By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
At this point, I've got the weapons, I've got the rations, and I've got the brood of buxom sister-wives knitting away at various undisclosed locations on the eastern plains, just waiting for my call. Pretty much all I'm waiting on right now is for that shiftless sack agent from Re/Max to close the deal on the mountain compound. Then I will be ready. "Gertrude, Beatrice, Abigail, Madeline and Ling Pho," I will yell to all of my sister-wives, making sure to holler especially loud for Ling Pho, who's deaf in one ear. "Pack up the coon dogs and your assorted soiled and tattered rags! Then tell your family you'll see them again in Heaven. Daddy has officially fucking lost it, and we're heading for the compound."
Then, once we all get to the compoundwell, I'm not really sure what will happen then. I've really never gotten beyond this point of the fantasy. I can't see us getting involved in any real trouble, like David Koresh and his Waco wackos, because I don't think we will be that committed to anything. Nor do I think I'll ever have any sort of clash with a local sheriff, because I don't know how to work a gun. And I find the prospect of confrontation disagreeable. Most likely, I'll just sit around eating goldfish crackers from industrial-sized tubs, banging my wives and watching Deadwood.
But I'll tell you one thing I'll do on my compound with goddamn pleasure and pride: I'll smoke me some cigarettes.
I don't really even care for cigarettes, but I'll smoke them merely as an act of defiance -- an addictive, pointless, cancerous act of defiance. Take that, Colorado! If I can't smoke in your bars and restaurants, then I will make you pay for it in the end when I die of lung cancer sans health insurance! Ha, ha, that's sweet! Oh, man, hold on, I feel a furious hacking fit coming on. Jesus, that was a lot of blood I just spit up. Curse this thin mountain air!
This is the point in my fantasy where I realize there's no doctor on my compound, so perhaps I'm not ready to head for the hills quite yet. But watching this city transform from smoking to non-smoking over the weekend was enough to make me want to.
True scene: Man seated on outdoor patio lights up a cigarette. Waitresses walks over to him and says, "You can't smoke there." Man replies that he is smoking outside and he thought that was okay. Waitress then tells him that he needs to be at least fifteen feet from the entrance. Man asks, "Well how far is fifteen feet? I figure I'm about fifteen feet away from the entrance right now." At this, waitress sighs and responds, "Oh, fuck it, I don't really care anyway," and heads out back for a smoke.
Who the hell came up with fifteen feet as the designated amount of space away from a bar a smoker needs to be to safely fire back a heater? Were there government field tests, where a pink, healthy baby lung was held at various distances from a chimney of a man until a proper distance was determined?
"How's the baby lung doing at thirteen feet?"
"It's wilting like my love for my wife. I'm gonna take her back to fifteen!"
"Roger that -- report back with results. I'll go buy another carton."
Some bars have gone to the length of drawing lines on the sidewalk at the proper distance, across which you do not smoke. This measure is not only effective, but it recalls hilarious I Love Lucyepisodes in which Lucy and Ricky draw lines splitting the house into two sides -- one for Lucy, one for Ricky -- while fat neighbor Fred walks around and warbles and looks bald and wears his pants above his nipples. But if any of you smokers want to stand a little closer to the bar, say twelve -- oh fuck it, let's get crazy and call it ten -- feet from the entrance, I have one word of advice for you: chalk. Make your own line. Or play hopscotch.
Truth be told, I agree with the smoking ban. Everyone hates reeking of smoke, and most smokers I know want to smoke less anyway. This way, they will not only smoke less, but they will get to have plenty more of those cool, secretive smoker conversations that you see everyone at work having in the back alley. And I imagine it will be easier to pick up chicks who smoke, too, because the two of you will already be out in front of a bar, smoking and hovering awkwardly mere feet from each other, and you'll already know that you have at least one thing in common: self-loathing.
But the transformation this weekend, during which some bars got totalitarian at midnight on July 1 while others just let clientele smoke all evening, was both abrupt and oddly primitive, like sex with an ape. Hopefully, as this smoking ban matures into something that people can understand a bit better, things will become more polished. Until then, I invite any and all upset smokers to my compound in the mountains, where we not only allow smoking, but also illegal fireworks. Just keep your hands off my fucking sister-wives.