My hatred falls somewhere between the smell, the taste and the expense but I really think it’s because as a child my parents couldn’t have smoked more if their faces were on fire. It was in my clothes, in my sheets, and other kids refused to share a locker with me because my backpack smelled so strongly of second hand smoke. It drove me crazy that I couldn’t smell it on myself but knew others could. It was like that feeling you have when you think you might have a booger but aren’t sure so you rub your nose until everyone thinks you’re a coke addict instead, or something less insane.
The image of a cigarette hanging from someone’s mouth is so unappealing to me because all I can picture is that smoke cloud I grew up under, my grandmother’s lung cancer and this weird, old French film I accidentally watched hoping for nudity. This image haunts me like former Christian pop careers follow our sluttiest music icons. However, it has kept me from becoming a smoker by ridding me of any desire to start.
As an adult I’ve learned to accept some people just smoke and enjoy having horrid breath, yellow teeth and the hacking cough of an elderly porn star. I’ve even dated smokers and they’ve seemed not to mind having to brush their teeth before kissing me and having to go outside for their “butt.” As a vegetarian my apartment already has an array of smells because of what I cook so there’s no need to add to it. Also, I never again want to be that boy who no one wanted to share their locker with. I like smelling nice and I like people noticing. You can all enjoy smelling like Patti and Selma’s old gitch after a round of Bingo. I’ll continue smelling like a ruggedly handsome gentleman – despite looking like a wiener instead.
This Neurotic Life is an original column for The Little Red Umbrella about the trials and tribulations of being neurotic written by our Managing Editor Cody McGraw. See more editions here.
Photo by Carmen Cheung
Cody McGraw is many things but the thing you can actually call him to his face is the Managing Editor of The Little Red Umbrella. See more posts from him here or follow him on Twitter (@cody_mcgraw).