Archive for March 2007
Tobacco smoke is a disgusting irritant. So is a fart. Farts are comical to most people. You may be snickering right now just seeing the word in print. When we were kids in school, the class clown was adept at bathroom humor. To break wind and point at the person next to him was a typical and overdone move, and the louder, the better. We laughed because it was a funny, welcome diversion. The “pull my finger” joke always gets a chuckle. There are many slang words for flatulence; fart, fluff, poof, poot, toot, squeaker, squiggle, ass burp, blurp . . . just to name several. Uttering these words usually causes chortling by anyone within earshot. But, if you are sitting in a bar and the person in the adjacent stool is busting his ass incessantly, it ain’t funny. Not so much because it is foul, as it’s inconsiderate. So, why is it non-smokers are expected to accept tobacco smoke lingering in their space simply because they’re in a bar?
Now, I’m not one who favors a lot of government regulation, but it seems to me repulsive behavior needs some control. We could outlaw farting, but that would be silly. Most people are courteous enough to “take it outside” without being forced. If someone sitting next to you at the bar asks, “Do you mind if I smoke?” and you are bold enough to reply “yes” they will still light up and blow it in another direction. Certainly the cigarette will not be put away. There is a sense of entitlement because you are in a drinking establishment and smoking is legal. Perhaps the smoker will move to another area of the bar, but if there are no other seats, you must be tolerant because it’s a bar.
Flatulence and tobacco smoke have three things in common . . . 1) both are airborne 2) it is impossible to control the direction of their movement and 3) they stink! Asking someone who is smoking not to, invokes an arrogant glare, a smart remark or simply being ignored. Common courtesy does not permit one to fart because it is innately understood to be repugnant to those in the immediate vicinity. Why then is smoking assumed to be inoffensive to the nearby non-smokers?
There is the argument smoking is an addiction. OK, agreed. Heroin and crack are addictive, as well. But, they are illegal. Attempts to outlaw smoking in bars leads to cries of “rights trampling” or “big brothering” or other insidious encroachments toward totalitarianism. It is thought by many to be unfair to require smokers not to trample on the rights of non-smokers, who today outnumber them. Our society legislates intolerance of many activities considered abhorrent by the general public. These “laws” are adjusted coincidentally with the change in mores. Today the non-smokers have overtaken the smokers in large numbers; therefore, the laws will eventually be changed as desired by the majority. Once in place, they become the norm and the protests are muted. I doubt a ban on smoking in bars will be quite the demise of society those opposed believe. People go to bars to drink and socialize. If feeding their addiction is necessary, they will go outside just as they do where they work.
I don’t frequent bars as much as before, simply because I prefer to spend my time at home; however, the next time I go to a bar where smoking is allowed and someone next to me asks, “Do you mind if I smoke?” my response will be, “No. Do you mind if I fart?”
Bake My Fish