Friday, November 16, 2007

In a Mood to Rant...

Yesterday was the day I used to increase my cigarette consumption by half, in order to compensate for those folks participating in The Great American Smoke-Out. This commemoration, or whatever you want to call it, still irritates the Living Hell out of me for some strange and unknown reason. Perhaps it’s my abhorrence of being coerced, how ever well-meaning and kindly the coercion may be, or perhaps it’s my fundamental problem with authority (a life-long affliction), or maybe it’s my contempt for do-gooders of any/all persuasion(s). Whatever. I still have vivid memories of wanting to do violence on those “friends” who would pointedly remind me… as I lit up… “Don’t you know today’s the GAS?” Why, NO! No, I didn’t! And, golly-gosh, let me put this out right now… in your ear. Now, please. Just go away.

The very idea of the Great American Smoke-Out strikes me as ludicrous. Quitting smoking is hard…just ask anyone who’s done it six, eight, or 26 times. What gives any intelligent person reason to believe giving it up for a single day is going to have any effect? Enquiring minds wanna know.

(And by the way…while I’m ranting… I always intentionally misspell “inquiring” as a tip o’ the hat to the National Enquirer. Just wanted you to know, Gentle Reader.)

Semi-related to the above: Don’t you dare steward me,” in today’s Times (UK) Excerpt:

The illiberal liberals even wheel on J.S.Mill to support coercion. The summary claims that Mill's “classic harm principle” (I thought his classic principle was liberty, but still), backs state intervention “where an individual's actions affect others”. It is hard to think of any non-hermit who does not “affect others”. In fact, what Mill said in On Liberty - quoted in the full report - was that to justify compulsion, an individual's conduct “must be calculated to produce evil to someone else”. It seems that the definition of calculated evil is now to smoke in your living room, feed your family burgers or drink more than a couple of glasses of wine.

Emphasis mine. It’s really hard to tell who’s ahead in the Nanny Sweepstakes…the Brits or us. In either case, a substantial number of people in both countries think “government is the answer,” in the form of more and (ahem) better laws to fix whatever it is that ails us, including quite a lot that doesn’t ail us at all…it, however you wish to define “it,” simply offends the sensibilities of right-thinking people. Ergo: make it illegal. Or tax it. And tax it some more. But sometimes that won’t fly. And if something doesn’t fly, well then…be outraged. Coz it’s for the children.

Aiiieee. My head hurts… and it’s a self-inflicted wound.

This is sorta amusing: Mom and Dad and All Their Baggage. If you think I’m damning the article with faint praise, well…you’re right. There aren’t any LOL moments in this article and, given the subject… which is “what happens when parents come for an extended stay with their adult children,” there should be at least one, if not three or four. I link it not for the writing, but for the simple fact the article might fire off some complimentary synapses of your own. The most interesting thing (to me) about the article is the road not taken. In this case, the article simply touches on something that could/should have received more discussion, that being the “control” issue, or what happens when your child grows up and is no longer actually a child, even though you, as parent, may still see him or her that way. As I said: this was just touched upon, not explored.

I have a few war stories in that space and actually began writing about one of them. And then I deleted 15 minutes worth of fast ‘n’ furious typing. No need to air dirty laundry; the past is past. Even if that past is somewhat amusing and droll. Those stories concerned interactions with my in-laws, The Second Mrs. Pennington’s parents, who came for extended visits with us each and every year of the three years we lived in London. Time (over 25 years of it) has diminished a lot of the angst I used to carry about those visits, but not all. But…I’ll leave it at that. Let’s just characterize those visits as “stressful.”

I hope I’m not causing similar feelings in my daughters-in-law. I’m pretty sensitive about that… based on past experience, and all.


  1. No day, or act of congress can make someone quit a habit, good or bad...

    I have just had my mother-in-law living with us during her recovering and she was pretty easy to deal with, if it would have been my mother you would be reading about me in the papers...

  2. I can tell you that Alisa and I are looking forward to your visit... lots of plans on the schedule during your visit, one of which is some time playing a little pool.

  3. Smoke Em' if you got em' Buck...I plan of firing a nice smooth torpedo up after Ohio State whips Michigan tomorrow.....

  4. Sally and I briefly discussed personal, gummint and social coercions and we both agreed that its makes us more annoyed and defiant with each new flogging.

  5. Shelly: LOL! I'm glad you didn't make the news...

    Sam: I'm ready for it!

    Pat: And what are you gonna do when you LOSE?

    Lin: I'm built the same way you and Sally are. I just hate it when I'm told I have (or should) do something/anything.

  6. Both sets of parents on both our sides are long since gone. My mother-in-law hated me. I'm saying nothing (but guess who got her diamonds? Tee-hee)!

    I quit smoking for twelve years, but restarted a couple of years ago. Sod it, I enjoy it..

  7. I quit smoking for twelve years, but restarted a couple of years ago. Sod it, I enjoy it..

    Dang, Carol... I could have gone ALL day without hearing that! Mainly coz I used to say the same exact thing!! And meant it, too. :-)

  8. Buck, that cigar with a couple of nice Mick Darks was nice....gotta admit it though, that game was boring, looked like the games between Woody and Bo back in the mid 70s.

  9. The problem Buck is not just the Times. Add to that the Home and Garden section and you have a recipe for disaster and total self interest. Conclusion? Subscribe to a funnier paper like the Enquirer (I see you respect them).
    Michigan State won.
    Central Michigan won.
    Michigan lost.
    Michigan coach is retiring.
    We need a smoke and little Jack.
    I quit twice. But I liked the things so much I'm back to them again.

  10. Pat: Agreed on the game, as noted elsewhere.

    Catmoves: Re: I quit twice. But I liked the things so much I'm back to them again.

    I've quit at least seven times over the past 40+ years. This time I'm nearly 11 months into it and am going to make it stick. I like 'em, too. Problem is they don't like me. My breathing capacity has been ruined, and I have to keep reminding myself that's the reason I have to stay off the damned things. But, yeah...I miss it.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.