Seatbelts & Cigarettes

When I was a little kid, we didn't wear seatbelts. By "we", I mean nobody. Well, not nobody, but it just wasn't a big deal. In fact, even up until the late 80's, if you insisted on wearing a seatbelt, you were in jeopardy of being labeled some kind of conformist, straight-as-an-arrow, by-the-book dweeb.

Then, one day, everyone started wearing seatbelts. Once the logic of the seatbelt finally caught on, it seemed rather stupid NOT to wear one. Nowadays, if you don't wear a seatbelt, you are in jeopardy of being lectured to about the dangers of not wearing one. And don't get me started on car seats, Tessa.

So, America's seatbelt problem has been solved. And I can't really envision a situation where it would suddenly be cool to not wear them again.

Which brings me to my confusion over smoking.

While in the 60's and 70's smoking may have been cool, by the time I entered high school in the late 80's, in was most definitly not. If you smoked, there was a 90% chance you were a stoner, and hung out with the other stoners in your various Iron Maiden and Ozzy t-shirts at the designated off campus stoner location to smoke like the stoners you were. In the case of Lemoore High School, that location was known as "the wall"; directly across the street from the school next to Wayne's Market.

But the non-stoner's had finally listened to the anti-smoking propaganda that had been beaten into our impressionable heads. We realized that smoking would make you stink. We realized it would yellow your teeth. We realized that it would eventually make you look 30 years older than you are. We realized that it would eventually kill you. But most of all, we didn't want to be mistaken for stoners.

Bottom line is, for the most part, teenage smoking was dead, dead, dead. Logic had prevailed, just as it had in regards to seatbelts.

But by the mid-90's, a weird thing happened. All the kids were smoking again. None of the underlying facts had changed, cigs still stunk, cost a lot (more, even), aged you, yellowed your teeth, were addicting, and would kill you. And yet, there they were, the youth of America, puffing away. I thought this would be a short lived trend, and soon logic would once again prevail. But it's now 2006 and I'm still waiting. The majority of people I meet these days smoke, and I just plain don't fucking get it.

So, by now, I'm sure the smokers among you are acting defensive, thinking I'm attacking you. I'm not. I eat too much, you smoke. You won't date a fatty like me, I won't date a smoker like you. It's all good. I'm just seriously curious as to what happened to where smoking became acceptable.

These blogs don't have to be me venting to an empty room, so feel free to comment. Let me know why you smoke, and your thought process leading up to your decision to start smoking.

In the meantime, here's Eddie Van Halen with a message on what you can look forward to:

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