Also known as mid-term elections.

I’m just now getting over the anguish from last week’s elections. I think I’m taking a healthy approach to all of it though; surely everyone who voted the other way is wrong.

I overheard a heated discussion about one of the amendments that was voted on last week. I did not get involved in the conversation – they were already having enough fun without me. Anyway, I thought I would take the cowardly step of venting my feelings to no one in particular (the vast, silent void that is my audience). Hhhhhhhh…haaaaaa. They were talking about the “no indoor smoking” amendment that just passed. One person mentioned that they could not go into a restaurant without getting exposed to smoke, and took the position that the amendment was a good thing. The other person stated that “it’s your choice to expose yourself to the smoke or leave; to vote with your patronage.” Can you guess their position? The first person came back with the assertion that there were few restaurants that did not allow smoking, and that the only real choice would be to not eat out at all. The second person stated that the issue was personal liberties, disappearing personal liberties. They claimed that if you draw a line that excludes one personal liberty it is a slippery slope to drawing more lines, eliminating more personal liberties. This is where I step in and cowardly submit to all of you that this was a pile of steaming horse crap. Since when did we not draw lines that excluded “personal liberties.” We have a long history of drawing such lines, particularly when “personal liberties” cause others harm. The facts are these: cigarette smoke causes people harm, the harm is not limited to the smokers themselves, and the harm is not limited to abstract, far down the line problems. It can cause immediate breathing problems. It can cause immediate side effects such as eye irritation, nasal congestion and headache. We are not free to wear weapons grade plutonium as jewelry because it can do others harm. We are not free to walk up to someone smoking and punch them in the nose to vent our frustration because it may do them harm. I am not worried that these “personal liberties” have been taken away from me because I don’t think I should have them in the first place. I must say don’t think the smokers are being mean. I do think they tend to dismiss my complaints as being “just in your head.” Smokers just don’t feel my pain. I can understand this because I’ve walked in those shoes. I used to think the same thing about my wife, while we were still dating. That ended one day when her breathing became audible only to dogs and we went for a visit with our friends in the ER.

So go ahead and tell me my raging headache is just in my head. Tell it to my wife who had to walk outside to take a puff on her inhaler. Tell it to the scores of others who have every right pursue life, liberty and happiness, so long as it does not involve going out for a nice dinner. No, I don’t think they should stop cooking in peanut oil because some people have food allergies. We can still go out to eat if we order something that doesn’t have the peanut oil. No, I do not think perfume should be banned. We can refrain from wearing it ourselves, and we can usually avoid it pretty well. It’s rare that I notice someone’s perfume from across the room. cigarette smoke is another matter. The particulates in the smoke carry in breeze like nuclear fallout. We can’t seem to avoid it, unless we don’t go out at all. Is that fair to us? Why can’t smokers step outside for their nicotine fix? Why don’t they stay home if they don’t like it? Better yet, why not quit? Didn’t anyone tell them that smoking isn’t good for you?

Thankfully, the issue appears moot.

Here endeth the rant.