Monday, October 29, 2012

Never, Ever, Quit Smoking

People sure enjoy their cigarettes in Paris. Lots of grim smokers. My late friend Barry Lenhart had a theory that people should keep smoking in order to increase their offspring’s lung health and their ability to resist pollution, toxic waste, greenhouse gasses and other airborne poisons. In future, we will be overwhelmed by terribly tainted, thick, impossible air, so we should all be busy smoking cigarettes, right now, in order to weed out the weak. Those with stronger lungs will survive and metamorphose, and, Darwin-like, breed a stronger race of humans with the organs to resist cancer and emphysema and other terminal diseases. It was funny then, but by the number of fuckers who are smoking here in Paris, I can only hope that there is some validity to his sarcasm.

If you care about your children’s future, you selfish dimwits, smoke, and strengthen the evolutionary strain.

On the other hand, there are too goddamn many people everywhere. There are times when the Paris metro is a crushing nightmare, the buses are crammed, even the big comfortable trains are too full and it doesn’t look as though it’s going to improve.

Keep having children, breeders, go ahead, it’s your right, cough out those brats while you fight and vote and argue about when the fuck life starts, when a fetus becomes viable, God, the bible. Keep busy and distracted. Remember, though, that little bundle of desire is going to be drinking beer in about 16 years, and he’ll need a car. He’s going to want more food and his sister is going to be taking a shower every morning. Look outside. Is there enough room for a few more cars in your driveway? How’s the grocery bill? Food prices are going up, and so will the next gen’s need for high fructose corn syrup.

H2O? Easy as pie. It’s renewable, right? Rain replenishes the lakes, reservoirs, and aquifers. So, we get a choice: plants or hygiene. Want to be clean? OK, dig up the lawn, cut down the trees, pull out all the flowers. I don’t much give a crap for yard maintenance anyway, but I’ve always found a park a good place to hang out, get some sun, rest up, chill, draw, read, visit with friends, but we are going to need parking lots and, I guess, clothing stores. Have to keep the economy chugging along and the marketing of dumbass fashion to tasteless illiterates seems to be a fairly efficient way of stacking up the cheddar.

Last week I was on a metro that was Blade Runner-crowded. It was what I imagined the fall of Saigon was like. Or Lawrence of Arabia. Refugees escaping a civil war. Except they were just people from the suburbs trying to get into the city at 3 p.m. in order to do some necessary and satisfying shopping for the latest frigging shoes, shirts, and scarves. 

I knew there wouldn’t be anyplace to sit on the train. Seats go to the people who get on at the first station. If you’re waiting at the second stop, tough luck. I stood. OK, I'm used to it; I stand on public transportation. We had 13 more stops until I reached my destination and that would take about a half hour. Otherwise it was a two or three hour walk. Fine, The metro is fast. And full. At the next platform more people got on and that was it. The End. Topped off. We were fully stocked, layered in, pressed together. No more room. At each successive station more people pushed into the flesh wall. By the fifth stop I was face to face with some guy whose hand was loosely cupped around my crotch and there was nothing I could do. He didn’t appear to be too upset by our intimacy, but man, I’m just not used to strangers touching me like that. Not since I quit drinking.  There was no place to go, couldn’t move, couldn’t even shift my weight to my other foot, since someone else was using it to stand on. It was pretty goddamn uncomfortable with a low level claustro-panic coming on. I held my breath and eventually, as we got closer to the city center, people began spurt out.
Too many people. Too many children. What happened to the healthy idea of birth control, family planning, abortion on demand, Planned Parenthood? Jesus Christ, is everyone asleep or just waiting for the neighbors to tie their own goddamn tubes? 

But they smoke. Lots of smoking. Their kids will begin to mutate, their genes will scar in favor of future air quality and great shoe sales.

Or there may be a decent balance. Have a kid, die of cancer. Makes sense. Not terribly scientific, but somewhat satisfying to consider that every dogwipe who still smokes is maximizing their chances for an early death. They know, by now, that they will in all probability expire painfully, choking and gasping for breath, sucking air through the holes in their throats, clawing at the bedclothes, feeling their organs shutting down, begging for relief but glad they kept on smoking and proud that they were rebels.

They didn’t take any shit from the nannies that legislated against them and eyed them in restaurants and bars as though they were mass murderers instead of simpleminded, ignorant suicides.

Never quit smoking. The benefits to society are too important.

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