Picture the scene: it is summertime in Scotland. A light breeze, about 22C, and I have the week off. This was around 15 years ago.
It's mid-week and I grab a newspaper from the shop and pop into the pub on the high street. It's 11 in the morning and I am the only customer. Steve, the landlord, says hello, asks after my family, and pours me a pint of Boddingtons. I pay him and slope off to the rear of the pub and take a table near the open window. With the front doors being flung wide, there is a nice through-breeze. I sit watching the door. This is a habit I cannot seem to lose. Ever since my army days I am hugely uncomfortable if I ever have to sit with my back to the main door. I will move heaven and earth to sit with my back to a wall where I can see who comes and goes. I also check out all the exits before I relax.
So there I am. A cold pint on a warm day and a newspaper in front of me. I light up a smoke, inhale deeply and watch the smoke lazily make a bid for freedom out through the open window. I am at peace with the world. No worries at home, no worries at work, and blissfully unaware of the path my life will take some 14 years into the future.
Twenty minutes later, a guy walks into the bar. He is around 40, balding, soggy in the middle but not obese, glasses, sweaty forehead, wearing jeans, trainers and a black t-shirt. He orders a Coke. I am reading my paper but I hear him muttering under his breath. I can't make out what he is saying but I am finding it distracting. I look up and I catch his glare. That seemed to be his invitation to come over to talk to me.
He is stood in front of my table, looking down at me. He stares just long enough for me to get ready for...whatever comes next.
He starts: "That's a filthy habit you've got there".
Me: "Really? Well, worry not. It doesn't affect you".
Him: "It's fucking disgusting. I hate smokers".
Me: "Look, why don't you go back to your Coke and leave me be?"
Him, voice rising, (Steve looks over, with his eyebrows raised, I nod back, silently telling him I have it under control), "No, I fucking won't! It's high time we normal people stood up to you filthy bastards! The damage you do is far-reaching! You are making us suffer!"
I stand up. This has gone far enough for me. "Listen fuckhead, either piss off back to your place at the bar or I will get violent. I will end you." (This was delivered in a quiet tone, relaxed, but deadly sounding).
Him: "Filthy bastard!". And off he goes. He takes a quick swig of his drink and with one final sneer at me, he leaves. Steve looks at me, shakes his head and apologises. "Not your fault mate, " says I, "Nutters everywhere".
I finish my pint, order another, do the crossword, and head home.
And that would normally be the end of the story. Just a brief altercation with an intolerant, foul-mouthed anti-smoker. Contrary to popular belief, they are very rare these anti-smokers. This one, and the fat lady I wrote about yesterday, are the only two I have ever met, face to face. Which is remarkable really. I have been smoking for 37 years and only met two.
Anyway, fast forward 3 months. I'm up early as I am heading to the heliport in Dyce (Aberdeen) for a 9 am check-in. I am having coffee and toast when the Press & Journal pops through the letter-box. And right there on the front page is my pal the sneering anti-smoker. The headline is "Paedophile Sentenced To 15 Years".
Marvellous. This depraved animal that snarled at me three months earlier had been molesting children since he was a teenager. He ruined 30 lives. He sentenced 30 children to a lifetime of nightmares. A nasty, nasty creature. I hope they beat the living shit out of him every day that he was in gaol. He'll be out now. If he approaches you while you are smoking you will know it's him: he cannot control his spittle and his face goes purple when he rants. Do yourself, and the wider world, a favour: kick him swiftly in the bollocks.
While I was calming down in the pub, three months earlier, I had felt slightly ashamed. I even berated myself for my lack of care for my fellow humans. I will never forgive that twat for making me feel sorry for him.
What bothers me is that he was under investigation at the time we met. He knew he had been abusing children for twenty years yet still chose to call me a filthy bastard. How he could justify (in his sick and twisted mind) that his actions were fine, but I, smoking a cigarette, was a filthy bastard, is beyond my understanding.
Now, of course, I know more about smoking and second hand smoke than my GP and almost any anti-smoking scientist (more accurately, epidemiologist) that you could put in front of me. I know that almost all of the original 78 studies on second hand smoke are statistically meaningless. I know that all the pictures on cigarette packets are faked. I know that everything ASH says is a fabrication, or at best, a gross distortion.
Actually, if I applied their logic, I can state, without fear of contradiction, that 100% of the anti-smokers I have interacted with, are morbidly obese or they are paedophiles. (Just for the record: there is a world of difference between non smokers and anti-smokers. In my experience I have found the overwhelming majority of non smokers to be very tolerant. And for that, you have my heartfelt thanks).
Oh, I do have a third story. I was staying overnight in a Luton hotel (near the airport) and in the evening I went down for a pint and a smoke in the bar. I had been there for ten minutes or so when a fat lady sat down at the next table with her husband. "Do you have to smoke that here?", she asked. "Yes", I said, "Yes I do". She (an American) said, "Well, I don't like it. I don't think it's fair. Why should I put up with it?". Her husband rolled his eyes upwards when I said "You don't have to, love. You can simply move over there to the non smoking section". Without so much as an apology she shifted her not inconsiderable arse to the non smoking area. Her husband looked at me and shrugged.
What a world, eh?
What ever happened to respect and knowledge?
You do tell a good tale Captain and when you think about it who would a publican rather have in his pub, a regular who orders a couple of pints, keeps him in business as steady custom, sits in the corner, is polite, friendly and minds his own business, or another, who pops in for a coca cola and instantly starts up an argument with another, who happens to be the person keeping him in business?
It's sickening quite frankly. The paedophile was a twist, but then in life you tend to find that the hate people put out is a mere reflection within themselves.
Anti smokers, are fascists. They are the anti racist racists, the bigoted bigots. This is reality, but times will change and people will get their smoking in pubs back, that or politicians adorning whitehall, hanging from lampposts.
People have had enough. I can't really say I'm a smoker as I have one very rarely if out for a pint, but I'd never dream of ruining another's peace. And to finish, I miss the smell and serenity of pipe smoke. It used to tell alot about a person.
I have never met a pipe-smoker that I didn't like. Instantly. They are, without fail, amongst the most interesting group of people I have ever spent time with.
I smoked a pipe, briefly, when I was about nineteen. My mates took the piss so much that I caved in and went back on the fags.
I will return to the pipe. It is a lovely, and less offensive way to smoke, I think. Even now, certain pipe aromas conjure memories of those happy, happy days back in the sixties/seventies with my grandad, begging him to give us all another sweet and to tell us another of his endless supply of stories. Those were great days.
Great days indeed.
Maybe there's a chance of people going back to the old pinch of snuff? Miners used to use it underground, where lighting up could cause an explosion. And - ahem - it's not that bad! Menthol, cherry, a dozen dozen different kinds and flavours. No tax on snuff either, and harmless to the lungs.
Re: the unsavoury character who accosted you in the pub, the only person I ever met who tried to play the racial/religious intolerance card at work turned out to be one of that species of swine. Makes you think.
I don't know what's wrong with me, CR. Your description of the confrontation in the pub actually brought tears to my eyes to think how low we've fallen. Next stop: outside or court. We must end it somehow.
Tried snuff. Did nothing for me.
Tried those snus as well. Tiny tea-bags full of tobacco. Not impressed.
The only method I haven't tried, and I have no desire to, is chewing tobacco. I have watched far too many guys in bars in Texas and Louisiana spitting away. Not very pleasant to witness.
Still, to each his own.
"..Your description of the confrontation in the pub actually brought tears to my eyes.."
Well I can say that had I been in the pub with Captain, I'd very probably have brought tears to the eyes of the fascist fuck who decided to impose upon our enjoyment.
In the past, shits like he would be lying on their backs with their jaw in pieces.
I hadn't meant to upset.
But you have a point: I think that most dyed-in-the-wool antis would probably rate us lower than paedo's.
I know that the Scots smoking ban* has at least six major faults. I was told that by a specialist judicial review QC. Trouble is, to hire him and get the ban overturned here would cost somewhere in the region of £300,000.
Justice ain't cheap.
* Point to note: the Scottish ban was based on the Irish ban, and the English/Welsh/NornIrish ban was based on the Scottish legislation so that tells me that they are all flawed.
Another top anecdote, Cap'n. It's true that there is something base about anti-smokers, I've written articles at the F2C blog calling it a mental imbalance and I don't think that's far from the truth.
Which reminds me, people have been asking where the 'psycho antis' link has gone on my sidebar. There was a reason for taking it down temporarily, but it's needed as the frenzied hate of rantis never stops.
Enough of this Sunday lazing then. ;)
I'm a non drinker and non smoker, but have purchased more alcohol that I care to admit to for others, and have never had problem with smokers. I'll quite happily sit with people smoking. Never bothered me. If people come to mine and want to smoke I have no problem with that either. Open a few windows and let the breeze in, not an issue.
I've never understood the rabid anti smoker mentality. It certainly seems more like a mental affliction than just a lifestyle choice.
"politicians adorning whitehall, hanging from lampposts."
What a lovely thought on a Sunday as I sit here with my ham filled crusty rolls and pot of Assam tea. Oh, and my cigarette that I shall have afterwards. Sheer bliss!
Harbinger - I hope you live in N London. I may have need of you.
FH - I love your soh.
We are decent human beings!
As a pipe smoker of over 40 years, I can testify to how interesting we are. Sadly though, I can no longer meet with my friend of 20 years also a pipe smoker, because of the spiteful ban which has destroyed our social lives.
We briefly kept in touch by phone, each call becoming less frequent than the one before, now my phone has been silent for almost two years. What’s the point if you can’t meet face to face…and neither of us were ever going to stand outside in all weathers like social pariahs.
Anyway Ranty, you mention those pictures on cigarette packets being fake…please explain…or even do a post on them. I’m asking so that I can add another tool to my ever burgeoning kit, which includes well rehearsed set arguments. For instance, the picture which shows a pair of lungs with cancer…well there’s a problem with this photo, you see the cancerous tissue is on the outside of the lung, and smoke or air do not get to the outside of the lung, so how does smoking cause lung cancer? I’ve asked health bodies such as, the DOH, BHF, ASH UK, ASH Scotland and of course CRUK, this simple question.
'What is the biological sequence of events when inhaling smoke from a cigarette, cigar or pipe that mutate health lung tissue into cancerous tissue?' I have never had an explanation from any of them.
Incidentally, a recent documentary has shown that a certain type of breast cancer, and another type of stomach cancer are caused by rogue genes. In other words genetics has played a major part in the development of cancer. In which case I wonder how long it will be before they find a rogue gene responsible for lung cancer.
We can still smoke in pubs/restaurants here in Andalucia. Nobody says a word. The atmosphere in my local is great, I love the freedom. We can even smoke pot and if you get hassled, it's only because they want you to pass it along.
It's supposed to be illegal here at the end of the year. They're already saying they're going to ignore it.
I just had to comment on this post CR as it hit a couple of nerves in my Sunday night drunken thoughts.
Up till the UK ban in 2007 I never knew that some people were so averse to smokers that they wanted to see us outcasted and denormalised. In my forty odd years of smoking I've never met an anti smoker that chided me in my downtime, having a pint or smoking indoors. Oh yes, my bro in laws made little remarks like "what's the definition of a smoker? A light at one end and a fool on the other"..boom boom, I think not. (They used to smoke in their youth but gave it up, get where I'm coming from?)
As you know I, like you, was in the army and smoking and drinking was our way of letting off steam in our 'downtime.'
I was aware of the New York smoking ban in the nineties but did my usual 'sink estate' thing and shouted at the TV screen thinking that it would never happen here, what a fool I was then eh. It was only after the smoking ban here in the UK was definitely on the cards that I got pro active in the anti ban movement and Freedom2Choose in particular. Since then I have become stunned by the anti smoking vitriol and I fully endorse Dick Puddlecote's psycho anti catalogue, apathetic smokers need to know how they are regarded by the person standing next to them.
Your interuption by a rabid anti smoker, never mind that he was a peado at the time, brought back a marvelous retort by my 'nick' namesake, Sir Billy Connelly, well I call him sir more than I'd call those ejits in the upper house here in the UK!
JJ I've always loved the smell of pipe tobacco, used to get on our lift and it smelled like heaven...but now, as I am not allowed to smoke outside my front door in these flats, the lift smells of stale piss and sweaty fuckers. Like CR I tried to smoke a pipe in my youth but I had the piss taking out of me, tried again lately and can only smoke it now and again, I am just love my cigarettes too much, damn it!
Right, have had my last Brandy and Coke and about to have my last cig of the night. Sorry CR for my over long comment, I blame the booze myself...or is it the tobacco???
Likewise, I have met plenty of non-smokers and Ex-smokers but never once an Anti-smoker.
Regarding the photos on tab packets, the one with the awful set of teeth is definitely a fake. When it was first used the teeth weren't even nicotine stained (I know calling it a nicotine stain is a misnomer, but colloquially acceptable), the stains being photoshopped on afterwards. The biggest giveaway, however, is the fact that the teeth in the picture are milk teeth, making it a photo of a child's mouth, and the damage shown bears no relation to smoking, but does suggest a rather sugary diet.
Still, why let the facts get in the way of a decent bit of fascistic mollycoddling?
When will people get the heck off us smokers backs?!?!?!?!?
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