Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

I know what kind of a smoker I'd be.

I'll risk being hippy-dippy: I would not be surprised if past lives exist. I know, there's absolutely no way to be sure, but here's one small reason I leave the possibility open:

I've never smoked. Not one cigarette, cigar, pipe, blunt, or anything. Not even in Virginia where, before the law changed around 1991, I could have smoked tobacco legally while high school age.* But...I think I know what the sensations of smoking are like.

Smoking was ridiculously more prevalent in the past than now. Stephen King's excellent book 11/22/63, about a man who time-travels from today to 1957 so he can wait and try to stop Kennedy's assassination, emphasizes that. Back in what I've called "the jackass past," plenty of people even thought smoking had health benefits. If I'd had a past life, I'd've been far more likely to smoke.

I like the idea of a past self, kind of like the time loop-trapped crew in the Star Trek: TNG episode "Cause and Effect," sending me the message That smoking thing? Bad idea. Don't do it. I like to imagine memory could work like that, though memory from past lives probably wouldn't work all that well.

Whatever, I've avoided smoking, so I've avoided the habit's costs, health-wise and wallet-wise. I've also never had the potential bonding moment of giving someone a cigarette or bumming one off of someone. I've never had a lighter. I've much more rarely stood outside, in the rain or near it and otherwise in the weather, with people who were smoking. Hell, though I'm old enough to remember Smoking and Non-Smoking sections of airplanes (how's that for a pointless difference? IT'S ALL THE SAME AIR), almost all of my adult life we've banned smoking in most places indoors; Oregon didn't ban smoking in bars until 2009, but before that I only rarely went to bars, so the previous law didn't affect me much.

I think that if I had ever smoked — or if a me who lived before had smoked — I would have been annoyed by the times when I couldn't smoke the entire cigarette. One drag then having to put it out because my bus showed up? INEFFICIENT. I would not have gotten my money's worth from that cigarette! Add that up. It does add up. I'm fussy about making sure I use as much of something as I can. I wonder if a past-life Chris (whether that past-life Chris were named Jim or Chad or Aloysius or Abby or Tiffany) would have been fussy about that, too. I can't ask me. Shoot.

* I am still amused that Virginia's legal smoking age changed from 16 to 18 when I was 17. Technically, I was old enough to smoke tobacco at 16, then I wasn't at 17.

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