by calling them an example of the “wide range of viewpoints” in a “diverse and noisy and opinionated” America, he is being too cute by half. He knows full well that a “viewpoint” defaming any minority group by linking it to sexual crimes like pedophilia is unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

Far be it from me to deny one's right to detest another's peccadillos, but I'm a smoker, enjoy smoking a lot, and don't have plans to quit anytime soon. What I do for a living would crack you up, and being a smoker has nothing to do with my performance on the job. Your logic says you'll never trust anyone who's had a sunburn because he lacked the foresight to use sunscreen since now he's doomed to get skin cancer. There are a million motivations behind a million men's actions. Smug's not your color.

Anonymous said...

Getting a sunburn and smoking thousands of cigarettes -- now THERE'S an analogy! I guess smoking cripples brains as much as lungs.