PLEASE CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN WHY 'SMOKE' IS SUCH A POPULAR SEARCH WORD ALL OVER THE WORLD LATELY? THE IMAGE HERE GETS DOZENS OF HITS A DAY - WTF?
I drink a fair bit but I do not smoke. This is not because I object to smoking, merely that I have never derived any pleasure from the practice. I have tried. When at fifteen I gave the world my Mr Toad in A.A.Milne's 'Toad of Toad Hall', I was required to smoke a cigar, a big fat Havana job that my dad had nicked from his boss's office. (Which dates me - how many schools would allow a fifteen year old to smoke on stage these days? What-kind-of-message-would-that-be-sending- out, etc., etc.) I didn't get to light it until the dress rehearsal, mind, and I had been looking forward to this: it was fascinatingly phallic, and its woody, spicy aroma, unlit, was to me the essence of masculine privilege and contentment. I imagined that smoking it would be like filling the mouth with a caramel-coloured, scotch, sandal and vanilla scented cream. Phallus, cream , masculine contentment... I had high expectations.
Booze delights first the eye and then the nose, and imbibing alcohol creates the cerebrocortical equivalent of having one's balls fondled. Smoking, for me, was a big let-down. My first on-stage puff of vanilla cigar smoke was OK, but I did not realise that it would get stronger after it had been stubbed out, and in subsequent performances of 'Turd of Turd Hall' as we had inevitably dubbed the bloody piece, I had to ditch the thing as it induced coughing fits not sorting with Toad's dégagé air, but entirely to be expected from a fifteen year-old boy piddling about with a cigar for the first time.
So I don't smoke. I have tried since those teenage days, but without ever getting the point, which is a bloody good job when you consider how expensive it would be to smoke and drink at the rate I'd smoke and drink if I enjoyed both practices equally.
I'd like to ask smokers what the pleasure of smoking is. I do not question that there is one, but it is denied me. Can you set it out as I set out above the pleasure I get from drinking?