Generally speaking, I am almost always irritated by one thing or another. Double wide strollers taking up the whole sidewalk (and the fact that really, there are a few too many babies in the city these days, don't you think?), Crocs, the "comedy stylings" of Dane Cook, overly smug business school commercials, adults who find themselves adorable... these are just a few among the myriad things that annoy me. I'm a curmudgeon, I admit it. However, I have never gone so far as to spend a major portion of my life trying to get these things outlawed. Why? Because, well- I'm sure that there are quite a few things I do that annoy the crap out of others. In fact, I'm quite sure of it: I'm a smoker.
Yesterday, Governer Blagojevitch signed the Smoking Ban- which will make it illegal, starting in December, to have a cigarette in a bar. Another thing that will annoy me. Honestly, though- the thing that really drove me up the wall- was not so much the smoking ban itself, but all the dramatic descriptions in articles of "anti-smoking activists" hugging eachother and crying. The descriptions of how they have been working for years to get this ban in place.
And why is that the thing that really annoys me?
In a country where, at this very moment, we are currently stuck in an unjustified, and unending war in Iraq (4,000 American soldiers, and 8,000 Iraqi civilians), nearly a million people are homeless (40% of them families with children source and 200,000 of them in the Chicago area each year), 50 million people are without health insurance (and 18,000 will die each year because of that), and the Government currently thinks that torture sure is a swell idea (Guantanamo, The School of The Americas)... In a world where there are 3.9 million people dying of AIDS, where 6 year old children work 12 hour days just so you can have an ugly shirt from The Gap, where young girls are working in brothels, where actual SLAVES are mining your diamond engagement ring and harvesting your cocoa and coffee beans, where there is genocide in Darfur and Tibet, and a million other places that don't happen to have a healthy supply of oil, and all the other horrible things going on that I just don't have the time to name here.... the thing that bothers these people the most is that I, a 26 year old adult, could go into a bar- a place which is not only completely optional to go to, but allows only those 21 and over to enter- and smoke a friggin' cigarette.
This is why you, my anti-smoking friends, are myopic asshats. I am literally appalled by the fact that, with all the problems in the world, this is the one you waste your time with.
I've never really quite understood why people give a shit about what other people do when they're not present. I don't understand bans on gay marriage, or on sex toys (or acts)- because, well- if the participants are willing, and you're not there when it happens, and you have the option of avoiding the circumstance entirely, I just don't see why it matters to you. I guess some people just can't sleep at night knowing that someone, somewhere, is having a good time.