Top Three Lies and Unsubstantiated Fantasies

1) It's nobody's fault.

This, of course, is patently stupid. It's always somebody's fault. Or maybe it's everybody's fault. But it's never nobody's fault. Someone is to blame. In my experience, that person generally is either me or President Bush. But the fact is, someone must be held accountable. They made a whole democracy about that.

2) It's not you, it's me.

Rubbish. If you ever hear this line, it most certainly IS you, sucker.

3) Smoking isn't cool.

And there it is, dears. The granddaddy of them all, one of the greatest whoppers ever foisted on the general public.

Smoking may be disgusting, cancer-causing, expensive, off-putting and malodorous. And certainly those are the characteristics that anti-smoking advocates should be focusing on when trying to prevent kids from taking up the habit.

But smoking is not, nor has it ever been, uncool.

Why? Because despite all of smoking's ugly traits, people do it anyway. And nothing is cooler, or more American, than rebellion.

What is James Dean without cigarettes? His "cool" quotient plummets precipitously.

What are rock stars without tobacco? They are laughable tin minstrels.

What is The Dude without a joint? He's just plain ol' Jeffrey Lebowski, that's who.

Why do they invariably offer you one last cigarette before you're summarily executed in front of that firing squad? Because they, too, know that even in your final minutes on Earth, you desperately yearn for coolness. And if you gotta go, you wanna go out like a badass.

Anti-smoking backers need to stop taking the tack that cigarettes and marijuana aren't cool, because the surgeon general simply can't prove that. The evidence against him is insurmountable.

He can't deny that the best and most feared bullies in high school are the ones smoking in the boys room. Nobody fraks with them. Nobody.

He can't prove that a cigarette isn't an uber-effective preventive measure for the misanthropic barfly who wants to drink alone and undisturbed.

He can't shed doubt on the fact that smoking lends instant credibility to sad-sack, angst-ridden musicians everywhere.

He can't prove that film noir would be better if nobody lit up.

What he can prove is that smoking kills. That it makes your hair brittle and strawlike. That it stains your teeth (so does sweet tea). That it costs too much. That it's addictive. That it's a natural laxative (oh, wait, that one goes in the "positives" column). That industry leaders are lying capitalist pigs.

Or any number of horrible and true things, really.

But to say that smoking isn't cool? That's just crazy talk.

Original MySpace post: 2/20/2007

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