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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Sweet Smell of Texas Sized Freedom


Last night, something wonderful happened. It was at a little bar and grill along the San Antonio River Walk where we stopped to eat. The host asked if I wanted to sit in either the "smoking or non-smoking" section. It's been so long since I had anyone ask me that question that I nearly didn't know how to respond.
After all, in Iowa, smokers have been confined to back alleys, a football field removed from any door, where we share dark corners with crack addicts and heroine junkies.
Sure, it started out innocently enough, when they asked us to sit outside and smoke, you know, so the people inside the office didn't have to breathe in our toxic emissions.
But pretty soon, the people inside the offices started walking out the door and complaining about the horrible smell that was getting on them from the smokers standing outside.
Then, all of the buildings started passing bans on employees smoking anywhere on the grounds. This meant that in the city, thousands of office workers would leave their buildings at lunch time, cross the street, and stand in front of the buildings directly across from their workplaces...and smoke.
But, I'll be damned if the non-smokers still weren't happy. They complained that the strangers smoking in front of their building were almost as offensive (but not quite, because at least they didn't have to look at Janet from the third floor again, because who can stand her anyways, let alone when she is standing outside, enjoying a cigarette) as their co-workers smoking...
...and we were forced to smoke in dark, hidden alleys, behind trash dumpsters, with these people.
But NOT in Texas! Because in Texas, the heroes of the Alamo fought to ensure that our freedoms would always be free.
And since that day at the Alamo, Texans have embraced their right wing religious fundamentalism and prayed away (in tongues!) anyone who threatens the freedom of smokers just like me!
If my trip across Texas has taught me anything, it's that Texans hate abortion (I stopped counting at fifty anti-abortion billboards), but love their guns and smokers (in certain outside places at restaurants).
The perfect world combination of the two??? (I couldn't find one with a kid holding a cigarette AND an assault rifle).
So, I knew that it was incumbent upon me to go ahead and smoke that cigarette in the outdoor smoking section of that restaurant. It was practically my duty to honor the freedom loving Texans who had fought for my rights, and prayed to little baby Jesus, and handled snakes, until the smoke hating, do-gooder lefties had all abandoned the state. 
And when the old couple at the table next to us complained to the waiter about the smoke, and I almost put my cigarette out...
...I already knew where it was all headed.
Instead of putting it out, I took another drag, inhaling the smooth, refreshing flavor of tobacco smoke, and exhaled.
Like the heroes who defended the Alamo, I stood my ground until the freedom haters had left the table, hopefully returning to whatever left wing state they had come from (probably retired literary agents from New York City, because no other single group is more restrictive upon individual liberties than they are, which must be true, or why else would we all have to choose only between vampire novels and books about zombies?).  
With the freedom haters gone, I ordered another beer and lit up another Marlboro, sucking in the sweet flavor of Texas sized victory (and 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing compounds).
So, here's to you, Texas. I'm going to miss you.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, that really is my fat head. Yes, I actually do wear obnoxious Hawaiian shirts. And yes, I actually do leave them unbuttoned that far down, thus exposing chest hair (it was all the rage twenty years ago). And...finally, YES, I actually do have chest hair (we didn't shave our body hair twenty years ago either).

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