Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ballad of the eighty-year old smoker. What, no cancer? There must be something wrong with you!




You seem to have more luck in letters when you're agin' somethin' . I certainly do. What matters your reams of of perfectly composed sentences when nobody will print them?
How sweet it is when you come out in print and say flat out to some sacred cow in business or administration, "Just F*ck off. This means you!" I believe the late Prime Minister Trudeau was master of this. It was certainly the first time the expletive was used in Parliament. Certainly gets the attention of the press, and certainly of the poor unexpecting recipient.
"Mr. Speaker," wailed the dazed R. Lundrigan, the Honourable Member from Newfoundland. " Look. He is saying it again!"

This time, Pierre mouths it: "F*ck off. This means you".

"Mr. Speaker!"

It must have been sweet for the famous "Fuddle-duddle" man from Montreal...And now how sweet it was for me, a nearly failed student of Greek philosopy, where many a sage offered a coin or "cock" to the healing god Asclepius--to offer a cock to the local medical esablishment especially their virulent anti-smoking campaign. Yes, I am that nearly eighty-year old smoker, and I am pissed off. Even the cops are pissed off. You can't smoke in your car with kids in it any more. "It's driving people crazy. You can buy cigarettes, but you can't smoke them anywhere. Is this prohibition or what?" I can sense the traffic cop who stopped me going through withdawal himself, since he can't smoke in his own cruiser...Reduced to having a donut and a coffee in the car.. But no cigarette? What would be the point?

So, reduced to a far corner of the parking lot at the local hospital to have my puff while visitng a friend, I composed a letter to the editor....This is about the full extent of any revolutionary activity in Canada. The French have, long ago, weaseled out.
And...Surprise. There is still freedom of expression in this country. The Newmarket ERA printed it. There was my offer of a cock to the god of healing, to Asclepius. and his current wrongheaded anti-smoking campaign. Also to his pal David Suzuki and his spouting whales for good measure. And I caught another red-eyed MD and his own anti-cigarette campaign around here.
No paradox. Just an attack on pair o' docs.
But pride does come before a fall. Or worse. On an icome of $500,000 a year, a doc can afford to have you offed. Never mind you and your middle finger to the rich, powerful behaviour modification adepts now so prevalent in our brave new smoke-free world.

Anyway, here is what I wrote:

NO ESCAPE FROM
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

Re: Cherry or apple blend smokeless tobacco harmful, letter by Dr. David Annderson; Fend soing the right thing fro whales,but more protiection is needed column by David Suzuki; Pre-registration improves wait tmes by 75%;Chief Operating Oficer,Aug 2l

Egad. So much political correctness in the Aug. 2 paper you can hardly get a word in edgewise.
Dr. Anderson, beating his breast over the new smokeles tobacco--when are these guys going to stop? Doc Suzuki with his usual whale of a column and there's always Dan Carrierre in the paper jusifying his half mill9ion dollar income by doing something innovative and brave, such as banning smoking from all hospital properties.
A lot of trees felled for a whole whaleload of PC.

On smoking, incidences of breast and lung cancer seem to have doubled since everybody seems to have given up smoking. The holdouts, the poor IV-dragging old lades and nurses llighilnt up just off hospital property because you can't smoke anywhere near or at Southlakel
Admittedly, Southlake is among Ontario's best hospitals. It has everything--the isotopes will come--everything but common sense.
Where is the justification for a half-naked 80-year old in subzero winter cold dragging his IV stand and catheter just off the slippery hospital parking lot so he can have a puff and save his sanity?
Smoking was put on Earth so we could use it in a stressful life, but the drug companies prescribe the pill and not the grape or weed.
There is nothling wrong with generic tobacco. It can even make you well--just ask the aboriginal people.
Southlake property is now totally smoke freee...and PC enslaved. You need to be paid $400,000 a year for this foolishness?

IVAN PROKOPCHUK
Newmarket
.

19 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Did you hear of the group trying to rid the language of Gentleman's agreement and Master bedroom? Sexist you know.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

I am especially charmed by the removal of "man-hole cover" from the lexicon of public works.

Mona said...

Yea. A cigarette is much better...than a wife , so to say.A 'Real' husband will smoke even if she tells him that he should not, that it stinks, that if he smokes she will not go to bed with him. The more she insists the more he will resist: ' Go to hell, sleep elsewhere.' His cigarette is far more important than her, far more significant, because it gives him support, help, friendship, company...Thousands of things in such a small cigarette! & besides, she does not nag either!! ;)

ivan@c reativewriting.ca said...

Mona,

Thanks. Warms the cockles of this tobacco-smelling old vagabond.
Yes in this age of indeterminate longings and loneliness, there is at least the longing for something satisfying, like a cigarette.

...Come to think of it, my wife did say at one point she would take me back if I gave up smoking.
Ah, but then my friend from old Persia says, "A woman is a woman...But now a good cigar!" :)

the walking man said...

Not to disregard Mona's concerns but I figure if Bill Clinton could smoke in the White House I can smoke in my own house...and car, and anywhere under the bright blue sky. PC what has it ever accomplished but the sublimation of free thought?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Certainly subterfuge of pure thought.
...This culture of storm and stress where eveybody's trying to improve homanity while enslaving both sexes.

eric1313 said...

Thank god I work at a bar. Arkansas (yep, that's where I am right now...) banned smoking in all restaraunts, but bars are exempt, or any other place that will prohibit anyone under 21 from entering...

Ivan! How's it been? Sorry about the long lapse of communication, but I'm working on getting back to the old self publication drawing board. Things are crazy down here, but I'm getting it done.

And yes, I have been writing. I couldn't not write. Besides, we have a very vibrant live poetry reading community down here in Hot Springs. It's almosy like a dream come true! Several authors float around here. I even met Larry McMurtry back in april. Never had that happen in Detroit...

Anyway, I just got busted for "netting" while onm the clock. Actually, that was a few minutes ago. I flipped them are friendly bird and kept typing.

Pierre would have been proud....

lakeviewer said...

I love this ballad against cigarette nay-bomber. I was thrilled by the Rant on Kant. I shall be back.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Lakeviewer!

Erik Donald France said...

Ivan, that's hilarious --
My grandmother enjoyed smokes and drinks into her 95th year. I still like cigarillos, & almost no place "allows" such things. Usually settle for the back porch.

ivan said...

Eric 1313,

"And yes, I have been writing. I couldn't not write." Heh. Neat.
...You met Larry McMurtry? He is your hero! How cool is that?
On publishing poetry. I swear it was a through a published poem that I got my first job with the Toroto Star. I somehow got the poem up in print, other publications picked it up, and hey,what do you know? I get this position as a summer reporter for the Star, an unrelated venue but what the hell, a job is a job. Sometimes you don't waste your time printing poetry. Somebody out there reads it, some columnist maybe, and wham.
I have also done my share of bartending, and on the whole, I recall enjoying it. They called me the bartender with not only an addictiton, but diction! Small wonder I later got a newspaper column, full of, largely bullshit
as the editor agreed to let me print whatever popped into my head.
Sort of like bullshit in a bar. At that I had been good.
...But not always good. When I fell short of getting tenure track at the college, the campus dean had said,"You're not as good as you thought you were, are you." Ah well. You can't win em all.
But nice to win a few.
By all means, publish the poems.
It might even land you a job. You never know with writin'.

ivan@c reativewriting.ca said...

Eric Donald France,

Yes, the prohibition is just about complete. And since it is a medical orthodoxy, no one dare say a word against this attack on human nature.
How clever the behaviour modifying bluenosers. They're going after alchol now. In Ontario they are working on a law that a trace, any trace of alchol in the bloodstream may result in a loss of licence to drive.

Jo said...

Ivan, you need to move to British Columbia. Smoking is still legal here -- as long as it's marijuana, of course. :-)

Pierre claimed he said "fuddleduck" when we know what he really said was -- rhymes with hockey "puck".

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Josie,

Yeah. Some kind of double standard.

Old Pierre and his cartoon talk balloon.

At first he insisted he had only said "fuddle-duddle." Hee.

Mona said...

now they made Marijuana use legal in some places in South America I heard.

Soon we all will be stoned and lotus eaters...

ivan@c reativewriting.ca said...

There is a move to legalize small amounts for personal use in Mexico.
Meanwhile, here in Canada the U.S. Justtice deartment has just extradited one Marc Emery for having a mail order business selling marijuana seeds all over the world.
He is protesting, saying that the American Constitution encourages the pursuit of happiness and why should agents from another country arresst him in the first place. But he will come peacefully. He sees himself something of a Thoreau and is prepared to go to jail for his beliefs and prosyletizing, even if happiness involves having a toke or two for personal use.

Anonymous said...

it's worth repeating...George Orwell...George Orwell...George Orwell...people gotta take back the farm...can't smoke,but the same law-makers shove diesel buses,trucks,construction equipment in your face...can't smoke,but we'll spray the atmosphere for ya...can't smoke,but we'll give ya a deal on Chinese drywall...can't smoke,but we'll dump all your sewage in the lake...can't smoke,but we'll fill the air with EMR from cell phone towers,microwave transfer towers...Aldous,where are you, man?...hey,Ivan,where you goin' with that cigarette in your hand?...you,yes you...how can you have any pudding,if you don't eat your meat?...we don't need no education...anyone got a light?...

ivan said...

Amen.

But nobody seems to read anymore.

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