Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Never Trust A Stranger With Your Cigarette Money

"Few people on this planet knows what it is to be truly despised. Can you blame them? I earn a living fronting an organization that kills 1200 people a day. Twelve hundred people. We're talking two jumbo jet plane loads of men, women and children. I mean, there's Attila, Genghis... and me, Nick Naylor. The face of cigarettes, the Colonel Sanders of nicotine."

One of the many quotes from a great film, Thank You For Smoking. If you haven't seen it yet, do so. You'll laugh. A lot.

I'm not a smoker, and never have been. I find it a vile habit. That said, I also find just as vile, if not more, the tactics of the anti-smoking lobby. I'm convinced that there are some in that lobby who'd love to pass a law allowing anyone seen smoking to be shot on sight. What, you think I'm kidding?

Here in Canada, they've been at it again, increasing the size of cigarette warnings on the packages. Come on. You think anyone who smokes has no idea about the danger of smoking? They know. They just don't care. And being heavy handed about it isn't going to change them. Showing pictures of rotting gums, blackened lungs, and dying people will not change a smokers' mind.

Well, I'm not actually here to talk about smoking today. At least not directly. Some years ago one evening, I was walking through my home city. I was passing by a convenience store, and two teen boys were out front. One of them asked if I'd buy him cigarettes. He had cash in his hands, a hundred dollars. He wanted it by the carton.

The fine, incidentally, for buying cigarettes for minors is in the thousands, by the way. It's considered a crime. I've had teens ask me to buy cigarettes before and since; maybe it's the fact that I look so disreputable. I looked at him, looked at the store, noticed how much of the window was covered over by banners and posters.... and got an idea. How hard would it be for them to keep an eye on what was happening inside? I took the money, walked inside, strode right up to the cashier, and asked if there was a back door.

He nodded, and asked what this was about. I simply replied that I wanted to teach the two out front a lesson. The cashier smiled; he told me they had already tried buying earlier. He told me that the back door led out to an alley, and from there, I'd be on my own.

So, off I went. Out the back, through the alley, and among a warren of back streets that I knew quite well as it was. I got onto a bus, a hundred dollars extra on me, and went downtown, caught a movie.

I wonder to this day how long it would have taken those two brats before they came into the store, looking desperate... and finding out that the guy who they'd sent in had taken their cash and left. I'd say five minutes.

It just goes to show you. Never trust a stranger with your cigarette money. Especially when they look disreputable.


  1. First of all, you don't look THAT disreputable.

    But I have to admit, that's a really great idea. Everyone should do it.

    Now I need to rent the movie....

  2. I did enjoy that movie...yes, I used to smoke, but quit when I was MADE to go outside in the friggin' cold and when it became $5.00 a pack, I quit cold turkey...that was more than 14 years ago or so...Now, I consider it the vilest thing ever. I have friends who smoke, but I don't condemn them for it. I wouldn't push them out of my house because of it...especially when it's 20 below.

    I understood the ramifications for smoking, and like you said, everyone else does the time, I just didn't care.

    Great blog!

  3. Funny story,

    I just hope they don't remember your face when they are all grown up and out weigh you by fifty pounds... or maybe they could just cough at you with their smokers cough ?
    Kids are always asking others to buy beer here.

    cheers, parsnip

  4. I haven't quit yet - waiting for the diet discipline to get in place. I just hate when total strangers go out of their way to insult you when you're smoking as far away from the door as you can get without changing zip codes. They will hunt you down to be mean.

  5. Never saw the movie...don't smoke either. You're article as always...funny...funny.

  6. Actually, one of the most annoying things is the born again ex-smokers. Those that used to smoke and quit and have now decided to crucify all smokers.

  7. I almost feel sorry for those boys. Then again, you have potentially saved their lungs, so their price was small to pay!

  8. Good blog. Honestly, I hate the anti-smoking ads. The more they show them and push that stuff on the public, the more I want to smoke. I have watched my husband try to stop smoking countless times.
    I think you may have taught the boys a very good lesson. Sometimes, because society emphasizes so much against something, it makes our young people want to try it.


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