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Friday, September 4, 2015



     So I went across the river to a place at the marina in Haverstraw- there was a good Springsteen tribute band playing, and it was a beautiful night. They launched into a faithful version of Rosalita, which, if you know the song, doesn't seem like a song at all but a bunch of parts from other songs tossed into a hat and picked out at random. But the end result is good. The band was smoking, and people were dancing up a storm in a magical fog. That's when I realized that it wasn't a magical fog at all but the combined output of everyone's cigarettes. They allow smoking outside, and since the bar and the band were outdoors, the smokers were everywhere. Word must have gotten around, because literally everyone had a cigarette.

     There was a staggering amount of second-hand smoke, but cigarettes cost so much these days I was at least gratified that getting the smoke on a pre-owned basis was saving me a bundle.

     I'm not one to preach, unless I have something to say to the choir, and I generally believe that you can go ahead and do unto others whatever you can get away with, unless it affects ME. But It did not seem like a very healthy environment- how is puffing on a cigarette any different than smoke inhalation?

     The only way I could escape was to stand upwind, so I licked my finger and held it in the air. I couldn't remember how that was supposed to tell me which way the wind was blowing, so I eventually segued into a disco pose and sashayed towards the bathroom. That held the only smoke-free air in the place, a shocking change from my high-school years.

     On the way back the visibility was so bad I narrowly avoided an eight-person pileup near the waitress station. I ordered a cocktail and asked a her if it was always like this and she said no, but she may have been just blowing smoke up my glass.

     I haven't seen that much smoke since the last time I tried to make toast. Scientists can send a probe to Uranus, no offense, but they can't develop a toaster oven that actually results in a viable sandwich. It sits in there for 10 minutes disguised as bread, and 20 seconds later I am sticking ham and cheese between two slabs of bituminous coal, too proud to admit that my toast is, well, toast. One guy exhaled this gigantic plume of blue gas that looked like he had blown a piston ring, and I realized that he was puffing on one of those vaporizers. My mother had one 40 years ago that created this stinky fog that was supposed to cure your cold if you stayed home from school. My Mom was decades ahead of her time.

     My friend Jenn has a vaporizer that looks like a pen- I thought she kept it around to do the crossword or something. But then I saw smoke coming out of it, and I couldn't believe how fast the must have completed that puzzle. I always keep a pen around to "jot down my thoughts," but so far I've never had occasion to use it.

     No one seems to know what's in this vapor. E-cigarettes are not are regulated by the government, so maybe they're good for you. I have no idea if they can e-harm you or even e-kill you. I would guess that if you analyzed the vapor, and compared it to whatever comes out of Donald Trump, the ingredients would be similar: vaguely toxic, but the effects of which may not be known until it's too late. Maybe they could put in some of whatever they used to have in my Mom's vaporizer, and then even if you are sucking in a lethal dose of arsenic, asbestos and lead, at least your cold will be cured.

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