On September 11th of 2001 the world changed for everyone. On September 11th of 2008 it got worse for some, but a hell of a lot better for the rest of us. On that day here in Pennsylvania a public smoking ban went into effect prohibiting smoking in restaurants, bars (both titty and otherwise) and just about anywhere else you can think of. What may surprise people who have ever read my blog before, is that I'm torn on this subject at it's base.
Obviously, as a nonsmoker, I'm happy that I don't ever have to be choked to death by the cloud drifting toward my table from the cool group of high school kids in the next section. That's a big plus. I also like the fact that I won't have to be tempted into sitting in the smoking section because it's a shorter wait anymore. I also happen to think, that if this inconvenience gets even a few people to quit it's a good thing, since there is obviously no redeeming qualities to smoking.
On the other hand, I am nervous about how easily we take people's freedoms away these days. Even after 7 1/2 years of King George VII have dulled us to the notion of personal rights, I get uneasy anytime something is taken away. I don't like being clouded in smoke anymore than the next guy, but what's next. There are already states that are trying to make people castrate their pickup trucks, what's next? I'm actually being serious here, what is next? Do they say that fat people can't wear tank tops? Do they say that ugly people aren't allowed to kiss in public? Because there are people out there who see these things as just as much of an affront as smokers. For that matter, I think people who talk on their cellphones at a volume loud enough to be heard on international space station should be forced out of restaurants too. I find them to be just as annoying as smokers, shouldn't they have to step outside too?
What's that you say? These examples don't pose a health risk like smoking does? Well, if you could feel my blood pressure at that moment Trip Wellington Esq takes a business call at Outback Steakhouse, you might think otherwise, but I'll go with that line of thought. People say that smokers had to be banished for the sake of public safety. Won't someone please think of the children, they cried. Well pardon me if I'm not to worried about the children's health, and why should I, their parents don't seem to worry too much about it. I'm sure they are only letting them eat a salad in that all new, smoke free Denny's.
In the end, the problem is the same now as it always was, and always will be. People can't handle their own shit, and want the government to do so. Most of the places that went smoke free here in the Keystone State on 9/11/08 did so happily. They didn't want people smoking in their joint anyway, but the needed uncle Sam (or in this case Uncle Ed) to say it was ok for them to do so. Of course the problem, as always, with letting this kind of thing be decided by Government is that they can never allow for creativity. Shouldn't you be able to open a smoking only establishment, with the expressed purpose of being a place smokers can go? Under the law, the answer is no.
And so, September 11th 2008 is a day that will live in emphysema... I mean infamy.