A Week In The Life

I got this in the mail today. I reproduce it verbatim:

A Week in the Life of a Disabled Senior Smoker who Lives in a Partially-Government-Funded Apartment Building for People 62 and Up.

Monday: Inspection. Every three months the building manager and maintenance man come into each of the 75 apartments to see that everything’s working as it should, and that the place is reasonably clean. Takes about a minute. It’s no big deal. I keep up with my housekeeping so I always pass. In fact, when the inspection was over, the building manager commended me on the great condition of my apartment.

Tuesday: Note stuck in my door from the building manager. Turns out I failed inspection because apparently the smell of smoke in my apartment was “strong enough that people could smell it when they walked past my door” and “corporate was here and they caught the scent of cigarette smoke by your door.” And “some visitors complained they could smell cigarette smoke in the building.”. I need to “deep deodorize” (whatever that means). Re-inspection on April 4th. Which will consist of the building manager sniffing the hallway and opening my door and sniffing. If it is deemed by the building manager (who happens to be an anti) that it smells too cigarette-y,  I could be evicted (which would be the third place in 10 years I’ve had to leave SIMPLY BECAUSE I SMOKE – even though I pay my rent and other bills on time, and I’m quiet, very clean, neat and responsible. And I’m a nice person, darn it. You know something? A heap of glowing character references mean NOTHING if one is a low-income smoker. By the way – I only smoke at my computer desk, which is in front of two large open windows which face no other apartment, only look out onto a parking lot and woods,  and are on the opposite side of the apartment from my door and the hallway. I am also the only smoker on the first floor. Nobody smokes in the hallways or in any of the common areas. I was informed that the previous tenants of my apartment – a couple – both smoked, and nobody ever smelled their smoke. (Which makes no sense to me. Of course, anti noses keep getting more and more sensitive) So I went out and spent $60.00 (which is a huge chunk of my monthly income) on extra strong deodorizing sprays, plug-ins, stand-up deodorizers, Glade, Ozium, Fabreze, etc. etc. etc., and every time I smoke, I spray, spray, spray. Which makes me wheeze. Because I have asthma, which is not at all activated by smoking. I also bought two disposable e-cigs, just to try them and see if they would keep my “analog” smoking down. They tasted like crap and made me feel nauseous. Blagh. And I’ve been keeping the windows WIDE open even when it’s freezing out. I feel so frustrated and sad.

Wednesday: Our synagogue’s rabbi called me and asked if I had some time that afternoon to work on music for her next service and talk about songs the children were singing for Religious School. (I play piano for services, and am a music teacher at Religious School). The rabbi is an ex-smoker, and a RABID anti. (She’s also anti-meat, sugar, chocolate, wheat, and all soft drinks, and never misses a chance to mention her sensitive metabolism). I told her she could come over and we could work at my piano. Immediately she said, oh, NO, the SMOKE, the SMOKE, I couldn’t tolerate the SMOKE! Now, she’d never been to my place before. All she knew was that I smoked. (And she was never shy about telling me how much I stunk when I’d return from an outdoor smoke break) I told her the place was aired out really well. So she came over, and as soon as she walked in the front door of the completely smoke-free lobby (which is a very large, well-ventilated and actually nice-smelling open space that is nowhere near my apartment and has no walls or windows or vents in common with it), she grabs her throat dramatically and says, “OH, the SMOKE – I can SMELL it – oh, it’s SO STRONG – my THROAT is closing up – COUGH, COUGH – GAG, GAG – And as we’re walking down the hall her nose is up in the air, sniffing, and she’s getting more and more upset, and the minute I open my door, she says, OHHHH, I can’t TAKE it – my throat is almost COMPLETELY closed up now – cough cough, gag, gag – we’ll have to meet another time at the synagogue. And she left. (I do take comfort in the fact that her contract wasn’t renewed).

Thursday: Went to the clinic to see my caseworker. One of my disabilities is chronic major depression (and smoking greatly helps me deal with that), and I see a mental health caseworker every few months. Nice guy. Ex-smoker. Increasingly anti. He informed me that the mental health clinic just banned smoking everywhere on its property, including the entire large parking lot, the sidewalks around the parking lot, and the two large gazebos that are a block and a half away from the building itself. I was dumbfounded, considering that every client I’ve ever seen walk out of there lights up immediately. I just have infrequent short appointments, so the ban doesn’t really affect me, but some of the clients, especially those who are in crisis,  are there for hours at a time, and they use the gazebos to hang out, decompress, and smoke. I said to my caseworker, that’s just unfair and MEAN! He started in with, no, smokers are selfish and mean for giving others cancer, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc….. I just tuned out. This week was hard enough smoking-wise.

Friday: Friend (who I’ve known and been fond of for several years) came over to visit with his 10-year-old daughter. He took me aside and told me to not smoke anywhere near his little girl, or even take out a cigarette in front of her,  because he and her mother didn’t want her exposed to anything having to do with tobacco, so if I need a cigarette to please hide it discretely and take it outside to smoke. Which involves walking down several long hallways,  going through three doors, locking the door behind yourself, and having to use a keycard to get back in the building again, and going back up the several long hallways again.

SO – that was a Disabled Senior Smoker’s Week.

And that doesn’t include Saturday and Sunday! :)

Judy  […in Virginia, who has posted here as “Jariel”. The town in which she lives, when she moved there 10 years ago, was quite friendly to smokers. There were smoking sections in just about every restaurant, and all bars allowed smoking. It’s now completely changed.]

About Frank Davis

smoker
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33 Responses to A Week In The Life

  1. carol2000 says:

    And it all happened because smokers let them get away with their scientific fraud. Every traitor who said, “Smokers know the risks” instead of arguing, stabbed us in the back. Everyone who accepted their framing of the issue as “freedom versus public health,” who whined about slippery slopes and called them “nannies” instead of criminals, sold us out. We have a goddamn RIGHT to demand that the government not engage in procedures which are cynically calculated to generate false claims of harm. Anybody who won’t stand up for that right is not our friend.

  2. legiron says:

    It’s no different in the UK. There are quite a few old peoples’ homes around here (I would rather die – they don’t even have a garden to look after) where people in their eighties have to stand outside their own homes to smoke.

    This is 20 miles north of Aberdeen and it gets seriously cold here. That ‘heatwave’ today pushed the temperature here up to 12C, not even warm for the time of year.

    The antismokers claim we kill them with smoke. I really, really wish that was true because they are killing us in a very real sense. We do them no real harm at all.

    Being an antismoker is the one crime I would gladly vote to bring back hanging for. Mass murdering scum, the lot of them.

  3. magnetic01 says:

    Apartment smoking bans are gaining momentum, particularly in the USA. It’s a recent phenomenon. They’re even banning smoking in apartments in such places as Alaska. Smokers are advised that they must go outside in the freezing cold if they want a cigarette.

    The elderly/disabled are harangued and harassed. A summary of the ones that I’m aware of, and these are just some of the ones that make it into the news.

    The story of 97-year-old, Jane O’Grady:
    http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/region_indian_river_county/vero_beach/jane-ogrady-97-in-jeopardy-of-eviction-from-lakes-at-pointe-west-home-because-of-smoking-habit
    http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/feb/15/russ-lemmon-sad-turn-in-story-of-97-year-old-who/
    http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/feb/28/letter-the-lakes-at-pointe-west-deserves-for-of/

    Smoking ban for three 90-year-old nursing home residents
    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/elections/smoking-ban-for-three-90yearold-nusing-home-residents-30052206.html

    90-year-old World War II vet and his wife being evicted from their home
    because he smokes in building breezeway rather than out on the street

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2401317/90-year-old-World-War-II-vet-wife-evicted-home-smoking.html

    Senior smokers told to quit or move out of Santa Cruz complex
    http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_11704822

    In Alaska
    http://www.newsminer.com/opinion/community_perspectives/smoked-out-new-smoking-rules-for-public-housing-are-a/article_f0d98378-d593-11e2-aed7-001a4bcf6878.html

    Pensioners forced into freezing shelter for smoke
    http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2012/02/09/pensioners-forced-into-freezing-shelter-for-smoke/

    From the freezing Yukon
    http://www.whitehorsestar.com/archive/story/smoking-ban-leaves-some-residents-fuming/

    88-year-old woman told to butt out – or be evicted (Calgary)
    http://www.vancouversun.com/health/year+woman+told+butt+evicted/3696774/story.html

    Smoking grandma would rather move than quit
    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2014/04/20/smoking-grandma-rather-move-quit/7951293/

    There is no scientific basis to such bans. They are spiteful bans. They are cruel bans. They are the latest phase in the antismoking bigotry bandwagon. And terrorizing the elderly/disabled is well within the scope of the antismoking miscreants in chasing their deranged smokefree “utopia”.

    In some cases the ban is not only for apartments but for the entire premises. The elderly have to walk through large outdoor areas and onto a surrounding street to have a cigarette. This information should be spread far and wide as to what antismokers and their useful idiots are doing in the name of nonsmokers.

    • Magnetic, MANY thanks for gathering these into one place! They make a powerful statement, particularly considering that there are probably AT LEAST ten such events for every one that makes it into the news, AND that there are probably many that made it into the news that you simply haven’t been aware of.

      – MJM

    • Marie says:

      They are really EVIL people.

  4. magnetic01 says:

    Frank, have a comment in moderation. Thanks.

  5. Whatever happened to tolerance and respect for diversity? (lifestyle and choice, not the band.)

  6. waltc says:

    Of course, this is mass hysteria induced by propaganda. The Aunts will smell smoke, even when it’s not there, and will, like the rabbi, get panic attacks triggered by their own imaginations. So it won’t surprise me if the manager smells it at the next inspection, too. My heart goes out to Judy and I wind up thinking, as most of us likely do, “there but for the grace of God…”

    I have only one concrete suggestion: If she’s not kosher, she should cook (and perhaps burn) some bacon just before the next inspection. Not only does bacon in the air trump tobacco– overpower the odor– but she can convince them that that’s what it is they’re smelling and ask sweetly if cooking bacon is now also illegal. Not sure if a burnt kosher hotdog would have the same pungence but..worth a shot. Or how about burning a votive (yartsite) candle?

    That aside, and I can understand that it may be hard, but Judy,…speak up and get tough with your abusers. Turn the tables, assert yourself, show them that they can’t get away with it; if you don’t,. they’ll keep hurting you beCAUSE they can get away with it.

    Assuming that you volunteer to play for services, the next time the rabbi tells you you stink, leave her in a lurch; stop volunteering and quit on the spot. Show her there are consequences to HER for her behavior. Same thing with “friends.” The guy should have set his “terms” before he came so you could tell him not to come, or not to bring his daughter or made other arrangements. It’s your apartment where you set the “terms” and if you’re blindsided, as you were, tell him, not only that he should have warned you, but suggest that when you smoke that it’s he and his child who should “step outside.” My point is, unfortunately, this will keep on happening if you don’t get on top of it. Aside from which, you’ll feel much better if you do.

    Interestingly enough, Virginia, like Kentucky, is a tobacco state, but its newspapers long ago jumped on the ban wagon, the areas of VA around DC are dominated by (il)Liberals. and the Obama administration is trying to make all subsidized housing smoker free and the move to do the same with market-rate housing is clearly on the march.

    I think about “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis” and think that many of us, one day soon, may have to keep a suitcase packed in the hall and be ready to leave, if only a few days ahead of the Gestapo.

    • waltc says:

      Let me add a PS. You DO have power. A few years ago I was invited to give a (paid) lecture on a “smoke-free” campus. I declined and gave the reason. And suddenly, a smoking room was arranged.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Show her there are consequences to HER for her behavior. Same thing with “friends.”

      I fully endorse what Walt has to say. If you don’t fight back, it’ll only get worse.

      I learned that lesson the hard way back in my school days. I was a very friendly and outgoing kid, but one day I started coming under attack (mostly verbal) from fellow pupils. My initial response was to be even more friendly and outgoing than before. But the attacks only got worse, and more people joined in. And my spirit sank lower and lower. Until I finally decided, very much against my will, that I’d just have to be as nasty to them as they were to me. And that was very, very hard for me to do. But nevertheless, I set about it, and stuck to it, and gradually learned how to be really, really nasty.

      By the time I left school, I was someone who’d instantly “get his revenge in first”. .

      And then, when I arrived at university, I found myself surrounded by friendly, outgoing people again. And had to reverse the process, and re-learn how to be friendly and outgoing all over again.

      50 years on, the lessons are not forgotten. And even though I’m 66, I’m quite happy to get very, very nasty. I know I’m perfectly capable of it.

      Smokers are usually friendly, outgoing people. And so they almost always play nice. They don’t fight back. But until they do, the bullying is never going to stop.

      Take Walt’s advice. Tell the rabbi to get lost. And tell the father to look after his own frickin’ daughter. Stop helping them. Stop being so nice. After all, they’re not being nice to you.

    • XX The Aunts will smell smoke, even when it’s not there, XX

      Had one just yesterday on the local shop car park. Hand waving coughing up guts as she saw me with my pipe in my mouth.

      stupid bich, there was no even any tobacco in it! I had taken it out of my pocket to get to the change for the trolley, and where better to keep it safe than in the mouth?

      Needless to say, I pointed her mistake out to her, in my usual way, whereby she at least had the decency to go bright red.

    • Walt, well stated and I FULLY agree. “The Garden…” made quite an impression on me when I saw it as well.

      – MJM

  7. It’s this growing worldwide ban on smoking in mental hospitals which gets to me the most. I know I’ve said it before and how over 90% of the people I saw at the alcohol detox clinic I attended in 1998 were smokers.

    This fella I got to know more recently – possibly this town’s best-known alcoholic, sadly now dead from a heart attack in his mid 50s – started coming to our church and turns out he lived just around the corner from me in a B&B (where the council here often house alcoholics).

    So, he started coming round to my house almost every single day. He had nothing to do in his life, so he wandered the streets drinking, which is a crime here. Even when he was way out of the town centre having a swig from a can, he was picked up and locked in a cell for a few hours.

    Anyway, despite having a faith, he’d say “cigarettes and drink are my life,” as you could guess by his yellowish complexion and yellow fingers. As a young man he’d had an ‘accident’, the details of which I was never quite sure about, but it involved the removal of part of his brain which left him hopelessly unable to function normally.

    I’m sure what’s going to happen is that alcoholics and the mentally ill are going to stop seeking treatment because they can’t smoke in NHS establishments. I had to be in that detox clinic for about 4 hours a day (to start with) before the meds were given out. Now I see from Google street view that it’s a no-smoking hospital.

    Old people are going to hang on in desperate conditions in their own homes rather than moving into what they’ll see as a prison camp ‘rest’ home. Many will probably die sooner than they need to, like my friend, who was clearly very ill. He used to collapse on my couch, clutching his heart, looking ashen and gaunt. I don’t know if the local doctors even ‘bothered’ to have him checked out.

    He hardly ever missed a day without visiting me and he would have had to go to Dumfries, 70 miles away, for a proper assessment, which he never mentioned, so I imagine they considered him a useless eater – not a ‘viable’ recipient of NHS funds, like my 92 year-old gran, who I’ve also talked about, who was in a shocking state, despite previously being in amazingly good health.

    “It’s all in her mind,” the family was always told by GPs and at A&E, but she actually had a blood clot and that killed her after a few weeks of intense “all in her mind” misery. The local paper refused to print the story because almost exactly the same thing had happened a few months earlier. All the more reason to publish, I would have thought.

    I think it’s all a part of the greater eugenics programme to kill off the weakest.

    One of my dogs died two days ago after suffering a couple of months of dementia and the other needed a small operation and the speed at which the vets acted was very impressive, even dropping meds into the house. BTW, if you’re an agoraphobic human, chances are that you won’t even get a visit from a doctor, but the vet will come round for the dogs the same day and arrange operations for the following week. He tried everything to keep the old dog alive, rather than put her down and in the end she died at home in her bed.

    In our society, animals are treated better than smokers, the elderly and the mentally ill.

    My vet clearly has a very great empathy with his patients. How many doctors can you say that about?

    • Frank Davis says:

      Old people are going to hang on in desperate conditions in their own homes rather than moving into what they’ll see as a prison camp ‘rest’ home.

      That’s certainly going to be my attitude. I’d honestly rather die than go into one of those places.

      Sorry to hear about your dog.

    • Bellevue says:

      Maybe its because the vet is private. You have to PAY the vet, and he wants to keep your pet alive. With the NHS, doctors and co get paid whether the patient lives or dies, and in whatever circumstances (ie. freezing to death, in misery)
      Perhaps the NHS is not such a good thing after all. Give people stuff for free (!) and they will abuse it, and not appreciate it………… and allow the nannies to tell them how to live their lives.

      • Frank Davis says:

        Perhaps the NHS is not such a good thing after all

        That’s what I’ve begun to think. With nothing to keep them on their toes, they become little tyrants.

  8. nisakiman says:

    This morning I commented on an aticle in the DT on ‘How much red wine you should drink’. In my comment, I mentioned that as well as drinking red wine daily, I had also smoked for 50 years. A couple of the replies I got really exemplified how the propaganda has taken hold:

    chaswarnertoo nisakiman • 4 hours ago
    Fair comment. But if you smoke and survive your teeth and legs drop off.

    WTF? :¬)

    escoville nisakiman • 3 hours ago
    I like your attitude, but I’m afraid that for those of us who don’t smoke, you must stink. And if you’ve smoked for 50 years, you are, frankly, lucky. Most smokers don’t make it that long.

    Teeth and legs drop off? Stink? Most smokers don’t make it that long?

    Really, when people genuinely hold those (deliberately inculcated) views, it’s no wonder that people like Judy are being given shit for no reason.

    • Nisakiman, you’ve seen this, right? : bit.ly/WallOfHate

      There’s just SO much out there that people are being constantly hit with through virtually every form of media and social interaction that it’s amazing. And scary.

      :/
      MJM

    • Judy says:

      “Teeth and legs drop off? Stink? Most smokers don’t make it that long?
      Really, when people genuinely hold those (deliberately inculcated) views, it’s no wonder that people like Judy are being given shit for no reason”

      Yes, they DO believe all the anti-smoking propaganda/horror stories. The people who are giving me grief about smoking are not bad people. They’re actually extremely kindhearted people who mean well, and truly think they’re saving not only my life but, by extension, the lives of others. If their nagging and gagging hurts my feelings, well, they’re only doing it “for my own good” and for the good of everyone who does, has or will ever come in contact with me and my stinky killer cigarette smoke. They aren’t really bullies. What if I knew a really nice guy who for some reason was into smashing glass bottles, eating some of the shards, regardless of the obvious danger to his health, and hoarding the rest of the shards to hide in his hands so he could stab people – some fatally – as they passed him? I’d certainly try everything I could to get him some help. Well, that’s how the anti-smokers in my life see smokers, and, because they truly care about me, they are vigilant in their efforts to prevent me from getting (and spreading) all kinds of horrific diseases that they deeply believe (thanks to anti-smoking propaganda) only smoking can cause.

      • Marie says:

        And if you tell them, this is not true, what do they answer?

        • Judy says:

          “And if you tell them this is not true, what do they answer?”
          Well, Marie, it depends on the person.
          The building manager basically said two things – “Well, DOCTORS SAY!”, and “You want to believe The Doctors are wrong because you want to smoke.” Her mind is closed to any other point of view. And she “cares about me and the other people who live here” and “wants us all to be healthy.” (We’re seniors. Most of us aren’t particularly healthy anyway).
          The rabbi had so much to say, I don’t even remember it, but she’s impossible to debate with. And it so happens that I’m not a good debater. I’m shy, and I stumble and go blank when I try to debate or argue. WIsh I had a “smoker’s advocate” here who’s good at debating, but, alas, I don’t.
          My case manager’s mother was a smoker who died from lung cancer, so his emotions get in the way of everything related to smoking, and he’ll go on and on about how he doesn’t want to see me or anyone die in horrible pain, like his mother did.
          My friend with the 10-year-old daughter, nice guy that he is, happens to be a brilliant and expert debater, and can talk anyone into a corner. I asked him if he and his wife were perhaps overreacting when it came to not letting their daughter even SEE a cigarette, and the ensuing lecture, citing statistics, studies, etc. etc., and how he and his wife get sick at just the slightest whiff of cigarette smoke, and don’t want their kids’ health to be compromised in any way, and how he gets upset when he thinks of me harming myself with cigarettes.
          By the way – quite a few of the seniors who live in my building are now terrified of second-hand smoke. Probably it’s because they watch TV all the time and are inundated with anti-smoking propaganda. One of my friends here (a truly lovely, sweet lady) won’t visit my apartment because she’s afraid to be in an enclosed place where someone smokes or has smoked. Another of my friends here saw that I was on my way to the bench at the end of our park/walking trail, and asked if I wanted company, and then said, Oh, never mind – I’ll stay here because you’re going to smoke there.”
          Neither of these ladies are being mean or unfriendly. They’ve been propagandized into being terrified.

        • Judy, “The Lies Behind The Smoking Bans” was meant to be such a “Smokers Advocate” as one of its functions. You could print it up and then go to one of those Antis with a contrite face, saying that you’ve been thinking seriously about what what they said and that you just need to work through a few questions so that you’ll feel comfortable in knowing that you’re doing the right thing by not smoking in such areas etc etc. Just say that all you need to know is specifically what’s wrong with the information you have that has been making you think there’s no real threat from your smoking. Give them “The Lies” and ask them to take a bit of time to read it over and then explain to you where it is lying.

          You’ll be on pretty safe ground: I’ve floated that particular challenge around the net to various Antis well over a hundred times and I believe I have received actual attempts at what I ask for (I always ask for “specific, substantive criticisms.”) Neither attempt was very well-based and I believe both responders ran as soon as I showed why their criticisms were lacking.

          See: http://bit.ly/SmokingBanLies

          :)
          Michael

        • Whoops! Left out a word: “I believe I have received just TWO actual attempts at…”

        • Marie says:

          Dear Judy. That other people “want us to be healthy” has nothing to do with empathy, as I see it. They are looking entirely on the physical health, but they are ignorant about, that illnesses begin in the psychological aspect of the personality. That they can make you ill by not accepting you. I don’t think, its possible to change such people.
          I know many people who don’t like me smoking, but at least they say, thats for their own sake, their sore throat, their allergies, their children or whatever. But the result is the same. ;) I am a senior too. :)

        • Marie says:

          And when I tell them, it is not true, what they heard and read, they just answer nothing.
          I have Michael McFaddens booklet laying in my living room. On the top of it I place another book, an art book f. x. something that catch guests attention, and when I am in the kitchen, they take up the colorful book, and discover the other thing. I have also placed some printed articles there with eye-catching headlines, that they can discover ;) And they don’t have to tell me, that they read this ;)

        • Marie, wonderful idea! LOL! It’s an IED: An Improvised Educational Device!

          :)
          Michael

        • Marie says:

          Of course, Michael – I am a teacher ;) ;) :)
          And I think, when the same people have done it more times, and discovered Lies … they think, that I forgot it there, and they have at least read the headlines many times ;) So …

  9. Hmmm…. it seems to want the proper pre-code. Weird… sometimes they need them, and sometimes they don’t. http://bit.ly/WallOfHate

  10. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Perhaps it’s time to ban the banners

    TOURISM Australia has appealed to new waves of visitors for decades. Paul Hogan’s shrimp on the barbie? Lara Bingle’s saunter on the beach? Perhaps there’s a better approach that doesn’t involve beers and bikinis.

    Last week, Melbourne City councillor Richard Foster floated an idea so left field that it almost borrowed from the Kevin Costner scene in Field of Dreams. Build the bans, he said. They will come.

    True, it’s a new sell on a growing Australian past-time. We like bans so much, why not spruik them as a pioneering tourist lure, even if bans — just to give one example — were thoroughly road-tested in 1930s Germany and did not attract one extra Contiki Tour?

    The Melbourne tourist double-decker bus ride of today takes in the obvious stops, such as the MCG, Vic Market, the zoo and Lygon St. Why shouldn’t it include a drop-off at Melbourne City Council, where hordes of tourists could buzz around a framed ceremonial piece of paper?

    Their guide, some bloke called Trevor, could wear zinc cream and a Greg Chappell hat. He could open with a preamble about the 1969 moon landing. The static in transmission, he could announce, cloaked the key word in the Neil Armstrong line: “One small smoke-free step for man …”

    Trevor could then gesture to the document which outlawed smoking within the boundaries of Melbourne’s city.

    “It’s like our Magna Carta, mate,” Trevor would explain. “It’s the opposite of freedom and stuff but we’re all real proud, like. Now, who wants to murder a soy decaf latte under the World’s Biggest Coffee Mug in the smoke-free laneway district, but?”

    Foster is the worst kind of crusader, the reformed sinner. An ex-smoker, he wants to cleanse the world of smoke: in this case, the CBD. Yet it is not what he preaches that is the issue. He could just as well be the fitness freak who once porked up on fast-food, or the greenie who once lopped pristine forest. From afar, the tone of Foster’s argument sounds like this: the heathens must correct their errors of my past ways.

    His type, like a breed, lurks at all levels of power — for a time in 2013, when new media laws were mooted for the worst of reasons, such people infiltrated the highest office in the land.

    Those characters appear to replicate as readily as Agent Smith, played by Hugo Weaving in The Matrix. They spout the line that they do what they do only on our behalf, that they know what we want even if we don’t know what we want. They say that it’s for our good and they offer themselves as servants for a thankless task.

    In their hubris, such people misread the public mood. That was plain enough on Swanston St outside the council offices after 1pm on Friday. Tourists, shoppers and workers streamed past the street performers and artists. The beggars must have clocked off for lunch — so, too, the charity collectors who want to be your new best friend, but “just for one minute”.

    The perfume of fresh flowers rose from the nearby stall, mingled with the waft of a mandarin being peeled by a passing hipster. Some smoked in the crowd, but no one else seemed to notice much.

    If the smokers ought to be drawn and quartered, or at least outed, those around them showed no interest in meting out the condemnation.

    That isn’t to say their smoking was welcomed or that it is healthy. Smoking restrictions will happen in time. (As someone who has been known to enjoy a smoke, I know there is no pleasure derived from indulging near those who detest the habit.) But to suggest smoking was a grave concern in the goings-on in the street is absurd.

    Add to that apathy the self-serving nihilism of Foster’s argument. Such logic, in seeking to make the world a better place, also demands that it must also be a smaller place that befits the political bearing of those who launch the argument.

    Bans are lazy unless they are measures of last resort. They come at the price of the right to choose. The call for bans assumes that people must be corralled, much as livestock must be prodded through sale yards. Bans have become an uncomfortable reality of modern politics, which has come to nurture knee-jerk reactions and to yield to the most fickle of fashions.

    In Foster’s case, a simple truth stands above all others: whatever his motives, as a Melbourne city councillor he has no real power to do anything much at all.

    If he did, he might do something about bigger problems, such as ice epidemics or outbreaks of violence, or even the stench of urine that rises from so many street corners and laneways. Perhaps those are issues are best left to crusaders who both wield actual powers and grasp the need for mandates. Nobodies who cannot offer solutions to issues that matter ought to be steered away from microphones. They should be dissuaded from offering commentaries on social health issues.

    Indeed, Foster’s idea was itself reason enough to almost use of the dreaded “ban” word.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/perhaps-its-time-to-ban-the-banners/story-fni0fhcd-1226921284852

  11. Harleyrider1978 says:

    My internet connection is so slow Im jumping to snail mail!

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