Recently, PNC Park (the Pittsburgh Pirates' park) decided to ban smoking. As a person who is allergic to smoke, I think this is great. I hate having to walk through clouds of smoke in restaurants, concerts, etc. I also hate having to take an allergy pill every damn day because people smoke outside my office building. But my coworkers who smoke don't bother me, really. The smoke on their clothes is what makes me sneeze all day long, but it's not as bad as being next to someone who is actually smoking. If I haven't anticipated being around a smoker, my eyes get red, itchy, and watery, so I get a nice raccoon-eye look going on. Oh, and my throat swells, my tongue feels huge, and I want to peel my face off just to scratch underneath my skin. It's a lot of fun.
"But Amanda," you may be saying, "Why not just constantly take your allergy medicine? Wouldn't that be more convenient for you?" This is an excellent point which I must counter with the suggestion you go shove a pack of cigarettes up your ass. No, I don't want to have to take my allergy medicine 7 days a week, 12 months a year. It's not more convenient for me to have to use my money to pay for medicine I wouldn't have to take if other people would just be the slightest bit considerate. It's not that hard. Just don't smoke when you're shoulder-to-shoulder with other people. The heroin addicts don't shoot up right next to me. Go hang out with them. Or, alternatively, just wait a little while.
So scads of smokers have been writing in to the Post-Gazette about how this is an injustice, how they're being unfairly persecuted, and they should be allowed to make everyone miserable and give us cancer, too. One of their favorite points is that fatty foods are harmful, too, so why not ban them as well? Another excellent point. Except, the opposite of that. If I eat a box of cupcakes, it's not going to be pretty, but the person next to me isn't going to get cellulite. Also, if you don't look at me, you're instantly removed from the situation. (This is because I don't chew like a wildebeest. Expect my upcoming rant on table manners/another group of people I want to flip off a roof.)
Getting the idea? No? Okay, then let's address their next pet point. People drink BEER at ball games, too! And a lot of them get drunk! And, hey, they have to get home somehow! So PNC Park should stop enabling people to drink and drive! Something should be done! Rumor has it that drunk driving is illegal already. Also, I have seen drunk people get in a car and have someone else drive. Through some complicated maneuver I myself have taken part in yet am also mystified by, drunk people can get home without driving. It's almost supernatural. So I guess it's understandable that some people aren't familiar with this amazing new idea.
Also, it is possible to not do everything in excess. I know that as Americans, we seem to think that we are constitutionally assured the right to do whatever we want whenever we want, but recent studies suggest that other people have rights as well. Like the right to not be exposed to other people's carcinogens. I'm pretty sure that's not an amendment, but if they can find some sort of constitutional reasoning for banning same-sex marriage, then I'm going to continue to assert that I have the right not to get cancer. Cigarette smoke has been linked to just about every type of cancer, including cervical, which I will be at increased risk for until I die or have a hysterectomy. I don't need you making any decisions for me regarding what other risk factors I'm exposed to. I also have high blood pressure and take birth-control pills. So thanks -- I've been meaning to schedule a blood clot and stroke.
And I realize there's a difference between secondhand smoke and actually smoking. If there's only one bullet in the gun, it's true that it's less likely to fire than an empty chamber. But that doesn't mean that putting the gun to my temple and pulling the trigger is good for my health.
I've had it. I've had it with the smokers who think their right to suck on tobacco fumes supersedes my rights to live and pursue happiness. (Those words sound familiar.) I've had it with their desperate attempts to justify their filling my lungs with smoke that contains the vilest things imaginable. I've had it with them acting like they're victims and that one day, all the smokers will rise up and demand voting rights, the right to integrated education, and that non-smokers-only drinking fountains will be a thing of the past. Oh, that's right.
So I now declare that I have the right to wildly swing my arms all around me. (How unfortunate for the people who are occupying the space that I was planning on using.) I encourage the rest of you to do the same.