A Smoke-Out 

Can't we just all get along?

Can't we just all get along?

For the last couple of years, my company has sponsored a girls’ Little League softball team, the HOUSE SENSE Heaters. Daughter Jess took the team name from the epilog of The Sandlot, which I say has to be the best kids’ baseball movie of all time.

I design our team’s jerseys. This year, I went semi-creative and incorporated computer clip art. Using my high-powered desktop unit, I put a little crossbar onto the seams of the virtual ball, turning ’em into an “H,” followed by “eaters” in regular script. The Heaters logo combined art and text, creating a cool swooshy effect; I was proud.

Well, don’t you know when it came jersey-printing time, the jackleg silk-screening contractor boogered up the subtle shading on the right edge of the ball and made it look like a “Ch.” All year long, people thought my girls were The Cheaters. We proved our innocence, though, by winning just three of our 14 games.

Two weeks ago, for our end-of-the-season party, I took the team out to a Sounds game. I hadn’t been to Greer Stadium this year, and I’ve got to tell you, the new management out there has added great cornball between-innings fun. My kids loved every minute of it. Daughter Jess even got to race the Sounds mascot around the bases. She beat him handily and finished big by turning a cartwheel on home plate. At the end of the game, every kid in the ballyard got to run the bases.

My only complaint was that my nine pink-lunged innocents had to endure second-hand buttsmoke from some members of the crowd. Smokers, I need to tell y’all some things: First, get over the notion that because you spend a third of your waking hours sucking hard on cigarettes and enjoying it, your leftover smoke can’t possibly bother other people. Remember your first cigarette, how it burned your nose and throat like a triple hit of habanero sauce, how it made you all dizzy and nauseated? Well, that’s what your smoke does to little kids.

I know, I know. We nonsmoking types are just jealous of your good time, and furthermore, this whole anti-smoking crusade is aimed at taking one more bite out of the personal freedom of every American. Today, we want to take away your cigarettes. Tomorrow, we’ll be banning double cheeseburgers. You want to know why we can’t just all get along, right?

Well, OK. Just for a minute, let’s forget about the smoke altogether. Let’s talk litter. How many of you smokers peel that little piece of cellophane off the top of the cigarette box, then actually tote it over to a trash can? How many of you just toss it onto the ground?

How many of you drop your butts on the ground or throw ’em out the car window? Do that for 50 years, and you’ll leave a million butts for somebody else to clean up. You know your mother taught you better. You make a mess, you clean it up.

If smokers were to stop littering tomorrow, there would still be the matter of the smoke. I’ve never smoked myself, but I’m pretty sure the idea is to get the smoke down into your lungs, where it can swirl around and put nicotine in your bloodstream, then blow it out.

If we’re all going to get along, y’all have got to quit blowing it out. I don’t gross out easily, but the thought of smoke exiting somebody else’s funky old lesiony lungs, then trying to sneak up my nose is worse than the thought of eating octopus-arm sushi. If y’all figure out a way to keep smoke from slipping out the end of your cigarettes, and to keep all you inhale inside your own body, I’ve got no problem with your smoking.

Personally, I don’t care how many nicotine addicts we’ve got running around. If people want to wear nicotine patches and dispose of them properly, I say go for it. Just leave the air alone, because we’ve all got to use it. Oh—and I promise never to come after your cheeseburger.

I am proud to say that the last smoking game at Greer Stadium was July 3. The way I hear it, there’s no more smoking inside the ballyard, and the Marlboro Man out in center field is coming down for good.

If it’s not too late, I might just get myself some season tickets.

Visit Walter Jowers’ Web site at http://www.nashscene.com/~housesense/.

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