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Column: Babysitting smokers, yet again

Here we go again.

In a recent AP story, the federal government, obviously, with time on their hands when they are not bickering about the Bush tax cuts and posturing themselves to thwart the opposing parties efforts with such, have let loose on the most downtrodden, cursed and demeaned group of people in the country: The smokers.

Illegal aliens take far less flak than the tokers.

"The federal government hopes new larger, graphic warning labels for cigarettes that include images of corpses, cancer patients, and diseased lungs and teeth will help snuff out tobacco use."

That pun must have been intended.

Personally, I cannot wait to go to the convenience store and politely ask for a pack of Camel Corpses.

Kevin, a Forum Communications reader and commenter on our Area Voices pages asked, "What's next; pictures of the slaughterhouse killing floor on packages of meat?"

That's a good question.

I have had personal bouts in public forums with the president of the Minnesota American Lung Association on his skewed polling practices and fervent babysitting of the public when it comes to smoking.

I also have shown my agreement with many medical findings that smoking is, get this, bad for you.

I know. What a revelation.

So are rollercoasters, cars, greasy cheeseburgers, soda pops and myriad other things many of us enjoy in life.

The smoking bans had me in an uproar. The heavy-handed legislating of the inner workings of businesses still irks me.

College campuses, government buildings and the like, I'm okay with that.

Peeling 51 percent of the walls off an outdoor, smoking shack at some bar just to adhere to silly legislation is about as nuts as putting corpses on my Camels.

I cannot recall a group of non-smokers racing outside in below zero weather to stand inside the smoking shack. The only people going in there are the smokers.

At my former watering hole of choice two winters ago, we had an enclosed, glorified fish house with a television and a heater, a couple tables and plenty of ashtrays.

The health department got wind of our set-up and forcibly had over half of the walls removed. So, there we shivered, bucking against the icy breath of Old Man Winter, pulling on our lung darts to appease those who would babysit us.

"The health consequences of smoking will be obvious every time someone picks up a pack of cigarettes," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a news release.

Margaret must think we are all idiots.

Is this news to any of you?

Did you think cigarettes were healthy?

How much money is wasted on these campaigns to attempt to warp the minds of those who don't want to be warped?

You aren't going to change me, Margaret.

You just make me want to put a diaper on so I can really feel the overpowering babysitting you want to impart upon me.

I won't quit smoking because of you. In fact, I'll probably smoke more just to spite you.

Then, one day, I, like you, Margaret, am going to bite the big one.

Maybe you aren't aware of this, Margaret.

I'll give it to you in a stylish quote from the best stand-up comedian on the planet, Doug Stanhope, who just performed a rousing diatribe last weekend at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, of which I was lucky enough to attend.

"Whatever your problems were, keep in mind that you die at the end of all this. Let's get out there; brutalize ourselves and laugh at those certain (people) who take it seriously, like there is any way to win in all this."

You see, Margaret, some people just want to live and live in the fashion of their own idiom. We don't need you parading around the neighborhood waving your dead corpse pictures at smokers standing out in the cold.

Your rhetoric does nothing but waste taxpayer's money and inflate your overblown motherly instincts.

As a smoker, believe me, I am quite accustomed to taxes.

Tell you what, Margaret, I will quit smoking when I am dead and if you send me the proper paperwork, I will happily sign over all rights, free of charge, for you to use a picture of my diseased and rotting carcass for the next batch of Camels.

That's right, I'll quit over my dead body.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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