Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to the bullshit of the anti-smoker cult

For the past few weeks, I've been enjoying a holiday on Canada's east coast; in case anyone is wondering why I haven't posted to my blog recently.

I'd almost forgotten just how truly beautiful Cape Breton Island is, especially during the height of summer. As one might expect on an island, it's practically impossible to travel for any more than an hour without coming into contact with a large body of water, either the North Atlantic which surrounds the island, or the Bras d' Or Lake which runs through the island's centre. The constant sea breeze makes the summer heat much more bearable than that experienced in Ontario, for example.

And, the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape provided the perfect complement to the meeting and greeting of family and old friends. In addition, the weather co-operated beautifully, adding immensely to the enjoyment of my first visit “home” in eight years.

I spent most of my time at my younger brother's place in the town where I grew up after coming from Scotland well over half a century ago. But, the highlight of the trip was a four day “family reunion”.

My sister-in-law had rented a boy scout camp situated at the base of Kelly's Mountain on the shores of the Bras d' Or. It was an ideal location, centrally situated as a jumping off spot for day trips to just about any tourist attraction on the island, including the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Having grown up on the island, I eschewed most of the day trips; the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, the Fortress of Louisburg, the Miners Museum, etc. I was content to sit on the back porch of the bunk house/mess hall and break open the odd beer (Alexander Keith's finest), while puffing away on a Putter's Light (imported from Ontario's First Nations) and shooting the breeze and swapping stories with my siblings and other family members.

The scout camp, in addition to the picturesque setting, had one additional advantage. Isolation. It was a mile or more in any direction to the nearest signs of “civilization”.

In any sizable gathering of family, this can be of great importance, especially when the family members are prone to party with some abandon. And, every night, with the youngsters tucked safely in their beds, we lit up the camp fire, broke out the guitars and yingle sticks, cracked a few brew and partied to the wee hours of the morning.

Perhaps it's a sign of age, but I realized the first night that I would no longer be among the last to leave the smoldering remains of the camp fire. The lying bastard who described old age as the “golden years” deserves a kick in the ass.

And, the trip resulted in an unexpected benefit. Despite gorging myself on an array of fresh sea food and quaffing a significant quantity of pale ale, I somehow managed to shed eight pounds.

I suggested in one of my last posts before heading out to the coast that, if I could get access to a computer, I might continue writing a regular column during my trip. That obviously hasn't happened.

It's not that I didn't have access to a computer. There were over half a dozen laptops, with their little wireless connections to the net, available at any given time. The younger generation can't seem to function without the damn things. So, I could have written an article or two . . . if I'd wanted. But, the truth is, I didn't even bother to read the blogs that usually comment on the upside down world of the anti-smoker.

I was having too good a time to let myself be distracted by the antics of the lunatic fringe.

But, the holiday is over. I'm back in the big city. And, the first blog site I visited on my return was that of anti-smoking activist, Dr. Michael Siegel. He was commenting on a new ordinance enacted by the Middletown (New York) City Council which could make smoking in a park a criminal offense resulting in jail time. Uh-huh.

It's the kind of anti-smoker bullshit that brings the anger bubbling back and makes a man want to start writing letters to the brain dead politicians who pass these ridiculous laws, and posting caustic comments on a blog dedicated to counteracting the propaganda efforts of the the anti-smoker crowd.

So, just a few observations on my visit to the coast.

The anti-smoking laws in Nova Scotia are similar to the rest of Canada, meaning smoking in pubs, clubs and bingo halls is verboten. Sin taxes are more punitive than most provinces, with smokers spending up to $15 in government sponsored extortion for a pack of 25. Fortunately, I paid a visit to Canada's First Nations before heading out to the coast. Forewarned is fore-armed.

Smoking in vehicles carrying minors (anyone less than 19 years of age) is, of course, cause for a fine. I didn't get an answer to my question about what happens to an eighteen year old smoker who is also the driver. Do they charge the driver for subjecting himself to the bogus hazard of secondhand smoke? Or, is the 18 year old driver exempt if his passengers are 19 or older?

I suspect that the scout camp where we spent four days with family was probably considered a public space under the anti-smoker rules. The odd thing was that, despite the fact that there were no “No Smoking” signs in evidence at the camp, and there was no one around to enforce the rules even if signs had been posted, no one lit up indoors.

A testament to common courtesy (and common sense) or the result of the thorough indoctrination by the anti-smoker cult? It's debatable, I suppose.

Although roughly half the adults present were smokers, they confined their smoking to the back porch, or the fire pit. Nor was there any evidence of litter. Butts were placed in two large cans at either end of the porch or thrown into the pit. It was amazing how easily potential conflict between smokers and non-smokers was resolved and made a non-issue.

Of course, we also had a camp free of the bullshit and bafflegab of the anti-smoker zealots..

At any rate, it was a great holiday.

1 comment:

bannedsmoker said...

Hey! Right on!

I was wondering where you were.

Glad to see you are back and I am glad you enjoyed your vacation.

I know the east coast is beautiful. I havn't even visited it all yet and I even live there :(

but I can't wait to see the west coast. All the mountains and stuff they have over there.

And ski resorts :D

It was amazing how easily potential conflict between smokers and non-smokers was resolved and made a non-issue.

The sad part about that is that it always was easy to avoid potential conflict from the very start of all this fiasco, but *they* don't want that.

If *they* can see to it...