27 September 2004

Roll 'Em

The other day, Fixer went on (or off) about some strange, NY State-regulated cigarettes that go out when you ignore them. Significant others will do that too...but I digress. I know all about cigarettes going out. It's become a way of life for me.

Mrs. G. and I both started smoking in our teens, independently and many miles apart. After several years of marriage, she decided we were going to quit, so we went to a 'quit smoking' deal at the Nugget in Sparks, Nevada. They don't have these in California because it's illegal to smoke in a business, but we're close to Nevada so we went.

It was fucking awful. There were about a hundred people there in a conference room. The moderator issued everybody a stale cigarette and proceeded with his lecture on the dangers of tobacco, the addictive process, etc. Then he told everybody to light their cigarette and that they had two minutes to smoke it. He put on a gas mask. That was without a doubt the smokiest room I have ever been in, maybe even more than the shop when something needed a top-end job. People were coughing and retching and puking. When the bedlam subsided, the crowd had thinned out. I wouldn't have left for anything. This deal cost $49.95.

Then the guy hypnotized everybody, the whole roomful at the same time. Except me. I had a loose tooth and was wiggling it with my tongue and didn't get all the way under during the group trance. Then he planted a post-hypnotic suggestion that we didn't want to smoke anymore, snapped everybody back to this world and told them that they could help themselves in their goal by purchasing his anti-smoking products on the way out. Of course he did a brisk trade in these.

Think this is all a big crock?

My wife hasn't smoked a cigarette in the twelve years since. I must have been more hypnotized than I thought because, while I didn't quit smoking, I quit buying tailor-mades and started rolling my own. Mrs. G. lets me smoke in certain rooms of the house, so that's OK.

Problem was, I couldn't hand roll a smoke for sour owl shit. I'd been rolling funny cigarettes for twenty years, but I used a little rolling machine. So I used that. One day it broke and I had to roll one or go nuts, so I did. Once my fingers got used to it, I did fine. Now my smokes look like they're factory rolled, if I want them to. As soon as I can get some sheets of computer-ready cigarette papers, I'm gonna print my name on my smokes!

There's advantages to rolling your own. Yes, they go out when you set them down. This saves money. I can smoke one cigarette for an hour, like when I'm blogging, instead of lighting up an expensive one every twenty minutes like the tobacco companies want you to do. Time it. You'll be dazzled. I learned to buy my Bics in the 5-pack. People think you're poor, so they offer you cigarettes. You find out that a lot of people roll their own.

There's disadvantages as well. If you roll kind of loose, they'll burn little holes in your shirt. You spit out little pieces of tobacco and find them later, like on the monitor. The cops look at you funny sometimes. Sometimes you'd rather smoke than roll, but roll you must. You have to plan ahead when you go out and either roll up a few or take a pouch with you, but you adapt.

It's a lot cheaper. A 6-ounce can of Top or Bugler costs $7.49 at Costco or an Indian Smoke Shop and lasts me about two weeks. Indian smoke shops are giving state governments fits. Good. "Ugh! You, me, cheat Great White Father. One can Top, please." Around here, we have the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and they have a shop right on the state line. The stuff costs more at drugstores, but you can buy .65 oz. pouches to get you to a cheaper joint. There's more expensive brands if you're the snooty type.

Let's roll.

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