So today, I was standing in the parking lot of a home improvement store, checking my fluids in my engine and enjoying a cigarette before I went inside. One of those anti-smoking fascists decided to walk up to me and lecture me on why smoking was bad for me. I wasn't in the mood. I'd been up for several days, was tired and needed to go price things for my job so I could wrap up the last of my paperwork and finally get some sleep. This piece of ...work... would not leave me alone. I told them to go away. I told them where they could go. I started screaming at them, and they just started screaming back louder about me poisoning myself. I said F it and hopped in my truck to drive off. Doesn't this mother ... jump in front of my truck so I wouldn't leave and he could keep screaming at me? I finally decided to get a cell phone recently, and i'm glad I did. I whipped it out and called the boys in blue to come diffuse the situation, then snapped a picture of the person waving their arms and yelling at my truck. When he saw me on my phone, he walked off and made his way into the store. I was absolutely livid, but stayed in my truck. Not too long after, a cruiser pulled up to my truck. It's very distinctive and tall, so not hard at all to find in a parking lot. I handed the officer my driver's license and LTCF, and thanked him for coming as I explained what happened. I tried to get him to go away, politely, then increasingly more rude. I tried to get in my truck and go away, but that didn't work either. I didn't see any way that I could de-escalate the situation. As much as I would have loved to put the world out of this A-holes misery, there just wasn't a justification for the use of force, deadly or otherwise. He never made a move to hit me, and I wasn't about to take it to the next level. Carrying a firearm really sometimes taxes your ability to restrain yourself and not lose your temper and do something rash. I am so glad I have the discipline to not give in. I showed the officer the picture I snapped on the cell phone, and he asked me to borrow it and went into the store, asking me to wait outside. He came back about 20 minutes later and said the security at the store had him on camera leaving the store a while ago. Apparently he went in one door, walked to the other side of the store and then just left through another one. The officer returned my cell phone and said that nothing would probably come of it. He did say the security person at the store offered to call the police if the person came back in that day, but we both agreed the odds of that were slim. I thanked him for his time, and he hung out for a little while filling out some paperwork before he drove off. I opted not to go into the store, and left the area and just went to another store elsewhere. So, at least I got my work done, but my blood is still boiling a bit and i'm sorry for the run-on sentances in the preceding paragraphs. I'd like to share the majority of the thoughts I had on my ride home, as much as I can put them together in the state I am in right now. This post is probably going to turn into a longer read, but the typing is making me calm down - so thanks for letting me vent guys. Let's now talk about smoking. People essentially fall into three groups: 1 - Smokers 2 - Non-Smokers 3 - Anti-Smoking Fascists *Group 1: Smokers Smokers would rather just be left alone. They know the health cost. In this day and age, for a person not to know the health cost of smoking, is certainly not the norm. The fact that people continue to smoke says that they either: - Don't care. - Don't think it can happen to them. - Don't think it will happen to them. - Are trying to quit. Smoking is a thing that is easy to ignore the consequences on. The fallout from smoking, and the health price that you pay for it takes such a long time to take effect (if at all) that people can easily ignore it. Beware actions that have much delayed consequences, and make sure that you are aware of the consequences of your actions. If you think it can't happen to you, then you are taking a huge gamble where the odds are stacked almost exclusively in favor of the house. Bottom line is that if you smoke, you will have health problems in the future as a direct result. Smokers are ostracized more and more, and have become a target of much descrimination in recent years. They have to stand further and further away from buildings when they step outside for a cigarette. They are allowed to smoke in less and less public places, including some public parks these days. Smokers are also increasingly bearing the fiscal burden of balancing the budget of the cities and states that they live in. The taxes on cigarettes have skyrocketed out of control, and it only looks like it will get worse as time wears on. We can almost say that it's become ludacris, and in some states that is certainly fitting, but there are still many reasonable states out there that haven't completely price-gouged people over them yet. Smokers should be mindful of the fact that some people are allergic to cigarette smoke, or have asthmatic-type reactions when exposed to it. It is a small number of people, relatively speaking, but the health effects on other people should be considered in a closed environment. I have a friend who is violently allergic to cigarettes, and whenever we hang out I refrain from smoking unless we are a decent distance apart outside in the fresh air. *Group 2: Non-Smokers Non-Smokers would prefer people didn't smoke around them, but most of them don't mind. Some people are allergic to cigarette smoke, and others experience breathing issues when subjected to it. Most are not troubled by cigarette smoke. Non-Smokers can smell cigarette smoke, or the smell left over on clothing and in vehichles/housing much easier then smokers can. Generally they would prefer not to smell what's left over after a cigarette is finished. (I definitely can understand this) On the whole Non-Smokers are just as decent as Smokers, and both groups can get along well enough with each other. *Group 3: Anti-Smoking Fascists. These people are crusaders. They make it their mission to inform every smoker they see just how bad it is for them, always expecting it to be some major revelation. Believe me when I say, the smokers know all about it, probably much more then the crusader "revealing it" to them. They make it their life mission to harass any smoker they see about it. They don't hesitate to point out non-smoking signs everywhere, and usually complain when they don't see one. These people spend time, effort and/or money to campaign against smoking. On internet message boards, they will always jump on smokers. They will link to random studies showing the detriments of smoking. They will post pictures of bad lungs, cancer, and people with trach-tube or voice box. These are also the 'Holier-then-though'self-righteous people that are mostly responsible for how shunned smokers are these days. They are also the kind of people that make such a ruckus about smokers that legislation gets passed against the smokers. All things being equal, the world would probably be a better place without group 3. So ask yourself, are you group 1, 2 or 3? Now, let me say, I am a smoker. I have been a smoker for a long time. I will most likely be a smoker for the rest of my life. After 18 years of smoking an average of around 3 packs a day, I can still hold my breath for right around 2 minutes of actively moving under water. I can (and do) still run pretty far at one shot. I am very aware of the health aspect, as my entire family are smokers as well, who are in various stages of facing those same consequences. I am also willing to deal with those consequences when my time comes, as the things we do in life all have a price. Not all of it is financial. I'd rather have a shorter and more full life, then an empty long one. Smoking gives me pleasure, and part of the price for that pleasure is suffering later and possibly a shortening of the time I have to spend in this life. Consider that I smoke between 40 and 60 cigarettes a day. That is 40 to 60 experiences per day of happiness and solace. In all the days and all the years it will take for it to catch up to me, it seems to me like I am more then getting my worth out of smoking - compared to the dozen or so years much later in my life when it'll suck. To me that seems a small price to pay (and yes I will say that when I am there too). Since all of us smokers are consigned to having a crappy time at the end of our life from the choice we have made, it would be nice to be just left alone to pursue our solace in peace. It doesn't seem fair that not only do we have to suffer our health being trashed, but also (in this day and age) get shunned, pushed aside, bullied by the media and over-opinionated people... and then get increasingly out of control taxes dumped on our heads for the cost of a pack of smokes. Something's gotta give. Shut up and leave us alone, or rectify the tax situation. We can't dodge the health bullet, so at least one of the three we have to take. Why kick a man when he's down. I bet most smokers wouldn't mind having to deal with being saturated by 'new' information on the health issue if the tax situation was brought under control. Just remember a little tea party that was thrown a few hundred years ago and you'll realize that people can deal with so much before it becomes too much. I would like to talk about the smoking cessation 'scene'. I think the general idea of smoking cessation is a great thing. Some can just stop cold turkey with no problems whatsoever. Most people have a hard time letting go. For that reason I am glad that so much effort and research has been put into ways to help people stop smoking. It is addctive. It is also habit forming, which is worse then the addictive part. Combine them and it overwhelms most people's ability to walk away from it. The thing is though, you have to want to stop. If some part of you doesn't want to stop smoking, then it doesn't matter what kind of 'treatment' you get, it won't change the fact that you smoke. That being said, some people need the crutch. They can't just let it go, and having some gum to chew, or a patch to wear, or any of the plethora of treatments available is extremely helpful to them. And it is profitable business. I have no problems with someone making money off of helping people improve their quality of life. It really is a commendable thing to do. But where society and these companies all went wrong was with the words "quit smoking" Specifically the word "quit". That wordage is now stuck with us. When pretty much anyone thinks about giving up smoking, the phrase "quit smoking" or the word "quit" is the first thing to come to mind. "Quit smoking" is just the normal way to describe someone giving up cigarettes. This is an extremely bad thing, and in my mind is playing a part in creating the welfare nation. In the back of everyones mind now, it's okay to be a quitter. "Quitting smoking" has become a badge of honor, for people to be proud of. It's held up as a noble goal for anyone in society to achieve. People are commended for being a "quitter". Being a "quitter" is not something anyone should be proud of, ever. It is very unfortunate that society at large has nurtured the idea that "quitting" is good. Now, in the back of almost every Americans mind, is the idea that it's okay to be a "quitter". Sub-consciously, this saps individual people's ability to push themselves not to give up on other things. Having it be okay to be a "quitter" for one thing, opens the door for it to be okay to be a "quitter" on other things too. You may or may not be aware of the effect this has on you, but if you've ever heard the term "quit smoking" and associated a positive feeling with it, then somewhere in your head is a dangerous door allowing you to rationalize not living up to your full potential. People are extremely good at rationalizing things to themselves, and talking themselves into (or out of) doing something. All that is necessary is a good argument, and you can believe that it isn't worth pursuing, or putting that much effort into, or whatever. People should be on their guard for the things in society that can sap their drive, desire... determination to see something through to it's conclusion. If just one person reads this and becomes aware of the hidden detriment in their subconscious mind encouraging them not to succeed in general, then my mission was accomplished. I certainly feel that "quit smoking" was the wrong way to put forth the idea of breaking an unhealthy habit. With all of the press and media attention smoking cessation programs have gotten, the "quitter" mentality is pretty firmly lodged in the back of every Americans mind at this point. Knowing this will help you work against it, and making it a known pitfall takes much of the depth out of the equation. I am sorry for the long read, but that was really therapuetic for me. I appreciate you guys allowing me to share this with you, and giving me the opportunity to vent and calm down. I am really starting to lose energynow, so it looks like the sweet bliss of days missed slep is not far away for me now. I leave you to enjoy that last cigartte before I close my eyes. Farewall for now.