So I’m Thinking About Taking Up Smoking

God, I’ve just been itching for something new to keep busy with. I recently completed my third screenplay (still shopping around those other two!!!), that albino kid I tutor math and geography to on Tuesdays and Thursdays is traveling with his family to New Zealand for the next three months, and I just Swiffer’d the hardwood floors! I need something to occupy all this free time!

So, I’m thinking about taking up smoking. And I know what you’re thinking, how late to the party can you get? Without doing any research whatsoever, I can confidently say people have been smoking since at least 1200 B.C. and in the U.S. it had a huge upsurge in the 1950s all the way through the late 1980s. Smoking was it, you know? And now it’s 2008, and it seems like everyone’s quitting for some reason or another. Cancer takes thousands of lives. Towns across America are placing bans on smoking in public. The taxes on the sweet, sweet tobacco sticks are going through the roof.

But this really feels like a habit it that fits well with me; I won’t lie, I was arrested at the oral stage. I’ve been putting things in my mouth to pass the time for years. Pens and pen caps. Ice cubes long after the Sunny D has been consumed. Tooth picks after a satisfying dinner. The funny thing about it is I’ve never choked on any of these inorganic things. No major scares, no hazard-filled moments, no life flashing before my eyes experiences, nothing. It doesn’t make much sense, seeing as I bump into stuff and fall over all the time. All these years of walking and using visual cues to keep me safe and I still crash into things and take big tumbles. I’ve bitten my tongue and the side of my mouth more times than I care to remember, but three meals a day plus snacks for over 25 years is plenty of practice and you’d think that wouldn’t still happen. So how I’ve never actually sucked a pen cap down the ol’ windpipe is a complete mystery. I’ve either used all of my good luck on keeping myself alive all this time, or our old pal God still has work for me to do.

But like the Bible says, idle hands..!!! So, why not keep myself busy with the refreshing taste of a menthol deep in my lungs? I can’t stop putting things in my mouth, so instead of that third or first Pop-Tart, why not try an oh-so-divine cigarette? Truly, there is nothing like the sulfur scent after a freshly lit match igniting the packed end of a loosey.

The smoking sub-culture has always fascinated me, too. People gather in rain or shine, blazing hot sun or deeply cold evenings to share a few brief moments away from life. Their shared experience is literally a time-out from life. Everything stops for the smokers: working class folks take upwards of 10 smoke breaks per shift![citation needed]; drinking games come to a halt while the smokers go take their moment to catch their breath. “I’ll be back in a minute,” is their war-cry that, in effect, means, “I can’t really deal with this right now, I need time to consider my options while you stay here and face reality.” For the insane people who are comfortable smoking indoors and stinking up everything, that little phrase gets punched up to include, “I may have to face life, which causes me eternal grief, but I’m going to enjoy this and make you suffer a little while I’m at it. Plus, I don’t care if my couch stinks.”

So, yeah, I’m definitely going to look into putting this together. With all this time I’ve got lately, I’m sure I can learn to love tobacco, like I love the drink. For you expert smokers out there, I’ll need tips on a few things:

1) How to hold a cigarette
2) Frequency of puff-taking
3) How to flick the butt and look cool as hell (advanced)
4) Pretending like it isn’t the most awesome habit in the world (stop your faux grumbling already!)

Please feel free to offer any further advice on getting started with this new habit!

I Haven’t Been Crying, That’s Just My Pink Eye

I appreciate your concern, thank you. No, I don’t need a tissue right now. Please, stop, I’m okay. I haven’t been crying, it’s just my pink eye.

Yes, I have pink eye in both eyes. Yes, I know I look awful, I’m not happy about it. Yes, I know how you get pink eye. No, I really do understand how it happens. It’s not pleasant to think some sort of bacteria, probably fecal matter, got into my eye.

I’ve been trying to figure out how it happened. Yesterday, it might have been wise not to scratch my eyes after I shook everyone’s hand after Jack’s goodbye party at work. I admit that. But I’m not a dirty person. I wash my hands all the time. I always wash before eating, after using the restroom, and after touching some heavily used public items, like handrails and the poles on the train.

But I guess I shouldn’t have immediately put my contact lens back in when it fell out the other day on the bus. I was listening to U2 on my iPod, busily tapping my fingers to the rhythm on the underside of my seat when it happened, so I could have used more caution when I grabbed the contact and slipped it back in.

So I’m not perfect, I make mistakes. Maybe I went too long without washing, I don’t know. It’s just so many others go so long without washing their hands whatsoever. It’s such a dirty world, I try to do my part by staying clean.

And yes, I suppose after I helped deliver that baby on the bus station floor, I should not have wiped away my tears of joy with my hands covered in blood and embryonic fluid and all the other bodily fluids that get expelled from the body during birth.

But this is basically not my fault. If more people would take the time to keep their hands clean, we would not have so many disgusting surfaces to touch every day. And I would not have this raging pink eye.

By the way, I borrowed your toothbrush this morning. You didn’t happen to use it yet today, did you?