Tuesday, July 6, 2010

When the smoke clears....

I don’t smoke.  I probably never will smoke.  I am not even a drinker.  However, despite not engaging in either of those vices, I have found myself out and about at local bars and restaurants with my friends.  I go there to be social, to have a good time, and to just get out of the house.  Regardless of the volume of fun to be had there was always one common thing with all my experiences out on the town.  At some point in the evening or the next morning I would have a terrible headache.
                I know what you are going to say.  Nick Wallander is an ass clown liar and I knew it all along!  No, he is not.  So, you can relax as I assure you that these headaches were not due to a hangover.   That would be impossible since I don’t drink, but in some ways it would be better to just have a hangover headache as opposed to the truth.  I was having second hand smoke headaches.  Hours of inhaling cancerous fumes will do that to you.  If the headaches alone weren’t annoying enough there was always the soot colored snot that got blown into the tissues.  On top of that are the perfectly good contacts abused by the smoke as well.  The smoke in the bars was nothing but trouble.  At least it was for the non-smokers.  Those who did smoke were blind to these instances due to their nicotine addiction.  They are the biased experts on the issue because they are, you know, addicted to a powerful drug.
                Go ahead.  Yell at me for not knowing what I am talking about.  Tell me that smoking isn’t addictive and that nicotine is not a powerful drug.  Tell me that second hand smoke is just a myth.  Tell me that I should just stay at home if I don’t want to get some smoke blown in my face.  Well, okay.  Don’t tell me that because I will just tell you that you are starting to get rude.  I would follow it up with a “Why don’t you stay the fuck home and smoke your cancer sticks?”. 
                If you haven’t figured out yet, I am going into an opinionative rant about the newly instilled Wisconsin smoking ban for bars, eateries, and places of business.  A lot of things have been said about the new law.  Both sides of the issue are throwing out comments about their rights being violated one way or another.  In reality, both sides have valid points.  There is no doubt about that.  However, one thing can’t be argued.  This law is better for the health of the general public.  People who smoke can still smoke, but they won’t be up in other people’s business when doing so.
                Now I know what a lot of people argue at this point in the discussion.  The smokers are going to suggest that the non-smokers just go to establishments that have already decided to ban smoking.  Well, isn’t that a selfish statement?  Why the hell can’t you just step outside for a couple minutes?  Wouldn’t that be easier on everyone?  Let’s also not forget about the people who work at these bars and eateries that often don’t have a choice where they work, so they have to endure pillars of cancer gas every night.  What about them?  Should they just not work?  It isn’t as simple as telling the non-smokers to move along.
                Argument point number two is about the bar owners’ private property rights being taken away.  Many people believe that the state shouldn’t get to make that call since people have the choice to go to bars.  People walk in on their own free will into private property.  They should accept what the environment is and the owners should have full discretion if you ask some people.  Hmmm.  This is an interesting point.  I see what they are saying, but I can offer a great retort to that.  These people are essentially saying that being on private property means that the laws of the public should be exempt.  This becomes a bigger issue than it needs to be because part of the opposition is arguing for a behavior/drug that they are addicted to.  They don’t realize that there are plenty of existing regulations that they already adhere to that bar owners could argue are an infringement to their private property rights.   The thing is that people don’t complain because it doesn’t affect their addiction.
                Think about this.  If there weren’t state sanctions on health rules on private properties, the people working in the restaurants wouldn’t even need to refrigerate their food.  Would you like to eat spoiled meat on your hamburger?  Or how about this?  Let’s say screw it to the state’s interference with private businesses and let that bartender mix a drink after left the bathroom without washing their piss covered hand. That would be splendid, wouldn’t it?  Mmm.  Who doesn’t like a tangy drink?  Better yet, let’s forget all consideration for the health of patrons and just let the fry cook send out a shit burger!  It is okay though.  It is their right to do that.  If you didn’t want a shit burger you could go to another place to eat.
                See what I did there?  It makes more sense when you compare the new smoking ban to existing regulation.  It isn’t so bad when you think about it.  We already abide by standards that many could complain are restrictions on individual rights.  The point is that we don’t complain because there is a general understanding that things are for the good of everybody.  In due time, the state of Wisconsin will adjust to the new smoking ban.  The alcoholics will still frequent their corner bars because they need their booze more than a smoke filled room.  The chain smokers will find refuge in the smoking areas outside and may even learn to like the social scene outside of bars.  It will take a little time, but in the end, the state wide smoking ban is good.
                It will be awesome when I don’t have to worry about the smell of smoke on my clothes in the morning.  I won’t have to worry about ruining my contacts or blowing smoke snot from my nose.  I will sleep better without a headache.  However, I may still have to worry about the slight chance of syphilis.      

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