Monday 30 July 2007

The day of the zealots

Utterly fabulous! Rod Liddle on how to deal with sanctimonious non-smokers! I've replaced the stars with proper expletives. As Bill Hicks said, "I'd stop smoking if I didn't think I'd become one of you!"
Please note that it is now mandatory to smoke while reading

Standing outside a London mainline station, waiting for a taxi, I lit my first cigarette for three hours, leaned back against the wall and inhaled a lungful of cool grey smoke and felt an agreeable tingling spread throughout my body. Do you smoke? You really should give it a go. Very agreeable experience.

Anyway, no sooner had my brain started sending out messages of tranquillity and satisfaction to every part of my body leaving me in the unfamiliar state of feeling goodwill towards my fellow man, than I heard a voice in my ear which dissipated it all in a nanosecond.

"Excuse me," the voice said, with studied politeness, "would you mind putting out that cigarette." The absence of a question mark in that sentence is an accurate reflection of the tone in which it was said.

I looked up. It was a short, bearded cock of a man, swathed in self-righteousness. More to the point, he was an American.

"My family doesn't care to breathe in your second-hand smoke," he added. I looked around in mystification. What fucking family? There was no-one in sight. I had been standing miles away from the entrance to the station, in the open air (no roof, no second wall) in an area devoid of both people and no-smoking signs. I started to get worried. Maybe he was one of those American loonies you read about who, through a sense of alienation or anomie, goes on one of those crazed killing sprees in schools or shopping malls. Maybe my cigarette was what the psychologists call the precursor and within a moment the machine gun would be taken out of his backpack and sprayed around indiscriminately. Clearly he'd made up that he had a family. Maybe he'd already killed them. Tread carefully, I thought.

"Um, I'm sorry, " I said. "but what family?"

He turned and pointed about forty yards away where two spoiled sub-teen female brats were sitting sulkily on a collection of luggage. This arsehole must have espied me lighting up and immediately sprinted the distance between us out of a sort of burning hatred or, as Slavoj Zizek puts it, an incalculable narcissism. Whatever way you look at it, his action was deranged. How on earth should one respond to people like this?

"Fuck off."

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