Every time I go to the doctor's office, it's the same old story: I show up on time for the appointment I've made in advance and then wait for two hours, during which they make sure I'm going to pay them and provide six-month-old gossip magazines for me to read. Then they tell me they don't really know what's wrong with me -- it could be a number of things, but they don't really know -- and that there's probably nothing they can do for it but see if it gets worse, and then they send me home to hope my insurance will actually pay out. But before I go, they always take a few minutes to let me know I should quit smoking, as if they're doing me some kind of fucking favor.
What I'm saying is, Michael Douglas, I know where you're at.
Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you -- it causes cancer and emphysema, aside from the myriad effects (like shortness of breath and asthma) that are more immediately apparent -- and it's become extremely unhip, too. Apparently people don't like it when there's a risk that you're poisoning them with your habit, a risk that's been almost universally embraced by the always-go-with-the-worst-possible-case-scenario medical doctor community through a variety of studies, essentially all of which have some perceivable methodological flaws. On the other hand, the only entities offering any studies to contradict the medical-establishment studies are from tobacco companies, so that's not exactly promising either.
But whatever, the point is, smoking is no longer cool. I already know that. I already know every single reason you can think of for me to quit smoking and probably a bunch you haven't even thought of, and so does Michael Douglas. There's just one problem: Smoking is awesome, and it's addictive as hell.
That's not an excuse, it's just an explanation of why I'm not quitting right now -- because no matter how many reasons I may have to quit, I'm just not going to do it until my desire to quite overcomes my dread of quitting. Even if smoking is not cool. Even if it may or may not be harmful to others. Even if I have cancer.
For the approximately 6 billion people in the world who don't smoke, this fact may be hard to comprehend. "What has many shaking their heads now is the fact that, as a survivor of his stage IV cancer diagnosis, he may have once again succumbed to the very thing that put his health at risk in the first place," laments Huffington Post Celebrity, for example, helpfully adding that "We hope that the white object in Douglas' hand was just a piece of gum." (Just by the way, there's no certainty that he's actually smoking in this one image that may or may not depict him smoking -- it does kind of look like he is, but then again, that very well could be one of those quit-aid inhalers shaped like cigarettes. There's really know way to know.)
Yes indeed, Huffington Post and 6 billion other people, it may seem hard to understand, but you can stop shaking your heads now, because here's why: Like all smokers who continue to smoke despite the clear disadvantages to doing so, Michael Douglas is a man who enjoys smoking, and is also powerfully addicted to it. Put that on your stack of excellent reasons never to start smoking, but don't blame the dude for doing it. And while you're not blaming him, go ahead and mind your own fucking business, because Michael Douglas is a grown man and smoking cigarettes is not illegal.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.