Light ‘ em up | AspenTimes.com

Light ‘ em up

Paul E. Anna
Aspen, CO Colorado

So with 2,344,769 heavy truck trips sched­uled during the pre-construction phase of the “new” Snowmass, the council over there decides that their No. 1 health priority is restricting the people’s right to smoke?

To borrow a phrase from the late Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is going on out there?”

I’m not even a smoker and I feel like a group, a gang, is trying to rein me in. Trying to tell me what I can and cannot do under God’s bright blue sky. I have friends who smoke, and when asked, they move to the other side of the field. I don’t have to tell them what to do. But given the dictatorial nature of the new ordi­nance, I would happily support anyone who, in a show of defiance, decided to fly their freak flag high by lighting up in the middle of the Snowmass Mall.

As I said, I don’t smoke ” a personal deci­sion ” but I like a lot of things about the smoking culture and consider them to be a part of our American culture. Bogie and Bacall come to mind. I guess they won’t be invited to share a lift with the wise councilmen. They wouldn’t even have been welcome two or three chairs ahead if the more authoritarian members of the Snowmass council had gotten their way.

Then there are cigarette breaks. Millions of Americans and people around the world have relished the time they take to stop and slow down and take a pull on their Camels. It may not work for you, or the members of the coun­cil, but for those who look forward to their soli­tary moments of contemplation, just them and their sticks, more power to them. Hey, whatev­er gets you through the day, I say.

I like the lighters that are part and parcel of the smoking experience. Even though we have gone into the realm of the safety lighter with their kidproof (like kids can’t figure ’em out, yeah right) devices that make it harder and harder to get a good flame on a streaking six­pack chair. But great lighters with logos and jewels are fun to see and fun to light. They are part of that smoking culture.

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And there are the packages themselves. I particularly like the American Spirit packs with the Indian smoking the peace pipe, and Gauloises, the French cigs that always remind me of whiling away a summer afternoon at a Parisian cafe while reading Le Monde from cover to cover. As I said, I don’t smoke (and I don’t read French), but the fantasy is one I enjoy.

But the Snowmass Life Style Regiment thinks they have a better idea of what I should and should not do. I appreciate that smoking causes incomparable health problems and that it is, to some people, a heinous act. But I don’t consider it the role of government to protect me from myself. Smoking is still legal and a lot of people do it, for better or worse. Keep your eye on the ball, council, there are other issues that should be in your wheelhouse. We’ll take care of ourselves, thank you.

Watch out for the trucks.

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