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 🙂