Matt, you've obviously not spent much time in England. In this country we have jillions of pseudo-Brit pubs, some of which get the look right. But none of them have ever reproduced their lovely smell. A good pub has a cloudy fug made up of beer, furniture polish, a whiff urine (from the gent's trough out back), wet dog fur and of course of smoke from ciggies (theirs smell a little different from ours) and the occasional pipe. It's warm and welcoming, one quickly learns to love iI haven't been over the Pond in years, but I still can close my eyes and remember itt. In fact, one of the nicest features of the UK is that it smells great, their bus fumes even smell better than ours.

In our country, the closest equivalent was perhaps the smell of the bar car on the local express from Grand Central up to Bronxville, chock full of smoke and booze fumes as many weary businessmen congregated to down a couple of quick bracers before being able to face the wife and kids. Again it was warm, friendly and embracing. Give the the choice of such venues or being healthy, I'd cheerfully opt for the former. But at least in this country the bastards have taken the choice away from me. And yet we have the gnids to call ourselves the land of the free? Not so, comrade.

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You are entitled to your opinion but not facts.

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Oh, the lovely days of smoking, wing window open to flick ashes out, rolling the cigarette around in ashtray to keep it tidy and ashless. Fiddling with your lighter. Eating out at a restaurant and that delightful post prandial light-up. Ah, the olden days.

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Before iPhones eradicated boredom (or the old-fashioned kind of boredom), cigarettes did the same thing -- but much more elegantly. Say you got to the bar early and were waiting on a friend. Nothing better than smoking a cigarette, your drink in front of you, a couple of wry words with the bartender, and staring off into space through a veil of smoke. As you noted, there was a ritual to it: pulling the cigarette from the pack, tapping it on the filter end to pack down the tobacco, lighting it with a flaring match, your hand cupped around the flame although there was no wind, shaking out the match, and then taking that first, long inhale -- holding, savoring it, and then blowing the smoke out through your nostrils.

I quit smoking on December 31, 1997. If I make it to 95, I'm going to take it back up again.

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You had me at the Matts. Sometimes I open these and kid myself into thinking I'm just going to skim cuz I am so damn busy in retirement but I can't seem to tear myself away. I wish you had written my statistics books.

Yes, smoking. I was a performative smoker. Never smoked when I was alone in my shabby little studio apartment but out and about, I was as cool as Bacall sitting across from Bogie. A brief flitation with Kools because, you know, cool but finally gave into Marlboros. No lady cigarettes like Virginia Slims for me. The trouble was, they made me nauseous. So I quit. Two days later, someone in a bar offered me a cigarette and I said 'No, I quit.' They asked how long and I said 'Thursday' and everybody laughed. But it took. Have not smoked tobacco since.

I want to offer you a happy COVID story. I got it in April, no issues. My son got it two weeks ago which meant his 1-year-old, June, could not go to daycare for ten days. He and his wife both work from home so that meant they would be wrangling a very busy little girl while in Zoom meetings.

So I did what any layabout grandparent would do. I packed up for a ten-day stay with the sweetest little girl east of the Mississippi. I'm not gonna lie. She had me jumping. I am far more spry today than I was before our daycare-cation. (Thank you, Aleve.) But what are you going to do when she's about to roll off the couch or poke the dog's eye out?

That's not the good part. The best thing is she and I are real buddies now, not the obligatory 'hug Mimi goodbye, June.' We are pals. I even taught her a new word . . . 'Uh-oh.' I know she won't remember but as Joaquin Phoenix says in 'C'mon, C'mon,' I will and I will remind her.

Bonus benefit. My son and daughter-in-law did not get sick of me. As a matter of fact, they cherished the ten days together.

So, thanks COVID, you crappy little virus. You gifted us in a way we couldn't have imagined but will never forget.

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I wasn’t even going to read this evil post. But then I remembered that I used to smoke myself, and I rarely cared about people smoking around me. I once worked in a very crowded office space with a young man who lit one cigarette off the previous one. I estimate three packs a day. And I had an uncle who smoked unfiltered Camels. Didn’t bother me. I’m super lucky because I’m immune to nicotine addiction (don’t ask me why). I could pick it up today for a few months, and it would end the way it always has, I say to me: let’s ditch the cigarettes. Then I move on without skipping a beat, no withdrawal issues whatsoever.

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Hi Matt, loved this one a lot

First of all, wish all your household a speedy recovery

I have somehow managed to not get Covid, even when my roomie and my boss, the two people I spend the most enclosed time with both got it, one last Christmas, one the next week at New year's...I am double vaxxed and now double boosted...but , not sure that is why, or the only reason

I never had measles or chicken pox, and all my siblings did, I rarely get colds or flus...I didn't even get a sore arm from the shots...let alone any other symptoms, I never bothered testing because of this and because I pretty much don't come into contact with many people these days...if I did get it at any point, I was symptomless...I am prone to occasional bronchitis since I was an infant

I wonder if there is some hereditary thing going on..both my maternal grandparents died at 94, my grandfather didn't smoke, but, my grandmother did...up until she died pretty much, and had no lung or heart issues...she actually died of something that could have been avoided and was kinda dumb in a way...my mom will be 84 in November...she still smokes, but, not nearly as much, a few cigarettes a day maybe, she doesn't have lung cancer, but, does have some breathing issues...I think at her age she figures it just doesn't matter anymore, and I get the feeling that she is ready to go either way

The women in my family are pretty tough...

My concern with getting it has more to due with I am high risk in a couple of ways, and still uninsured, and the last thing I need is a hospital stay , especially a prolonged one...my great nieces graduation party is next Saturday and it is outside, but I am debating wearing a mask or not going...

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I was a heavy smoker in the 60's and 70's just like it seemed everyone else was, particularly in the military. I never quit enjoying it, but it just got too darn inconvenient trying to plan your day around places where you could have a quick smoke, so on August 20 at 12 noon in 1984 my wife and I both quit cold turkey. I remember the exact date and time because it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

I'm glad I don't smoke anymore. I'm healthier, life is more convenient and I'm not spending as much money and I don't really miss it - but- if I ever saw those falling contrails from the stratosphere of those Russian missiles coming down to destroy the world, I wouldn't head to the bunker but to the Circle K to buy a half dozen cartons of Marlboro Reds and a case of Jack to meet Armageddon a happy lad.

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My Dad was a smoker. He tried lots of things to wean himself off smoking . Rolling his own. He could successfully roll and light a smoke with papers, a bag of tobacco, some spit and a match in a hurricane. When that failed he turned to corn cob pipes. One particularly windy day, wind straight in the face, his pipe gripped in his teeth, he reached around front to take the pipe in hand only to discover a red glowing ember horseshoe shaped remnant of his pipe residing there. He could not get it out of his hand fast enough to avoid being branded by his own pipe. The tobacco in the bowl was long since gone. He had been smoking the cob for awhile. I loved my Dad for many things but I hated him for smoking. All the time, everywhere except Church, the car, the house, restaurants, if he had em he smoked em and he always had em. He wreaked of cigarette smoke every day I knew him. He finally managed to quit, shortly after the last kid left home. Humans have needs. Smoking must fill some for certain people, drinking for others, responding to articles for others and on and on.

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Jun 3, 2022·edited Jun 3, 2022

While reading this, the opening lyrics of a Montgomery Gentry song (Free Fall) kept running through my head...

I slept straight through to eight a.m.

That same old lame alarm clock excuse just ain't gonna work again

I light a Marlboro for breakfast on the way out the door...

Been there, done that, back in the day when I punched the clock at two jobs 70 to 80+ hours a week for years. Sometimes figured that might kill me before I was through (the timeclocks, not the Marlboros), but no, I'm still here. For a while, I think. What's left of me anyway.

Kidding. Besides a few high-mileage aches and pains, I ain't doin' half bad, all things considered. Can actually still throw a bale of hay above my head (although not as many or as quickly as I used to), or a saddle over the back of a 16-hand horse, though climbing up into the damned thing is a bit of a challenge on occasion. And not just because I'm a bit short between the hip and the ground.

Smoking was (is) a crutch to help some of us limp along in this life. I'll admit it. But most of us are gonna lean on something, sooner or later, one way or another. And when it comes down to it these days, I'll take the guys whose crutches come chilled 6 at a time or 20 to a pack, as opposed to those who load them 20 or more to a magazine.

All day, every day. And twice on Sunday.

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I lived in California for a while in the 70s. Anti smoking sentiment was just getting started. A friend was on that bandwagon and one day while riding in her VW Beetle I noticed a sticker on the inside of her passenger door - “please step outside to smoke.” One way to avoid the need to ask!

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I loved smoking cigarettes. I did. There, I said it. I would still be smoking if it didn’t have such awful side effects like death and that gross film on the inside of your windshield. But you nailed it with the habit part. When I quit, and after the physical addiction was gone, I would still think about smoking when I reached into my inside pocket on my jacket even though the smokes were long since gone. I missed the kind of forced 5 minute break it would give me from the stresses of the day, allowing me to think and reset my brain, versus just pile driving all day long. My MIL smokes like a chimney and I can’t stand it but maybe there’s more to it than just the smoking. In the meantime I hope everyone in your abode starts to feel better Matt. And as always big thanks for the smiles, snark, and wit. PS - I’ve been tapping on the bamboo here waiting for more cilantro. Still waiting.

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I smoked for 29 years. Glad I quit 17 years ago. I have had a friggin horrible last 4 days and would love a smoke. But, I'm just going to sleep for a few hours and try to forget a stretch of bum luck...I guess I was due. I've had some real good luck for too long.

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I loved the appetizer, but the main dish really spoke to me. “Smokers are the only people it’s safe to hate” is my favorite truism. I’ve smoked unfiltered Camels since they became my brand of choice on the US Coast Guard Cutter Ivy, circa 1957. I also enjoy a Romeo y Julieta Vintage III cigar every evening. When they banned smoking from bars I discovered that solitary drinking and smoking didn’t feel right, so I eventually gave up drinking. So I’m nicotine-addicted and love the taste of tobacco. The only point in confessing to my noxious habit is to ask: now that we’ve been more or less excommunicated from society, can’t smokers just be left alone? Vapers too, since their only sin is mimicking smokers and looking like they’re enjoying themselves.

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Back in 1997, at the age of 26, I quit smoking after picking it up at 19. One day, I just didn't feel like doing it anymore.

It was one of the best decisions I ever made, but sometimes I do miss smoking "culture." A cigarette hanging out of my mouth while lining up a shot in a pool hall, staying up all night drinking and smoking with my buddies, chain smoking on a long drive to keep alert...there was something great about all that.

But I'm still glad I quit, and I almost never experience temptation to light one up again. Honestly, although I'm for tolerance as well, I can't stand being around smoking now and try to avoid situations where it's allowed.

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