An Open Letter to the Smoker

by Linus

Dear Smoker-

You are a special person.  Regardless of what anyone ever tells you, please know that you are a special person.  I mean really, it takes a very special individual to not only knowingly try to kill themselves, but to spend large amounts of money trying to do it.  You don’t sit in your garage with the car running and the windows down, you don’t throw yourself in front of a train (all the morning commuters here in the tri-state area thank you for that one), you don’t even swallow a bullet.  No, you’ve selected a much more interesting way of ending your life, you smoke cigarettes.

I get that there was a time when smoking used to be cool (I know Mad Men is desperately trying to bring those days back).  Movie stars used to smoke on screen, athletes used to smoke, all the hot girls in bars were lighting up, you were constantly bombarded by the Marlboro man…and let’s be honest, that guy was really cool.  But guess what, those days are over.  The Marlboro man is dead, very few movie stars smoke on screen, and the really hot girls are drinking a Skinny Girl Margarita, not puffing on a Virginia Slim.  Is there anything cool left about smoking…no.  Even James Garner and Clint Eastwood quit, and those guys might have been the only 2 guys in the world who were cooler than the Marlboro Man.  The only difference is that they didn’t wait for the cigarettes to kill them.

I don’t know if you know this about yourself either, but you smell.  I’m not talking about working up a good sweat after hitting the treadmill for 45 minutes, I mean you really smell.  It’s not quite as bad as the homeless guy hitting me up for spare change as I switch from the 1 to the 7-train, but it’s enough to make me turn my head and mumble a bunch of stuff under my breath.  It could have been at least an hour since your last cigarette, but it doesn’t matter.  That smell is ingrained in your clothes; it has worked its way into your bark-o-lounger, and it doesn’t matter if you shampoo, rinse, and repeat, your hair reeks.

But remember, you’re cool.  You know those people you see huddled under those heat lamps outside of the clubs in the winter, those are cool people.  Have you ever wondered why they are outside and not sitting at the bar, or why they’re not out on the dance floor?  It’s because cool people don’t sit at the bar, and because cool people don’t dance…they smoke.

Enough about the bad.  Thanks to you and your yellow stained teeth cohorts, you are pumping millions of dollars into our struggling economy.  Also thanks you and your will-probably-die-ten-years-before-my-time friends, my life insurance rates are slightly cheaper.  If you’re lucky, you’ll be fortunate enough to get one of those cool voice boxes, your grandson would love that!  I also know that there are a lot of people in the heartland of North Carolina that would be out of work if it weren’t for you.  You’re also saving everyone else money, if you were to quit, everyone else would have to spend much more of their disposable income on dinners and milk shakes to replace the thousands of dollars you pump into the economy because of your addiction.  Another benefit is that you might get to retire earlier than most, of course that’s probably because you will develop emphysema and be unable to get up from your chair without experiencing shortness of breath…but I’m sure you’re willing to take the good with the bad.

So in closing, remember how special you are.  There are so few people that are willing to pay a complete stranger vast amounts of money for the opportunity to slowly kill themselves over many many years.  It takes a special person to do that…you are unique, you are special, you’re one of a kind…keep up the good work.