There is an office building directly west of mine that I have to drive past to get to my office. Nearly every time I drive by there is a rather obese man in an illfitting shirt and tie pacing back and forth, having a smoke. Whether I’m coming in for the day at 9:30, leaving for lunch at 11:30, getting back from lunch at 2:30 or going home for the day at 3:30 (I work really really hard) the guy is out there relaxing away in the shade, taking a nice slow drag. He has become affectionately known as ‘Fat Guy, Smokin’” around my office. Smokin’ Fat Guy seems more grammatically correct but for some reason, he is Fat Guy, Smokin’. Some days he’s not there and I usually assume he has dropped dead; we can’t be too far away from that happening. But the next day he’s back at his post and my hope in humanity is renewed.
I don’t know why I find this guy so interesting. Am I just laughing at a fat guy from a distance? Odds are good I’ll be fatter than him someday (No I won’t. I vow to the moon and stars that I won’t!). Does he make me feel superior because “I am healthy, I don’t smoke. I listened in 7th grade health class. Bla bla bla”? I don’t think so. In fact, I think smoking is pretty damn cool. They are breathing fire into their lungs and blowing it back out into the air. That’s pretty friggin cool. I especially like it when they snort it out their nose like a dragon. You can't tell me James Dean doesn’t look like a total badass with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth. Who hasn’t pretended to hold a cigarette when it’s cold out and your breath is foggy?
Now, I have never smoked a cigarette and I never will (relax, Mom). But if my circumstances were different, I can totally see myself as a smoker. If I grew up in a house where my parents smoked or if all my friends in high school smoked, I just might be out there right now with Fat Guy Smokin' talking about how there’s no way that one Chinese gymnast is sixteen.
There are a few things about myself that are different from most folks. I totally prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Most people love the Dave Matthews Band, I can’t stand them. And I enjoy second hand smoke. I know, I know. I’m supposed to cough self righteously and shun those weak, miserable souls that suckle at the filtered teat of the evil big tobacco lobby. But I don’t. In fact, I have had enough shit jobs that involve outdoor, manual labor to become quite a connoisseur of second hand smoke.
In high school, I worked with a one thumbed, burned out, alcoholic hippie named Randy at
This last week I have noticed Fat Guy Smokin' has been out there with Fat Lady, Smoking. It’s quite romantic. I imagine they are discussing which kind of ham they are going to buy with that month’s supply of Marlboro Miles. Soon they’ll get married and have little Fat Babies, Smoking. Their low birth weight due to FLS’s pregnant smoking, will be compensated with a baby bottle full Mountain Dew and steady diet of nacho cheese. Babies love nacho cheese. Soon they will have a whole clan. A Fat Family, Smokin’, rolling around town in their maroon colored van with blown shocks, hotboxing the carton of Camels they just bought at Costco. It makes me smile.
So I guess I am interested in Fat Guy, Smokin' because I am a judgmental prick that likes to feel superior by taking cheap shots at someone that I don’t know. But you know what? If you enjoyed this article, at least a little bit, you’re a judgmental prick too. So suck it. Welcome to the mire.