I’m not the kind of guy that regularly quotes Chandler Bing (‘Could I be anymore of a Friend’s nerd?’) but the character was rather on-the-nose with the statement:
“The bottom line is smoking is cool and you know it.”
He wasn’t wrong, and you know that too.
Smoking is cool.
This is undeniable.
One can gauge this from the perpetually fag-in-hand look-at-me nonchalance that the greatest heroes of our age have espoused because…they’re cool.
John Wayne (plus denim jeans).
These outstanding instances of masculinity/cool are the benchmark for our performance as a species. If we’re never going to be as cool as these guys were when they were smoking; shall we bother continuing?
Thus, we keep smoking.
Still, there are reasons as to why smoking is so darn cool, and I’ve just taken my dog for a walk and mulled it over aloud to him.
He agreed with me completely; and who are you to deny my dog?
So, to begin, it is chemical – smoking is a drug.
There is a BBC documentary in which the presenter investigates the pleasures of smoking.
He states he in his forties, never once having smoked and is now about to partake; sat in chair with multiple leads connecting him, shirt-off and via those sucky things, to computers that beep as though they’re pretending they know what they’re doing.
He ignites and is immediately coughing and spluttering (the only two things that are ever mentioned whenever smoking is initiated by the uninitiated) as though he’d never smoked before; which he hadn’t.
It cuts away and then back to him a moment later, reclining casually and with the smoke-filled lackadaisical grin common of those realising that this pleasure is relatively cheap, thoroughly enjoyable, completely legal and suddenly making him feel a good deal more-cool than he had ten minutes earlier.
He is converted to the factual pleasure of smoking by sheer experience. Well done him.
The rush of nicotine is one thing, but also consider that when smoking you’re not breathing and the lack of oxygen makes you a tad sleepy till the second second’s blast of nicotine hits again, the heart pumps and the pupils dilate and you take a moment for a breath of fresh and freeing oxygen before plunging back to the depths of the sedate-party that keeps you up all night.
If you hadn’t noticed by my prose, I used to be a smoker.
And now I’m distinctly less cool.
Then there is the pop-culture aspect.
Hemingway and John Wayne (plus denim jeans) – those guys, via TV, film, and the occasional strangely erotic magazine centrefold, emerging out of the mist, accomplished and horny (yikes) and ready to either gun you down like the script says to or write the script that says to gun you down; either way they’re smoking. And utterly cool.
And then one cannot deny the impact of the local popular minority, whom (at the typical teenage age) smoked themselves to blackened pieces in an effort to be an even more popular and more minor minority to such a degree that you wanted to be a part of it.
Their smoking was influenced and an influencer of all of the above and all of the below and if you didn’t start smoking because of other people standing near you then you’re an individual and I tip my hat to you.
There is also the mind’s being influenced by the physicality of smoking.
Don’t forget: sticks, stones and humankind were born perfectly for breaking politician’s bones and they’re wary of this.
One day, like guns and knives, the daily walking stick will be considered (rightfully so) a lethal weapon and shall be controlled by the central powers.
Holding a stick or a stone fills one with a sensation of capacity to affect.
With a stick or stone in hand, things happen as you decide them to, and the ancient feeling born from this is of confidence.
Have you ever held a handgun?
I have, and I felt distinctly un-fucked-with for those few minutes.
Smoking slots into this category, in terms of sensation akin to holding a gun/phallus and in terms of being removed by central powers.
Psychology all comes down to waggling your stick and waggling your phallus, in a smoking area or not. Man and woman, the cigarette is an emblem for the masculine phallus and it’s a pleasure to waggle.
Not only that, but a cigarette is a penis and a nipple.
Like a fish or a fat guy, having something in our mouths creates the illusion that we are safe according to the fact that we’re apparently eating.
The illusion of eating makes us feel better, and a cigarette re-enacts for us eating at our most secure; in our mother’s arms, sucking on her nipple.
In other words: smoking feels like home.
In additional other words: smoking feels like home and you also get to waggle your phallus around.
Cigarettes are one of the only things that you light on fire and then proceed to place in your mouth. And that’s cool.
Not to say that things are improved once aflame, but there’s no denying things become cooler when fire is involved.
It is natural too.
We are the sort of species to find something, plant it, grow it, eat it, wear it, smoke it, inject it, and plant it again. Ancient cigarettes, entirely made of leaf, are something I can create and thus relate to.
I cannot, however, create a vaporizer. And so, accordingly, I want nothing to do with them.
Plus they remove the masculine/slightly acrid flavour of old shag and replace it with the doing-no-good-for-anyone marshmallow-rainbow-blossom flavour whilst you also look like you’re sucking a robot’s dick.
And that’s not my kind of cool.
They’re not our overlord’s just-yet. Let’s hold fire on the robot-dick sucking. Your toaster doesn’t hold such sway at the moment.
Finally, don’t smoke; it’s not cool for people who don’t smoke.
“Oh I simply must have my noxious intake in which I brood; a 48-year old cool kid that’s standing up against THE MAN (who doesn’t want cancer)” is the pro-smoking argument and it can simply either grow-up, fuck-off, or fuck-off in a grown-up way.
It’s not so much the fear of cancer, or even the wimpy argument that comes from a determined smoker…it’s the large smelly stage effect that you’ve just heaved out of your insides floating its way towards me down the street as I exit the building.
And that’s not cool.
Ultimately, despite being distinctly uncool, smoking is perhaps the coolest things a person can do; and that is why it’s still here.
Whaddaya gonna do?
Apparently it’s also bad for you – so perhaps it’s best to avoid.
Either way; LIKE and FOLLOW 🙂
So if any of you are distinct followers of this blog, you might know that I have a tendency for a smashingly swell idea for a regular series of articles that will blossom my writing career into something beyond the eloquence of a graffiti-less toilet wall…and it lasts one article.
One article, and then the rigour-mortis of arrogance and anxiety kicks in; wherein I’m so gifted a writer that I don’t need to prove it just yet, which is handy because I’m terrified it’d be no good.
I feel this one will last though, largely because it’s an interesting subject to focus on, largelier because I’m willing to devote one summary sentence before calling it a success as a matter of insistence and promptly moving on to insisting furthermore that “largelier” is a word. Of course it is; I’ve used it twice in one sentence alone.
The subject of focus will be perpetual fashion – that which is inherently ‘IN’ and irreversibly hip.
Do you recall the scene in ‘The Social Network’ in which Mark Zuckerburg ponders on how fashion is never finished? I didn’t, until I thought of these following few, bare, barely-articles in which I agree that, certainly, fashion is never finished; but it is for some things.
Like cigarettes and babies.
As Chandler Bing said: “Smoking is COOL!”
And there’s some on-the-nosemanship right there.
Smoking will never be out of fashion.
Whilst there are certainly manners in which smoking is not-cool, of course. Such as a when it’s grubby, withered knuckles and filthy tips shaking and stutteringly willing out some last form of devoted elegance as the rizzla wraps the tobacco and the dry tongue comes trembling out to seal the dirty deal before setting the whole ensemble on fire and then it starts raining. Oh wait – that’s still pretty cool.
Of course, dying of cancer or emphazema is as awful as can be expected; but that’s only related to this. Another article will come regarding whether or not dying of cancer or emphazema is cool (early insight: not cool. Tragically dying of any disease, preventable or not, hasn’t been fashionable since ‘Philadelphia’).
Humphrey Bogart in ‘Casablanca’ said it best as he wordlessly tapped a cigarette from its pack, tapped it again to ensure the tobacco was surely impacted well, placed it between is oft-watched, oft-listened to and thankfully rarely oft-smelt lips, lit the branch (otherwise known as ‘setting it on fire’ – also perpetually IN) and then performed the part of a lifetime; confidence set ablaze by the team-work back-up of tar, smoke and fire.
Very primeval; but I guess that was early film history.
Breathing smoke is inhuman and not possible; so we do it.
The ultimate accompaniment; that branch of flaming danger hanging from the lips like a gunslinger’s piece yet also perched, pinched, with the poise and whatnot-knowhow of a magician taking your attention and sneaking your watch; smoking is cool and I haven’t even begun to discuss how it acts like a phallus and is therefore inherently impressive (early insight once more; erect penises have been fashionable since day dot. Flaccid; well, I’ve got some tales to tell).
Smoking is cool, yes; tragically.
It’s a three-pipe problem Watson!
Yes, the pipe is cooler. Partially because it is a habit that comes with a skill – just trying smoking a pipe without the insight of one who knows better – and mostly because my Grandpa used to smoke one (along with Holmes) and he used to smoke Old Shag.
A class that I miss, especially since my Nana banned in from the house.
Babies, however, are the point of all life in the human sphere (when we get to the nitty-gritty of it). Whereas the self-destructive definition of us as a species that is so self-involved yet also dangerously and adorably curious is a true picture of the folk of Earth; all that ‘human ingenuity that brought fire to the cave and saved the world oh-so coolly’ pales like a haunted and freshly laundered wedding dress in comparison to babies.
Babies were our ‘point’ prior to the species.
They make everything look better, including your outlook on life and especially the photo-plastered inner-wallet of that gruff chap who never says much but turns out to have a baby and is immediately more pleasing. A guy with a cigarette in his wallet doesn’t have the same impact on the public in the lunch line.
Babies are the new and original black.
Give a man a cigarette and he’ll look cool for 84 millimetres, give a man a baby he’ll look cool until he hands it back; which he should do if he’s a genuinely cool guy. The coolest guys will put out his cigarette before receiving the baby.
Put a baby in a suit. It’s cool.
Put a baby in animal furs. It’s cool too.
There’s little a baby can be put in that it doesn’t carry-off tremendously with much aplomb.
What doesn’t a baby look cool in?
I’m not certain why, but a baby in a boat does not look cool.
Why don’t’cha just go figure?
I’ve focused on babies looking cool here; but that by no means equates to being ‘fashionable’.
But babies are still eternally fashionable; people just won’t stop with reproductive output.
Then again, it’s not as though babies are original.
That idea’s been had, a fair few millennia ago, and still…see them go – flaunted about and rightfully praised as the greatest accessory known to humankind and the very soul and individual origin of the it too.
Plus babies know all the classics of fashion; gurgling, crawling, toddling and tumbling, dungarees (it takes a man better than me to be able to work well with dungarees outside of a professional capacity) and the ability to simply be watched, nerve-wracking and utterly, utterly affirming of whatever one is currently pondering upon at the time.
Babies are IN.
Article complete. Cigarettes and babies are perpetually IN and I hope this series of articles with continue to be too.
Next time? I’m thinking vaginas and the Irish.
All the best,
(P.S. An interesting note on to cigarettes and babies as being perpetually IN; they are both enjoyed post-coitus, albeit one 9-months later)