I Absolutely Loved It Immediately.

For a change, here’s somebody else writing about smoking: Tom Schilb. It starts:

Sometimes, I remember what my real purpose is in this world. It is to defy conventional thinking, standards and norms at all costs. I don’t trust in authority or people who think they know. In my estimation, a belief I’ve held since long before I ever knew I held beliefs, ‘experts’ exist only to be mocked and lampooned for thinking that I want to clap along with them or parade around in one of their approved sets of padding and proper helmet.. It isn’t, of course, the case that I’ve any brilliance to compensate for such a vacuum. I don’t. I make shit up, figure it out on the fly. I like that. That is the point of life – my life, anyway…

It would make a nice addition to the Octabber Resistance. And it is still October. I recommend it.

About Frank Davis

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13 Responses to I Absolutely Loved It Immediately.

  1. jaxthefirst says:

    “I wish I could describe the allure. I wish I could find anyone else on the planet who understands that, but in this day and age, I think I never will…”

    He obviously hasn’t read your blog, Frank. He’d find plenty of people who understand the feeling here! Maybe you should direct him here – he’d be surprised (as I suspect many other latecomers to your regular readers list have been) just how many people understand exactly where he’s coming from!

    But, like the writer, I often ponder exactly what it is about smoking that is so utterly blissful, and I’ve come to the conclusion that what smoking does is “ratchet up” the enjoyment levels of pretty much any activity you can think of.

    It doesn’t change the world and make everything wonderful, of course, but it does take the edge off rotten situations. So that if you’re having a truly lousy day at work, stopping for a cigarette makes it just averagely lousy. If you’re feeling bored, it gives you a few minutes where – just for a while – it doesn’t matter that you haven’t got anything else to do that’s interesting. If you’re feeling lonely (as many smokers now often do), then just for a little while that loneliness stings just a bit less.

    Similarly, it enhances the good times, too. If you’re having a good conversation with someone, then smoking at the same time will turn it into a great conversation. If you’re having an averagely OK evening, smoking will turn it into a good one. If you’re having a good evening, then smoking will turn it into a brilliant one. And if you’re having a brilliant time, then smoking will make it even more brilliant. I don’t know how it does it, but it does. Alcohol, of course, can have the same effect, but it isn’t quite as reliable as smoking, because of course, if you overdo it, it can easily have the opposite effect and make a bad situation seem terrible (the “crying into his beer” syndrome) or a ruin a good one.

    And, following on from that, I think that it’s the diminution of the pleasure factor which makes so many ex-smokers so miserable and resentful and (eventually) turns them into full-blown antis. Because, once you’ve experienced something which, on a scale of 1-10, on the “good” scale rates – with smoking included – around 9 or 10, then inevitably, no matter how hard ex-smokers might pretend otherwise, you know, deep down inside, that the best you’re ever going to get from the same experience in future will only ever be a 7 or an 8. Now 7 or 8 is good, of course, and many never-smokers would be satisfied with that (because, for them, they’ve never known anything better), but for ex-smokers – knowing how much more they could be enjoying stuff (as they used to) – everything is always going to be just a tad, well, “second-best,” I guess. And, when that reduction in the “pleasure factor” has been caused by a decision that they themselves have made – i.e. to give up the thing which would knock the experience up to a higher score – that’s a pretty good reason for feeling cross with themselves, bad-tempered and grumpy and, to be candid, incandescent with jealousy towards those who are still, despite constant pressure, continuing to enjoy stuff at the 9-10 level.

    Just a thought.

    • Frank Davis says:

      He probably has read some of my stuff. He’s one of my Facebook friends. I have the notion that he likes cooking, and many of his Facebook posts are about stuff he’s lovingly prepared (I think).

      And also I tend not to write lyrically about smoking, even though I do enjoy it. I don’t write lyrically about drinking tea either, although I enjoy doing that too. I just see tea and cigarettes and whisky as assistants in doing something else – which in my case usually entails ideas of one sort or other.

      Perhaps I should write a bit more lyrically about stuff.

      • Some other Tom says:

        Thank you, Frank – I do read your blog, daily, and comment here from time to time – I’m sort of a dim-wit when it comes to figuring out blogs and crosslinking, so I’ve only ever logged in/commented here as ‘Some other Tom’, as there is another Tom who comments regularly. Actually, you are a part of the reason I wrote that piece, along with reading stories in the Octabber resistance campaign. I’ve read your blog, Pat Nurse’s (sadly now missing Tea and Cigarettes) and Leg Iron for a few years. I think my water broke and I just got sick of playing nice with people who’d rather have you lie about things or apologize about what makes you happy and content. I don’t want to be cured of being who I am, or coerced into questioning the things I love and bring me happiness. I think the people who set out with that agenda, to mold others or offer conditional forms of acceptance in their version of existence and interaction are ridiculous and deserve to be exposed and mocked and lampooned.

        I’m flattered that you enjoyed my writing. I’m glad that you aren’t more lyrical in what you write. I llike that the people who are speaking out are chaotic and unorganized and approach things from many different angles and insights – it is our greatest strength, I think. It’s actually, probably, the only genuine semblance of a ‘culture’ or ‘society’ as it exists any longer.

        • Frank Davis says:

          And I’m flattered that I was part of the reason why you wrote that delightful little essay.

          And I also like it that “the people who are speaking out are chaotic and unorganized and approach things from many different angles and insights”. I also think that it’s our greatest strength – something I touch on from time to time when I write about smokers as swarms of wasps. When people are organised, they are all pointed in one direction. But unorganised people go in all directions, and retain the potential to do anything.

          I used to have a game that I played when I was a child, which was to find a flat piece of tarmac or concrete, and gradually pour a jug of water onto one spot on it. The water would form a gradually widening puddle with an irregular shape, and then suddenly start flowing away in one direction. And then stop, and send off a little stream in another direction. And so on. The point of the game was to guess which way the water would end up flowing, or if it would flow anywhere at all. And I could never guess right.

          It’s the same with unorganised social groups. It’s never possible to guess which way they’re going to go. They retain the capability of doing anything, going anywhere. Which makes them completely unpredictable. And therefore invincible.

        • Pat Nurse says:

          Hi Tom and Frank. Tom, If you are willing and able to get a shorter version of your wonderful blog post over to me for tomorrow then I would love to use it on Tabbers’Tales – which can be found by clicking on the WE’RE NOT QUITTING tab on the home page – for Day 31 – the last day of the campaign. If possible, I would like a photo to go with it. This, and where possible the use of real names, is to show that we are not “trolls” or “tobacco industry stooges” but ordinary legitimate consumers like any other but unlike most, we pay the most in tax and get the least for it and if we deserve anything at all, then it is, at least, our own voice and not the ventriloquist anti-smoker industry which doesn’t represent us no matter how much it claims to speak in our name.

          You can send it to beleaguredactivist@gmail.com

        • Some other Tom says:

          Pat – I would love to do that – I will send you an edited version shortly! Thank you!

      • lleweton says:

        I agree about thinking.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    I LIVE FOR THE FIGHT…………It consumes me and it pisses the Nazis off. Id rather fight than Quit!

  3. Chris Whittaker says:

    Drinking in a Bar without a cig, 6 out of ten, but with a cig 10 out of 10, that,s why there nearly all struggling or shutting down, they go together like Fish and chips and always will.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Obama asked his Mother, “How come I’m black and you’re white? She replied, “Shutup, from what I can remember about the party, you’re lucky you don’t bark.

  5. Walt says:

    Off Jax–your fine post got neglected so just to say it was fine and I agree.

    Anecdotally, a cousin of mine who quit at least 20 years ago has said, in my presence, that she likes the bar/ restaurant ban because it removes temptation. After 20 years, then, she’s still tempted and would sacrifice the social lives of all smokers to keep herself in line.

    Anecdotally, too, I know several writers who quit smoking and whose writing has never been the same– not as good, not as inspired, not a intense or as fast. FWIW.

  6. junican says:

    The whole experience of our lives, from time immemorial, is that we have to WORK for a certain amount of time. That WORK requires that we be careful and precise. After the work is done, we need no longer to be careful and precise. We can indulge ourselves with alcohol and nicotine and be silly and inaccurate.
    The critical idea is that we NEED alcohol and nicotine to enable us to relax. Of course, not everyone is so disposed, but many of us are. Why should the PURITANS, who never achieve the desirable level of care and precision, dictate?
    The bad consequences of the Smoking Ban become more and more evident every day. But not directly. No one any more dare deny the Healthist ideology. That is a direct consequence of Parliament accepting the emotional outpourings of a few MPs financially supported by ASH ET AL rather than facts.

    It may be advantageous for us bloggers to go back in time and show how much tobacco control relies upon emotions. Discussions in Parliament about the Framework Convention … spring to mind. I read Hansard about the debate, but, to the best of my recollection, there was no debate about THE CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS of the FCTC. The speakers in Parliament were only concerned with EMOTIONS.


    I have often said that ‘our democracy stinks’ without being able to say why that is so. Is the reason becoming clear? If our Parliament is based upon the EMOTIONS of MPs, then it becomes very difficult for REASON to predominate.

    • Frank Davis says:

      The whole experience of our lives, from time immemorial, is that we have to WORK for a certain amount of time. That WORK requires that we be careful and precise. After the work is done, we need no longer to be careful and precise. We can indulge ourselves with alcohol and nicotine and be silly and inaccurate.

      That’s the way I think too – particularly that division of life into work and leisure. There is one set of values that governs work, and another set of values that governs leisure. And, in many ways, the two value systems are in contradiction with each other.

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