stories

The Last of The Smoker - Chapter 1 - page 2

I DO NOT LIKE CIGARETTE SMOKE

Apparently, by that time it was common practise for people to indicate their dislike of smoking on their namecards, but I didn't know that and consequently I was very annoyed. It was unlikely that someone working as a magazine editor had not heard about the heavy smoking habit of a writer as well-known as I was. But even if she didn't know, handing over a card like that to someone who may well be a smoker - and even if he wasn't - especially when you have come to commission work from him, was extremely rude.

I stood up immediately and said, "I see. Well, I'm very sorry." They both stared at me in surprise. "I'm afraid I'm a chain-smoker. I couldn't possibly discuss work without smoking. I'm sorry you had to come all this way."

The woman's eyes flashed with rage. The young man hastily rose to his feet. I heard him spluttering apologies to me as I left the room.
The two of them finally made their exit, muttering to one another as they went.

They had travelled four hours from Tokyo and I began to wonder if I hadn't overreacted. I suppose I could have gone without a cigarette for an hour or so, but why should I have to make such an effort? It's not as though they were suffering from some medical condition which might cause them to drop dead the moment I lit up. On the other hand, if they had tried to put up with my smoking in order to discuss work, that clearly would have been irritating for them and might even have led to an ugly quarrel. The thought of all this seemed to justify my behaviour.

Unfortunately for me, this woman was one of the leaders of the Anti-Smoking movement. Brimming with indignation, she dashed off articles to a host of magazines strongly criticising me personally, as well as smokers in general. The point is that smokers are obstinate, bigoted, arrogant, self-righteous, intolerant people who are blinded by vanity and selfishness. Having to work alongside smokers causes terrible distress leading to failure. Smoking should therefore be banned from all workplaces.
This writer's novels could turn you into a smoker, and therefore they sh ould not be read. The point is that all smokers are stupid. Therefore al l smokers are crazy.