bq. America is a constant tug-of-war between order and chaos. When you smoke, that just shines out at you as a fact. People glare. They hustle past. Nonsmokers. Bah! To them, my smoking represents lawless inconsideration. The brainlessness of an animal. The order of the world once lay in the absolute calming pleasure of the smoke. But they reordered it, and now smoking is the upset, the smokers stand on street corners, at the fringe of everything, stamping their dead soldiers against their shoe bottoms. When I drive past, I feel them. That’s my country right there. They remind me of the updraft, of the stovepipe of heat, they make me want to smoke! And yes, I even like the coughing. I actually like the hurt in the chest plate. It lights up my brain. It sets me into a state. But — that’s just because I’m new to it. For a real smoker, it provides calm, it provides order against the chaos of their lives. Columbus! He didn’t discover anything, except cigarettes. There were no cigarettes in Europe before him. That fucking guy. And the Puritans! Those guys made rules. They wanted to lay order on the land and stamp out what they didn’t understand. That’s the smoking-ban people. Puritans. Black and white. Smoking is the essential American rip — the need for moral order versus the instinct for exploration.


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