This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

No Ifs, Ands, or Butts

Lordy, lordy, lordy, I've been busy. Most of my extra-curricular activities seem to be winding down finally, so I'm seeing a bit of light at the end of that proverbial tunnel. My current plans call for an actual, honest-to-goodness all-new post (Oboy!) sometime before this weekend. But *ahem* in the meantime, I've pooled together two related posts from -- yeah, you guessed it -- my old blog address, meaning that I'm gonna stick you with a recycled post, one more time.

Actually, it's not the newer readers to whom I'm really apologizing for "reprints" which (as I keep saying) most of you have never seen before anyway. I'm apologizing to any and all of those who used to read David'Z RantZ at its old Diaryland URL. Y'see, about three months ago, I emailed a whole bunch of people telling them about my new location, as it were, and these poor trusting souls have been coming here only to be treated to what amounts to being yesterday's news.

By the way, if it'll make y'all feel any better, one of the many things that's been keeping me so busy is a seven-part series of posts I've been writing, which I plan to have ready for publication by June 1st. Yup.
Every single day from June 1st through the 7th, there'll be a new chapter of a true story I promised a friend I'd write, slightly over fourteen years ago! Therefore, those who always want new stuff from me will get much more than what they've ever asked for, although my so-called "regulars" may be more than a bit thrown by the (relatively) serious writing style of this little novella!

Be that as it may, the following rant was originally published on July 5th, 2004.

So Much for Freedom! (or... The Day After Independence Day!)

As you're probably aware by now, these blogs originate from the state of Massachusetts.

A few months ago, this state made national news by sanctioning gay marriages. This was done against the wishes of Governor Mitt Romney, a/k/a "The Man Named After a Piece of Athletic Equipment."

Now, we've done something else that's noteworthy, although we're not the first state to do it: We've instituted a state-wide smoking ban, which prohibits smoking in all work places, restaurants and bars (except for private clubs and "cigar bars"). This was passed with the support of Governor Romney.

Personally, I'm an ex-smoker. (I am decidedly not one of those annoying, militant anti-smokers, however.) As of this entry, it's been two years, three months, and seven days since my last cigarette. (But who's counting?) So this new law won't complicate my life, except in theory. And by that I mean... If you want to ban smoking in certain closed spaces, like airplanes, elevators, theaters, buses, and restaurants, or around your children, fine. I can "get behind" all of those. But... bars? F**king bars?!? If you want to stay healthy, why sit around swilling hooch?!?

We Americans are so damned health conscious (and self-righteous about it!), it makes me sick! Ironic, that.

Let me make myself clear, here. I'm not trying to defend smoking, per se, nor did I even when I was a smoker. I'm defending the right to smoke. In most places. But I digress.

So. I have absolutely no issue with the state saying that gay marriage is okay. I do have misgivings about the government (state or federal) taking one more right away from us.

"But what about my right to breathe clean air?" you may ask.

Dude. In a bar?

If you're that afraid of second-hand smoke, stay home, where you have every right to control your own environment. And atmosphere.

"Stay home? But why should I give up my right to go out and have a good time, doing what I like to do?"

Good question. I suppose smokers can ask the same thing, now.

So, what have we learned, Dorothy?

In Massachusetts, gay marriage is okay. Smoking is emphatically not okay.

The moral of the story, boys and girls, is that you can put virtually anything you want into your mouth...

Just don't light it.

Thanks for your time.

Funny thing, but since the above article originally appeared, I resumed smoking. However, I stopped yet again last July 15th, meaning that I'm rapidly approaching my ten-month "anniversary." Let's see how far I get this time, shall we?

Anyway, gang (as Don Rickles would say), here's the follow-up article, from August 6th, 2004:

Butt-Heads (and a Historical Aside)

The other day, as I was walking to my office from where I'd parked my car, I passed the back door of a restaurant. Two men, one of them the restaurant's owner, were standing outside, talking.

And smoking cigarettes.

They had to smoke outside, y'see, due to Massachusetts' handy-dandy, spankin' new state-wide smoking ban, which took effect on July 5th, fittingly one day removed from the day we Americans tend to celebrate our freedom.

(A rather lengthy aside, here: Why does the United States celebrate its independence on July 4th? That's not the date we became independent from England, it's the day that -- with a revolution already in progress -- we kinda sorta made a public stink about just how much we wanted to be independent from England. And I won't even get into the fact that not all the signatures were actually affixed on July 4th. That document, in and of itself, had about as much effect as a thirteen-year-old who screams at her parents, "You're not gonna ground me! I got a concert to go to this weekend!" Before we could truly call ourselves independent, we had to fight the rest of that whole war, which didn't end until... well, that's a little muddy. In grammar school, I was always told that the Revolutionary War ended with the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, but a quick click here will show that it really lasted until 1783. Oops. Make that January 14th, 1784. Damn!

Things took so long before e-mails, friends...

Anyway, maybe I've just answered my own question. Maybe the date we declared our independence is just much easier to determine than the date we actually won it! But then again, I always wondered why our country's so-called "birthday" doesn't fall on September 17, 1787, the date we actually made the whole mess official by ratifying the Constitution. Of course, they didn't really get a majority of the individual states to make that official until late June of 1788, and the actual announcement of same was held until early July, for some reason, and...

Happy Birthday, America! July 4th! You bet!

Damn! Things took so gosh-darned long before e-mails, friends... )

Anyway... !!!

As I passed the two smokers -- You do remember the two smokers, right? -- it occurred to me that since the indoor "no smoking" law went into effect, I'd seen an awful lot of smokers standing outside of bars. And restaurants. And almost every other indoor place you can think of.

And then it occurred to me that most people would never think of throwing a candy wrapper or other piece of litter on the ground, but that same rule of self-control generally does not apply to an outdoor smoker who's finished his cigarette, and needs to dispose of the butt.

So, like the guy or gal in a horror film, who wants to look at something, but doesn't dare at first, and then does so anyway... I looked down. And saw just what I expected to see.

There are a lot more cigarette butts on the sidewalks, in the gutters, etc. than there used to be on any given day. Not only are there people forced outside to smoke and discard their butts, but there are even more people simply walking around smoking because they've "gone without" for so long that they just have to light up now that they're on the sidewalk. Nope, can't even wait until they make it home, or even to their cars.

At this rate, in no time at all, we'll be up to our... well... butts... in butts. Non-biodegradable butts, I might add.

A couple of old quotes come to mind. "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." (Sir Isaac Newton) How about this one? "When you are up to your ass in alligators, it is difficult to remind yourself that your initial objective was to drain the swamp." (Anonymous)

So, my congratulations to all of those militant anti-smokers who lobbied for this great new law. On the plus side, I now know that if I go to a bar, I'll be breathing clean air. (Let's not count the beer breath of the lush on the stool next to me!) Sure sounds good.

However...

You've turned my state into an ashtray. Thanks a bunch.

And, Dear Readers... Thanks for your time.

14 comments:

Redbeard76 said...

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

(Sorry, it was eventually going to be said by someone.)

cousin saul said...

Losing our freedom and liberties is a slowly-changing thing. Even though I do not smoke, I object to the government forbidding a LEGAL product use in bars and restaurants. Either get rid of tobacco (which won't happen because our government is addicted to the cigarette tax revenue) or get off our backs! This government is becoming so intrusive. "... and then they came for me."

David'Z RantZ said...

Cousin Saul: Exactly! And as much as some of us would like to blame the Bush Administration, it's pretty much everyone who has a hand in our government (state and federal) who've been stealing our rights from us, one at a time.

cake said...

Is this a non-smoking blog? It isn't? Cool.

::lights up a big cigar, pours a drink::

David'Z RantZ said...

Cake, you're welcome to smoke anything you want when visiting my blog. Well, anything that's legal to smoke. Not like I'm a narc, or anything...

Today makes ten months since I've had a cigarette.

Don't congratulate me yet. Sadly enough, with all the stress I've been going through lately, I could really use one. Been craving one for the last couple of weeks.

Oh, hell...

cake said...

Do you watch Boston Legal? One of the characters on there has a wooden cigarette that seems to work for him. What? Why are you throwing things at me? ::ducks::

Well, I never! Try to help and this is what I get.

p.s.
If I hadn't renounced my mind control powers just now, I could've helped. Sorry about that!

p.p.s.
I've never smoked though I lovelovelove the smell of a cigar.

p.p.p.s.
And sometimes a cigar is just a cigar...you people are filthy.

David'Z RantZ said...

You have TV in Canada? Wow.

Yes, I love Boston Legal, although I don't like the way that they got rid of some of the more normal people and are now playing up the wackos like Jerry and Clarence.

As far as the wooden cigarette thing goes, they take forever to light.

And sometimes a cigar is not just a cigar, Monica... I mean, Cake.

cake said...

p.p.p....s.
Sorry it's been stressful. I suggest infrastructure.

(And this is why it's a good thing I didn't go into psychology or counselling...all my patients would be alcoholics.)

cake said...

Yup, I watch the show mostly because I have a crush on James Sp-- uhh, I mean, ::cough:: the witty writing, I watch it for the witty writing. And Shatner. Drop Shatner into anything and I'll watch it.

I do wish they wouldn't eliminate characters season to season, though...especially without explaining what's happening to them.

(I had a few more cigar jokes but this is a family blog so...)

David'Z RantZ said...

First Rule of Writing: Never throw anything away.

In other words, save your cigar jokes for David'X RantX.

Jayne said...

Can I recycle old comments?

I had wine, I'm living on the edge over here.

David'Z RantZ said...

Jayne, you may recycle anything you want, except the "I'm going to stay away so long everyone will think I'm dead" routine!

Jayne said...

Why would anyone think I was dead?

Although in future, before anyone starts panic buying black outfits I will tell people if I expect to be absent for a while.

Anyway, I'm still waiting for you to win the lottery.

David'Z RantZ said...

Jayne:

Okay, maybe not dead, but ill, or incarcerated, or kidnapped and sold into a harem, or something...

And, I did win the lottery, but it wasn't one of those huge zillion-dollar jackpots. It was only a few thousand dollars, and I spent most of it buying black suits and dresses for several of the bloggers.

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