Friday, 17 July 2015

The Hamartia that is Smoking

My favourite book of all time (this changes a lot), Looking for Alaska, had a single hamartia. Cigarettes! Everyone smoked in that book. Everyone. The only major character that was not a smoker was The Eagle. But if you think about it, he probably smoked in the privacy of his house when everyone was away, seeing as Alaska said one time,  and I quote: 
"He's just happy most everyone's gone. He's probably masturbating for the first time in a month."

I detest smoking, and that's smokING, not necessarily smokERS. I have found that smokers generally tend to be rad, - of above average intelligence individuals. So I don't have a problem with smokers, my problem is with the act of smoking. I do not understand it. I do not think it makes any sense. My view of smoking is perhaps mirrored perfectly by Hazel Grace's reaction to Gus Waters when she saw him pick a stick of cigarette from a pack and put it in his mouth in The Fault In Our Stars, my second favourite book of all time (this changes a lot!) here: 
'Then Augustus Waters reached into a pocket and pulled out, of all things, a pack of cigarettes. He flipped it open and put a cigarette between his lips.
"Are you serious?" I asked. "You think that's cool? Oh, my God, you just ruined the whole thing."
"Which whole thing?" he asked, turning to me. The cigarette dangled unlit from the unsmiling corner of his mouth.
"The whole thing where a boy who is not unattractive or unintelligent or seemingly in any way unacceptable stares at me and points out incorrect uses of literality and compares me to actresses and asks me to watch a movie at his house. But of course there is always a hamartia and yours is that oh, my God, even though you HAD FREAKING CANCER you give money to a company in exchange for the chance to acquire YET MORE CANCER. Oh, my God. Let me just assure you that not being able to breathe? SUCKS. Totally disappointing. Totally."'
Lol! The key word to point out there is "Hamartia" - A fatal flaw. And I really think smoking is a hamartia. No matter how cool and rad and intellectually blessed you are, you are fatally flawed if you are a smoker.
Did you know that in a population where smoking is common it causes:
— 90% of lung cancer;
— 15 to 20% of other cancer;
— 75% of chronic bronchitis;
— 25% of cardiovascular disease related deaths
— 16% of total annual incidences of cancer
— 12% of tuberculosis deaths?
Everything is wrong with smoking and there is no other way to look at it. It is a scourge, a murderer. It is like a prostitute serial killer that has sex with one before bringing out the sharp knife tucked under the pillow. I don't think smokers enjoy smoking because how do you enjoy inhaling smoke into your lungs? How? I have thought about this and I think it is the idea of smoking that smokers enjoy. The idea of 'yes, I have this killing thing between my lips and it is lit, but I am alive. I AM IMMORTAL.' The idea that smoking is cool, that smoking is what the 'fetch' guys do, it is what the cool guys do. It is how to be cool, taking pictures of you and your friends smoking and posting it on Instagram. Truth is, that idea is so twentieth century. These days, the cool guys read John Green novels and metaphorical poems, that is how to be cool in the 21st century. You are welcome!
 Till next time,, Stop Smoking!