In March 14 IssueRussell County NewsBy Debbie Bell, Columnist
This has been a most frustrating week, bordering on the verge of pure anger. Our economy is getting worse every day and our middle class is slowly disappearing. We are becoming a nation of the “Have” and “Have Nots”.
Most of us in the “Have Not” column have have had to make many personal sacrifices. I haven't been out to eat with friends in a long time. Groceries have gotten so high that I eat only once a day and 9 out of 10 times it's a can of tomato soup.
Christmases have gotten smaller and smaller, this year it may be non-existent.
I haven't purchased anything new from a store in years. I get everything I need from yard sale. I'm not even going to be able to afford to go to yard sales this summer unless they'll be so kind to open a lay-away plan!
The only pleasure I have afforded myself is to smoke. I'm not condoning or promoting smoking. If you don't smoke, please don't start. There can be health risks and it is a most difficult habit to kick. But- it is legal and it is a personal choice and liberty that I and many of my friends choose. I started smoking as a teenager and continued for many years until- yes- severe respiratory problem started to affect my health.
I made a choice to stop smoking because I wanted to be there for my children. It was the most difficult thing I have ever undertaken. I ballooned- no blimped up to 330 pounds. I tried dieting, but could not take the weight off. I would get so winded that my husband would drop me off at the door of Kroger while he found a place to park. I have actually backed my car down the driveway to go check the mail, instead of walking.
Some people are perfectly happy and healthy with their weight (as they should be) but I wasn't. I hated the way I looked and my confidence on myself really eroded. So, after 12 years of not smoking (except leaning into other people's second hand smoke) I made a conscious choice to start smoking again. I traded one health hazard for another and until the day they make smoking illegal, I have every right to that choice. Besides, when I die I want to be cremated into one jar not two.
While I certainly understand how cigarette smoking can lead to all sorts of lung and breathing problems there are things that Doctors tell you that are affiliated with smoking that I will never believe. Such as second hand smoke is more dangerous than actual smoking.
Please, I'm the one inhaling the smoke deep into my lungs. Besides, so many restrictions have been put on us smokers. We have only certain designated areas in which to smoke. Soon to be eliminated to our homes and vehicles.
Secondly, how in the world does smoking cause cervical cancer? I don't care how messed up I am I always know which end I'm smoking from, if you know what I mean. Excuse me but I just don't believe everything they blame smokers for.
Now the government has decided to single out smokers and punish them with a $10 tax in cigarettes per carton. It wasn't a gradual, small hike in cost such as stamps going up, which was irritable but doable.
Smoking is one of the few pleasures a poor person has in this unfair, cruel, economically strapped society. Smoking so reduces my day to day stress. When we, my friends and I, can't afford to do other things, we can gather together around the table and drink coffee, smoke, and talk.
If we are going to be taxed on all things that are a health risk, let's do it fairly and across the board. Lets put a $10 tax on a gallon of ice cream or chewing gum, which causes cavities and raises all of our debtal costs.
Why don't we have two lines at McDonald's. Those who appear perfectly fit and healthy can pay regular price for a value meal. All others can pay an extra $10 tax on their Big Mac.
We are all sinners when it comes to unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors. We are all going to die one way or another, death is inevitable. The world is is a crowed place and we smokers are just doing our part to help with over population (are you listening Octomom?). Please let us pick our own poison.
Kroger has Marlboros on sale this week. So I rushed down there on Sunday, hoping to get a carton at a reasonable price, only to find out a lot of other people must have had the same idea, because they were all gone.
Monday morning I dashed back to Krogers only to find out the truck had come in and the Marlboros all sold out immediately. The next truck was due to be in on Wednesday. Now I'm almost out of cigarettes and I have limited money and I so need those that are on sale. If I am already having this aggravation, I can foresee what the future portends. When a store advertises a sale on cigarettes we smokers will camp out there the night before a shipment is due. The next morning when the truck rolls in, we'll all make a mad dash to the store, trampling each other to death in the process. In smoking households domestic violence will ensue, since we always take things out on those we love.
Ultimately, smoking marijuana will be cheaper, so we will all end up in jail. Car jacking will be forever changed. We'll say, “No sir, I don't want your car- just hand over your smokes and no one will get hurt.” Mental institutions will be full to overflowing. I, myself, and already planning on joining the other fellow sign carriers at Northridge Shopping Center. My will read, “Hot and ready in 5 minutes! Will 'work' for cigarettes!”
If things continue in this vein I'm going to have to look for another vice. Maybe I'll take up drinking. Whoops! They've jacked up taxes on that vice, too. Now, the hardworking man (or woman) won't be able to come home from a long day at work and relax with a cigarette or an ice cold beer. I think it's high time we raised the taxes on the “Have”'s vices, such as botox, and all the endless, unnecessary, plastic surgeries.
Although I an one those tree hugging, gun hating, liberals, I am so very frustrated, so I'm going to sign off, step outside and punch a tree.
So until next time-