The Strategic Retreat

No, You Can’t Have A Cigarette

smoking guys
In a week and a half I will be starting my new job. Thanks haircut. This will affect my life in many ways: I’ll have more money, I’ll be underemployed outside of my house rather than inside my house, I’ll have to wake up early, I’ll have insurance, I’ll have a 401(k), I’ll get to work in a fancy building downtown and no more pantsless work.

Most of the changes will be favorable and in many ways I’m looking forward to my new gig. Regardless, I need the job as my girlfriend/fiance/domestic partner (whatever the kids call a lady friend these days) is finishing grad school next month and its my turn to supply the health insurance. I’ll be entering corporate America for at least a year as I weigh my choice between law school and keeping my soul.

This means I have less than two weeks to mentally prepare myself for a mass transit commute to work. The two most important phrases to remember when commuting to work sans car are; “No, you can’t have a cigarette” and “No, you can’t have a dollar”. Today I’ll address why I won’t give you a cigarette.

5. Cigarettes Are Bad For You

Cigarettes can contribute to premature death. That’s not just me talking, that’s the Surgeon General. The Surgeon General is both a surgeon and a general, not somebody you want to mess around with.
While I may choose to do things that harm me I don’t feel very ethical in assisting others in harming themselves. You may not have thought things through or you may not know the risks involved and its not my wish to spread harmful habits.

4. I Don’t Know You

There’s a difference between begging and borrowing. If a friend wants a cigarette, there’s a good chance he or she will reciprocate with a cigarette in the future. I’m simply lending out a commodity that will be paid back at a later time. I do not beg, therefore I do not ask strangers for cigarettes. This means I will never be reimbursed said cigarette from you, stranger. Even if I were one to bum a grit the chance that a bumee will have one to share at a later date is slim. This then becomes an act of charity. As a rule I do not engage in direct charity to individuals as I feel charitable organizations are better suited for allocating materials to the needy.

3. I Don’t Want To Encourage This Type Of Behavior

I don’t like strangers coming up to me, bothering me and asking me for stuff. I want to wait for my bus or train and be able to read or listen to music in peace. By rewarding people who disturb my solitude I would, in fact be, rewarding the behavior of disrupting me. Since I seek to limit this behavior it is in my best interest not to give you a cigarette.

2. Cigarettes Are Expensive

When I was younger name brand cigarettes, such as Marbs and Camels, were sold at the local Kwik Trip for $1.67 a pack. At that time giving out a cigarette cost just over 8 cents. Currently cigarettes go for about $4.00 a pack, therefore bumming out a grit costs me 20 cents. That’s nearly enough for a round of Dig Dug at Ground Kontrol. Seeing as how there are roughly 250 working days a year, bumming one grit a day would cost $50 a year, enough to buy a year on flickr and a case of Guinness. That total is at just one smoke a day, I commute round trip and usually get hit up more than once a journey. Because of this, bumming adds up to one fancy meal a year that I can’t take my girlfriend to because you don’t want to pay for your addiction.

1. I Don’t Smoke

And there’s that. If I did smoke I still wouldn’t give you a grit, due to reasons 2-5, but the fact is; I don’t. I understand that I’m poor and I wear a somewhat grungy jacket, this doesn’t mean you should try to con me out of my property. Not all poor people smoke. Some of us are poor due to having degrees in poli-sci/philosophy, the job opportunities available with said degrees and the student loans that made it all possible.

Please leave me alone and accept that you’re disrupting my reading/photography/musical enjoyment in order to beg. You are begging for 20 cents to feed an addiction. Those who don’t see themselves as beggars may want to reflect upon that.

About Jeff

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