Student Voice


June 12, 2024


Smoking reasons fall short on logic

April 9, 2009

I used to get headaches when being around smokers. You know the kind? The ones who sort of start as a light tingle in the back of your skull and then move through the center of your brain and end in a constant vibration and pulsing of pain; as if someone were taking a tweezers to the back of your eyeballs. Yeah.

Having spent a lot of time in the smoke filled bars and restaurants these past few years, I’ve managed to adapt to secondhand smoke, so I’m super thankful for that. On the other hand, it still annoys the urine out of me. Anyway, I’m pro-anti-smoker, but not anti-pro-smoker (see next week’s column).

I can’t stand the lot of smokersĂ‘not a single one of them. There’s an overabundance of ‘em of all kinds: the chain smoker, the occasional smoker, the I-need-to-have-a-smoke-break-now-not-because-I-need-one-but-because-I-enjoy-being-lazy-and-pissing-my-fellow-coworkers-off.

They’re all odd. I feel no sympathy for the ones who huddle together outside of buildings on campus here as they try dearly to abide by the “be sweet; stand 25 feet!” rule. I’ve seen them holding each other together in the negative degree weather, and it’s super hysterical when the wind-chill (minus four more degrees) plays devil’s advocate by extinguishing their poorly lit matches or lighters.

Take that, suckers! For two summers I worked with all smokers. As we attempted to change oil and work under the hoods of steaming Hondas and Saturns, I’d constantly be reminded that I’d have to take over eventually by myself because the rest of my crew needed a smoke break.

“Oh I need a cigarette right now” is the most common line of real dialogue the smoker unleashes when they, indeed, need one. In case you find yourself working around smokers in stressful environments; hell, ALL environmentsĂ‘watch out for the symptoms. A sweaty forehead and shortness of temper are always the signs of the sickness.

It’s almost as thought deciphering a cryptogram; you put the pieces together; forehead dripping with sweat, the smoker’s lips pursed as if they had an imaginary cig in their mouth, jittery movements and an inability to complete a sentence without tweaking their shoulders as if dancing for MC Hammer in 1990.

Eventually I got sick of hearing the “I need a cigarette right now” line, so I started responding sarcastically with “go have a cig; no, have TWO.”

But that never matters. Having two cigarettes in a row doesn’t double the smoker’s time between natural cravings. GOD. I especially love the excuses smokers use to justify their habits: “well I’m addicted, see?” Fine. You still stink. “Well I’m gonna be a smoker for just a FEW years…”

OK. Great, then what? You’re gonna have to lose the habit eventually, right? Oh, and let’s not forget the dollar issue! I can’t stand when I hear someone tell me they can’t hang out because they “don’t have any money.” Really? I wonder why.

And smokers are all super-defensive about it, too. They like to band together and fight the world. There may be some logical reason why you do it; why you accept the tar into your lungs, why you can’t go a day without it; you need it like diabetic needs insulin. Gotta problem with me? Alright; here’s how we’ll settle it. You can chase me with whatever blunt/sharp/jagged object you can find; I’ll even help you select one. If you can catch me, then you can leave me in whatever condition your rusty heart desires. Until then, I’ll see you hovering around KFA (25 feet, please!) until next week. Be sure to read my next column; you’ll all be happy.

Brad Brookins is a graduate of UW-River Falls.