I’m going to try being less afraid and more angry in the coming weeks, months, years.
There’s so much to be mad about these days, and anger—when channeled properly—can be productive instead of destructive. I’m incensed with a lot of people and situations lately. I know I should let this anger motivate me. I’ve done it before. I’ve got to stop being so lethargic, passive, sedentary.
Beware of lawyers; we’re professional bullshitters.
Not me personally, mind you. While I’m an attorney by education, my license is not currently active (because I chose not to fucking pay for the “privilege” anymore when it hasn’t made me a dime). But proceed with caution in a litigious nation filled with self-interested parties and their so-called advocates.
When one sees a politician approaching, one should plant his feet firmly and cross his arms defiantly across his chest. Bending over and grabbing one’s heels may be the conditioned response—but it’s not the proper one.
A certain Cleveland councilman—who to my knowledge is not a lawyer—recently introduced legislation that would ban smoking within a specified distance of any city-owned property. So not only would it be illegal to smoke inside any building that is not your home, it will be a punishable offense to light up outside, too—if you do it in the wrong place.
Say I’m taking a walk while puffing a Marlboro at the intersection of Berea and Madison Avenue and I pass by that fenced-in expanse of vacant lot designated the City of Cleveland has designated a “landbank.” Any cop spotting me there could write me a hundred-dollar ticket. Sound fair to you? How about folks who step outside a bar to light up, unawares that the building or lot next door is city-owned? Now they’re fucked, too.
Look, people. The government is not only taking away your rights and privileges these days its boner-inducing effort to fill its coffers. It’s imposing restrictions on what little freedoms we do have left. It’s happening right under out noses, a little each day.
Don’t mistake this as a pro-smoking argument. I know smoking is bad for me, and that second-hand smoke may be harmful to others. I acknowledge nicotine as a personal weakness—my greatest weakness, in fact—and realize it’s in the best interest of my health and bank account to cease and desist immediately. But hey, I smoke. And smoking is still legal, generally speaking. Hell, the government loves big tobacco. Lord knows it makes a killing from taxes slapped on cigarettes. It’s a big hypocritical, don’t you think, to decry the evils of smoking while holding out your hand for a multimillion dollar tithe from Phillip Morris? Do you think it’s right that the folks who built places like Cleveland Browns Stadium and Jacobs Field with sin taxes are no longer afforded so much as a 20-by-20 foot space anywhere on those properties to indulge? Do you think it’s proper for the government to keep profiting from Big Tobacco while telling you where not to smoke—and to make you pay more if you fail to comply, whether intentionally or not?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a smoker; the government will be coming for you and your vice / handicap / hang-up if it hasn’t already. They’ll find something “wrong” with you and penalize you for it. Are you fat? You’re going to pay soon if you’re not already. Have a dog? Pay up. Want the city to collect your trash each week? Pay, fucker. Speeding through the school zone? Our robot camera saw you. Write that check, motherfucker.
Hey—is that a cigarette you’re smoking in your car, on your morning commute, idling at a red light adjacent to a city park? Busted.
These elected officials are not your friends (generally speaking). They’re sock puppets to Big Government. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley weren’t wrong. You’re being watched, and surveillance—however passive it may seem—is a form of control. Your lifestyle, right down to seemingly insignificant modicums of human behavior, is being carefully regulated so as to increase revenue at the state, local, and national levels. Pay more for gas, more for water, more for sewage, the kid’s tuition…more for everything. What you don’t give, they’ll take.
If you let them.
Don’t be a tool. At the very least, be mindful someone’s trying to play you. Don’t fall for it. Push back, and push harder, and call attention to the scene. Our forefathers rebelled against mother England for reasons less egregious than what passes today for business. Why are we so idle?
Fuck your antiseptic Brave New World where people without vices kneel in submission to the overlords in your fascist regime—on camera and on cue. That’s not the kind of place I want to live in or have my children inherit.