In which cigarettes are explained for our hero, but nothing is learned.
Anise smokes cigarettes.
“I don’t get cigarettes,” he said as they lay in her bed and she smoked into her fans. Anise’s roommate, Laura, had a psychosomatic cough whenever she smelt smoke. “Why should I have to get out of bed and fucking go awkwardly strain my head out of the window just so Laura doesn’t have nightmares about secondhand smoke cancer. Fuck that.” Instead, Anise set up an elaborate system of fans to blow the smoke into each other so that, theoretically, it would eventually go out the window. This didn’t work, but Anise, who couldn’t smell the difference, believed it did.
“What exactly is there to get?”
“Well, why anyone smokes cigarettes anymore. With cancer and all that.”
“Everything gives you cancer.”
“Who knows? It’s something I started doing as a kid and something I continue doing as an adult. There’s nothing more to really get.”
“Why don’t you quit then?”
“I like cigarettes. They’re very…cool”
“How is cancer cool?’”
“Cancer isn’t cool.”
“But cigarettes cause cancer.”
“Yeah, but that makes them cool.”
“But if cigarettes cause cancer, and cancer isn’t cool, then cigarettes can’t be cool.”
She thought about this for a second and took another drag from her cigarette.
“No, disagree completely threre. Cancer, like being in the hospital on chemo with tubes going in and out of your butt, is very not cool. But doing something cancer-causing is cool.”
“That makes no sense.”
“Well, so, like, in the 20’s and 30’s and 50’s and whenever, everyone smoked and it was something everyone did. It wasn’t cool, it just was. Like, maybe there were cool brands and maybe cool people smoked those brands and not cool people smoked other brands, but pretty much everyone smoked something and it was pretty normal. If it’s normal it’s not really all that cool.
“But since then smoking has become this thing that most people don’t really do because it’s addictive and cancerous and whatever. And most of the people who do smoke hate themselves for smoking. Like, seriously everyone I know who smokes is trying to quit and constantly, fucking, complaining about all cigarettes they smoke. This, I admit, is not cool. It’s whiny and fucking irritating to listen to.
“Smoking, though, is undeniably cool and it’s cool in a way that’s beyond just the visual of it being cool, like in movies and ads and whatever. What makes smoking cool nowadays are the people, like yours truly, who know smoking is going to kill them and fuck up their teeth and their looks and whatever, and still decide, consciously decide, without any guilt, to keep smoking. The way I see it is that every cigarette I smoke is a big fuck you to life. And saying a whole hearted fuck you to life is as cool as it gets.”
“You realize how dumb that sounds.”
“Well, whatever, man. I don’t invite you over at 2 A.M. for your opinions.”
They had sex again and he went home.
Image Source: Classic Film via Flickr Commons