You ever quit smoking? For a year? Five years? A decade?
No. No you didn’t. Because if you ever smoked, you still look at a cigarette in front of you like it’s the other guy on the deserted island turning into a talking hot dog in those old Looney Tunes cartoons. You walk past one of those tall outdoor ashtrays with a nice long butt in it and you turn your head as you walk, track it with your eyes. And your heart beats a little faster. You imagine it– the feeling, the tickly rush over your limbs as you take that first deep drag, hold it in; your head takes off with sparkles and stars and suddenly everything’s going to be just fucking fine. You will never feel that again. You will never even feel “OK” again. If anything remotely adversarial happens you will ascend into an ever-escalating paranoid freakout and blame everyone around you for everything bad that ever happened until you want to murder your own children with your bare hands. And you will never, ever be able to do anything about it. You didn’t quit smoking. You’re just waiting too god damn long for your next cigarette. Fiending for decades while your mind slows and your soul turns into a hard flinchy thing that only knows hate. Friends, family, society, helping people– who gives a fuck. I need to glare out the window and mutter about those who done me wrong. Gonna get them back some day. Once I get the energy.
Remember how when Barack Obama used to speak, you felt something? Holy fuck, this guy sounds like Martin Luther King. I can’t believe I’m interested and engaged in what a politician is saying. You flipped out for him. He was smart, sure, but he also had real fucking passion. Go watch an old clip of the guy. Watch him talking to those black college kids in that speech that Fox news is reheating to freak out old racists. He moved people. This is the same guy you could believe was a star athlete and a panther in the bedroom and etc. Neighborhood organizer going door to door in some forgotten post-apocalyptic shantytown out of THE WIRE, and getting people whose only experience with government was the business end of a police baton taking out their teeth– getting these people engaged in city politics. He moved people, and he loved what he was doing. It showed.
He smoked back then. All the way through the ’08 campaign. And then he quit. His medical report in ’08 said “continue smoking cessation efforts.” He was chewing Nicorette. Which, I fucking love Nicorette, but only when complemented by a nice healthy Camel Filter at the beginning and end of the day. You need that stabbing in your lungs, that burning, a hit of pain that lets you know the medicine went in. But since he was on a doctor-supervised medical program, he would have quit the Nicorette too. He would have staggered it down slowly over several months, six pieces a day, four pieces a day, two pieces a day– from the auspicious beginning of his presidency to the long drawn out months when it became clear he couldn’t get anything through Congress. He never picked up the phone and called legislators to push shit through, even Democrats. He hated socializing, Washington parties– that’s where you get shit done. That’s where you have a brandy with John Boehner and have a laugh and talk about old pussy and golf or fishing or whateverthefuck and in your heart you realize this guy isn’t so bad, let’s get something done together. Have a shared legacy. Even Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich did this. But Obama said he had to spend time with his daughters. Mr. President: first of all, fuck your daughters; they’ll live. But also: they want to spend time with you, not this crabby worn out simulacrum of you. The real you that they love is the you who smokes.
And then he didn’t smoke with chainsmoking John Boehner during the budget negotiations. This is what killed the historic compromise that the normally intransigent Congress was ready to make. If they had had a cigarette together, that deal would have been made. Because of that secret bond that smokers have in this uptight sewing circle of a society. Us against the world.
Had to be Michelle who made him quit. Her and whatever candyass square they hired as White House Physician. Barack, we want you to be around to see Sasha and Malia grow up; the country needs to you to be healthy. Bullshit. Lung cancer is determined by genetics, smoking accounts for about ten per cent of the variance*, and the country does not need you running a four minute mile. The country needs you mentally healthy and quitting smoking temporarily shatters and permanently saps your mental health. You will never not be dumb, short-fused and miserable if you once smoked and now you don’t. You will always be cruel and hostile and paranoid. That’s why they give nicotine to patients with Alzheimer’s. It’s a god damn miracle drug that keeps your mind working, keeps the juices circulating. If you have ever tasted this feeling, then forevermore… the spice must flow.
Now Obama is just lame. Andrew Sullivan was right about the debate– he got his ass handed to him. But it’s not just the debate. Every time the guy opens his mouth you can tell he hates being there, hates what he’s doing, just wants to go home and glare out a window and mutter about all the people who fucked him over and how he’s going to get them back. He’s turned into Nixon on Benadryl. Listening to Barack Obama now inspires the opposite of hope. Of passion. He makes you cringe. He makes you wince like a cold hand on the back of your neck and you feel like if you went up and talked to the guy his face would be trying to lift his smile like Jared struggling to lift his baggy fat pants around his newly skinny frame. And his eyes would tell you that he hates you. That he just wants to go home. Fuck this “president” and “America” shit, I just want a motherfucking cigarette.
Mr. President: for yourself, for your family, for our country: pick up a nice fat cigarette and smoke that shit down like it was Karl Rove smoking some poolboy’s cock. Feel the burn; feel the pain; feel the damage ravaging your lungs. Then feel the bliss, the super speed, the confidence trickling into your brain and lifting your heart to the heavens. Our problems aren’t so bad. Congress isn’t so insurmountable. The Middle East isn’t so crushing. Let’s get out there and do this, America. Hope. Change. Tobacco. Mr. President: for the love of fuck, go out there and burn one. Otherwise you’re just the walking dead.
* Not an actual fact in any way.