Saturday, May 12, 2007

Stay Off The Roads Come January

On May 1, 2007, Illinois has successfully passed a bill that will prohibit all smoking inside any business establishment beginning January 1, 2008. This includes all restaurants, clubs, and bars.

Of course this has smokers throwing a fit over their perceived persecution because they say it violates their civil rights. Somehow I fail to see the connection between smoking and civil rights. These people treat smoking as if it were something they have to do, as if they slipped out of the birth canal with cigarette in hand. Sorry, but smoking is something you choose, not an affliction you're born with. Unless, of course, your mother smoked when she was carrying you, in which case: Ha-ha, your mother was a loser. If it's that big of a deal, you can always quit, which is healthier for you anyway, but God forbid you put yourself through any more of a hassle than you believe you deserve.

Yes, it is non-smoker's God-given right to breathe air that's not polluted with carcinogenic chemicals. However, I don't think the legislators have properly weighed some very important factors concerning their proposal. I think the primary factor is the tenacity of the average hedonistic proletarian. I don't think they really see the less fortunate, in the way that they could really comprehend them. I think they acknowledge that certain people exist who live so close to the poverty line that the only things they have to cherish are their vices, and I think they honestly think they're doing their best to protect these people from themselves, but I don't think they really understand these people. I think they have a tendency to look right over them. I don't. I observe them. I attempt to understand them. In doing so, I have garnered a little bit of insight into their psyche.

You see, these people crave. They desire; they want; they need. They demand it their way and they demand it right now. Their suppressed intellectualism has given way to a beligerent sense of entitlement. If they want their booze, not a whole lot will stop them, bordering on and sometimes encroaching into criminal behavior. If they feel they're entitled to smoke with their booze, then goddammit, they will smoke with their booze. If they can't do it at a bar, then they will do it somewhere they can smoke with their booze...

Critics of the bill cite that the ban will ultimately hurt local businesses such as bars, pubs, and clubs where smoking is pretty much a staple. Unfortunately, the statistics back up their claims, as most polls show over fifty percent of people saying that they will no longer patronize drinking establishments if they can't smoke. Really I don't see the point anyway. I mean, I have been to a few bars in my time, believe it or not, and despite the fact that I am absolutely unwilling to associate with any inebriated individual whose breath smells like an asshole full of piss beer and peanuts forces me to fervently watch the television without sound, (seriously one time I watched all of the movie Go with no sound), I have duly noted that if there's one thing you can expect to find in bars besides alcoholics is the thick, dull haze of tobacco smoke. People who go to bars should expect to breathe enough second-hand smoke to get a nicotine contact high from it, and anyone who doesn't expect it is probably too stupid to go to a bar anyway, and that's saying a lot. Just like smokers make the choice to smoke, non-smokers should know what to expect when they make the choice to go to a bar, and if they don't like it, then they could probably do well enough to invest themselves in a new hobby anyway.

One fear that I'm not sure that the legislature has fully considered, because politicians never consider either the big picture or any possibilities that directly detract from their positions on topics, is what might happen if a ban on smoking were to cause alcohol-centered establishments to suddenly drop over fifty percent in business. I'm not talking about the financial fallout here, either. I'm thinking specifically of an increased safety risk.

People will want to smoke when they drink, and they will drink where they're allowed to smoke, which means essentially at home. So they will drive to the store, where it's cheaper, to buy a case or two of beer, then take it home and drink it with their friends. Later on, they will decide they need more alcohol, and they will drive to a store to buy more, after they've already been downing more beers than they likely need. Why not? There will be no bartender to cut them off or collect their car keys. The only people making the decision on how much alcohol is too much will be the people whose judgment is directly impaired through continued alcohol consumption.

So, um, yeah, try to stay off the roads between 10 PM and 3 AM come January 1, 2008 if you live in Illinois.

np: Aerosmith - "Beyond Beautiful"


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