Merritt Beckett, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Merritt Beckett, Arts Editor

Never have two groups of people been so compelled to offer their unsolicited opinions and advice to absolute strangers as in the case of the non-smoker to the smoker, and the Godly to the un-Godly.

I cannot even begin to estimate the number of non-smokers and Jesus-people that have come up to me at random to offer their most sincere desire that I find the Lord and quit smoking.

There is a bizarre connection between non-smokers and the Jesus-people. They somehow have a monopoly on that part of the brain that encourages mankind to meddle.

All too often, I am approached by the religious and the tobacco-free as they pine to protect my health and save my soul. I understand that these people truly and deeply feel that they have my best interests in mind and that they seem to feel solely responsible for my safety in this life and the next, but is this really necessary?

Personally, I find the habit of nail biting to be repulsive. The very sight of it makes me cringe with nausea. I think of all the germs and scum that are at rest under the human nail, and become ill that I must witness people forcing their fingertips into their mouths as if they are in attendance at some sort of self-contained feast. If given the option, I would prefer that these people not dine on their own flesh. However, I am apparently fortunate enough to lack the meddling gene. I realize that the choice is ultimately not mine and therefore I refrain from offering my two-cents-worth to the nail-biting community.

I have no appreciation for the art of nail-biting; just as Jesus-people and non-smokers apparently have no appreciation for the art of God-free, smoke-filled lifestyles. The difference is that I, unlike my Jesus-people/non-smoking counterparts, would not be so bold as to share my distaste for nail-biting with just anyone I happen to come across.

I do not care if Joe Schmo on the street has found his personal savior and I care even less about the nature of his personal habits. It makes me wonder why my smoking habit and my lack of a religion is of particular interest to those who do not know me from Eve.

Smoking a cigarette is a divine feeling, one that I enjoy frequently and with much pleasure.

There is however, a down side. No, I will not soon begin to ramble aimlessly as to the nature of the health risks involved. And the likelihood that I am going to apologize to the unfortunate few who are unwillingly subjected to my second hand smoke is slim. I would rather bathe in a tub of battery acid than offer my apologies to the world of non-smokers.

Before jumping down my throat and clogging my smoke passage for all eternity, please allow me to explain.

Non-smokers have forced me outdoors to huddle with my cigarette around an ashtray in sub-arctic temperatures one too many times. I am not sympathetic, I am bitter. The down side to being a smoker is non-smokers.

The pleasure of being guilt… I mean, Jesus-free, also has its not-so-bright side. The Jesus-people are so consumed with their meddling that they stand on street corners chanting, pass out pamphlets in airports and peddle their opinions door to door. Those who have Jesus in their heart are far too interested in putting Him into mine. Again, the down side to being a non-Jesus-person is the Jesus-people. Sound familiar?

I do not care much for Jesus. I doubt if he thinks much of me either. But personal feelings aside, having Him inside me just would not work. Jesus and I would have definite incompatibility issues. Being that he spent a good portion of his time on earth comparing the human body to a temple, I imagine that he is a non-smoker; and smokers and non-smokers should not share a residence. If given the chance, Jesus would probably sit in my soul and cough and choke and carry on in hopes that I put out my cigarette. Fat chance—not for Joe Schmo and not for Jesus either!

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