Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Thank You For Smoking
That's a great book and an okay movie. I just reread it last week, and I still like it. The main character is so sincere in his statements, the last chapter still shocks me, when he's like, yeah, smoking is bad for you. Duh. A bit that popped into my head today while reading the paper was when Nick was on Larry King and said there's no health risk in smoking cigarettes, the CDC and the NIH make it up because if they don't, they'll lose funding. Naturally, someone from the CDC calls the show and tells him he's full of shit. He counters with the growing epidemic of pneumonia now that smokers are forced to go outside. What bullshit, but it pays the mortgage.
I am not a fan of smoking. This may have to do with the fact that my dad smokes and I do not like him. While he lived with us, he smoked outside. And any time one of mom's smoking relatives visits, they have to smoke at the end of the driveway. However, dad smokes in his house now, as does my uncle. Uncle Danny was married to a smoker, but they both smoked outside. He's married another smoker, and this time they smoke inside. In the kitchen. During his oldest daughter's birthday.
My dad also smokes in his kitchen - when my sister complained, he pointed out that she was in the living room and couldn't even smell it. He has a semi-open floor plan - the kitchen can not be shut off from the rest of the house. He also smoked in the car, with the windows down, while taking her to the doctor. She had bronchitis and pneumonia and was coughing like crazy. But no big deal! The window was open. Sheesh.
At the Crisis Center, you cannot smoke in the building, and if you're a client and you step outside to smoke, whether you missed your turn or not, you'll have to come back the next day. The building is small and the director is allergic. Plus, it stinks. One woman lied about smoking, and went looking for clothes. The room is big, don't get me wrong, but it's packed with clothes. It stunk.
One of my mom's best friends is die-hard smoker - she smokes outside, or at least in her garage. She went to Sonic with my mom and sister yesterday afternoon (Becky has a job!), and smoked while Becky ate. Sure they were outside, but still. When they worked together, she drove everyone nuts by going outside to smoke and then spraying herself with perfume. She came back in every day smelling like perfume and cigarette smoke.
Dogs are banned in more places than cigarettes. I don't think people should smoke where food is served. You can't smoke at a gas station, but the last time I went in one to get the paper, a guy in front of me reeked of cigarette smoke. But I was the bad one because I'd stepped in the door with a 12 pound poodle mop in my arms and didn't go farther than the cashier, which is at the front of the store. I know, I know, they're not allowed.
Mom and I found this great little burger place in Memphis and it was ruined by a smoker. How can you smoke and eat? Ew. (It was very small.)
I loved eating out in Washington - no smoking! One of my uncle's favorite restaurants was worried it would lose business after the ban. Business increased.
There is no 'smoking section' that keeps the smoke 100% away from nonsmokers, unless it's in a separate wing with good ventilation. There's not a peeing section in pools - that stuff spreads.
I realize that long time smokers don't have as good a sense of smell as nonsmokers, so they don't realize how they smell and how it affects others.
So - I hate smoking.
Imagine my joy when I look at today's paper - all area hospitals are banning it from the campuses - no more 'smoking sections' just outside the ER door, no more smoking before visiting sick people, yay! It starts November 15th, the American Cancer Society's Great American Smoke Out.
Most hospitals are taking great steps to help people quit - free nicotine gum or patches along with classes.
They're doing it to improve health and set a good example for the nation's health - they're hospitals. The VA has a problem, as it has smoking shelters that are federally mandated. But I don't think it'll be a big issue - I think this will go through and it'll be great.
Some people are worried about visitors that want to smoke - screw them. They're visiting a sick loved one, they can put the damn things away for an hour, can't they? My dad did that when he visited me in August - he never stunk.
Last Friday, I had an ultrasound done at Baptist Tipton. It is an old, small hospital, but it doesn't have old-world charm. It seems dingy. Anyways, we walked out the front doors and someone was smoking. Yuck! Now smokers will have to go farther, but they'll survive.
If you can't stop smoking while in the hospital, you have a problem. Of course, it is an addiction, but still.
Last time I was at the ER at St Francis, a very sick looking woman walked outside about 5 times. She was a patient and she had to smoke.
But yay! No more smoking anywhere near a hospital. It makes perfect sense. Even when you do it outside, the smell stays with you. Trust me.
Anyways, the story was on 2 pages, A1 and A4.
A4 had an interesting little article at the top of the page about black churches and the new hate crime bill making its way through Congress. They oppose it, because they can't preach against homosexuality.
Unlike smoking, homosexuality hurts nobody, but the homosexual him or her self if he or she chooses to hide it and repress their true nature.
All this law will do is add sexual orientation to the list of things that are already on the hate crime books, like race, religion, gender, ethnicity.
But this will hurt the country, somehow. I'm not sure how.
Besides, the church has been a haven for homosexuals. They have to be celibate and so do priests, monks, and nuns. Problem solved.
The black churches that do support the bill liken this to the Civil Rights struggle of the 50s and 60s. I agree. People want to deny the humanity of other people, just because they are different and it 'goes against God'. So did freeing slaves and marrying someone of a different race at one point.
Of course, there is a big difference between this struggle and the older one - you can hide your homosexuality, you cannot hide your race or you gender.
But I still think this is a waste of time, and will only hurt homosexual Americans if it's not passed. You can think what you want about homosexuality, but you don't have the right to deny a gay person the same rights and opportunities you have - to get married, to adopt, to be a foster parent, to not be harassed, assaulted, or killed for who you are.
I hope these religious leaders end up looking like the idiots they are - protesting giving a minority the same rights as yourself on the grounds that it's a sin, you think it's wrong.
Guess what? If gay marriage is legalized, you don't have to marry a member of the same sex, you don't have to divorce your opposite sex spouse, you can still marry your opposite sex sweetheart and no one will care.
Don't like gay marriage? Don't have one. Don't do one, but don't deny others the right to do so.