JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Smoking

Photo on 2010-04-06 at 16.10

Was sitting outside a Starbucks today, enjoying the sun and warmth and hating—absolutely hating—the smokers. (see photo above; behind the older folks)

They were young (18-to-21, I’d guess) and vibrant and attractive. They talked loudly and blew large clouds into the air. They clearly thought they were extra-special cool, based off the swagger and the confidence.

Sigh.

I remember when I was in high school. There were cool kids and not cool kids. I was not a cool kid. Oftentimes, I looked at the cool kids with jealousy. The cool girls were pretty and sexy and stylish. They seemed to have a glow about them; an air of dominance that I woefully lacked. I looked for any dent in the armor; anything I could hold over their heads. The one thing I found: Cigarettes.

Yes, they were hip and down and It. But they were also smokers. “One day,” I used to think to myself, “they’ll regret this. Twenty years from now their skin will be yellowed, their teeth will be brown and they’ll still be addicted to this crap.”

So here I am, 20 years later, and I was sorta right. I no longer have the anger for those kids. Hell, I actually have come to like and embrace many of them. But I absolutely, positively, 100% guarantee that if you asked them whether they regret having started smoking, they’d all say yes. The health woes, the financial burden, the outcasting of smokers … why would a person choose to smoke?

Yet people still do, because people are dumb. They’re young and insecure and eager for acceptance, and cigarettes offer those crutches.

Sad.