Monday, 4 April 2011

Smokers' Section


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?


Deiniol said...

Speaking as a smoker of some thirteen years, I can confidently state the following: There is little pleasure to be derived from smoking, save relief from the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Nobody actually takes up smoking because they like it, but rather because it looks cool.

Dream Talker said...

tobacco more like partners or control,I think.

Vilges Suola said...

@Deiniol - that sounds bleak. I don't think I ever thought it looked cool, I just liked (and still like) the smell of tobacco.

@Dream talker Do you mean it's like a companion and a habit? I reckon that applies to booze as well. Someone who's a complete arsehole but a bloody good fuck.

Rob said...

I'm officially an ex-smoker, but do give in occasionally (to celebrate things rather than to commiserate myself).
So I can see that the pleasure of smoking is largely illusory; the pleasure of temporary respite from banging your head against the wall. That said, I find that tobacco does induce a mild but pleasant contemplative mood; a 'tobacco trance'. It goes well with, for example: late night discussions; standing in a porch and looking at the rain; sitting on a bench under a tree in dappled sunlight; looking down onto a valley from the top of a hill.
The pleasure isn't worth all the negatives - but it is still strangely pleasurable in some ways.

Vilges Suola said...

I was present at your first withdrawal symptoms in Neos Kosmos. There was some soft core porn on the telly and you were pacing the floor like the proverbial caged tiger. Chrystalleny said 'sit down, Robbie, and watch the sex.' It obviously didn't help.

Vera said...

Ahhhh... smoking! It is comfort, it soothes the mind and opens up the creative channels. A friend who never lets you down (until it kills you)a delightful pastime.
Trying to explain an addiction to a non addict, is like trying to explain colours to the blind :)

I start and stop smoking with depressing regularity... I'm on lozenges at the moment.

Vilges Suola said...

Vera, that is pretty much how I feel about booze. A delightful friend who manages to persuade you to spend a hell of a lot of money on him.


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