You might be saying, hey, Lily, don’t be mad! Cigarettes kill you! Haven’t you seen those incredibly terrifying advertisements?! Indeed, friend, I have, and I don’t smoke, so don’t worry. Those advertisements really sunk in. In fact, I think they sunk in too much. You know how smoking has always been portrayed as something that “the cool kids” do and that’s how they will corrupt you and you’ll take one drag of a cigarette and then BAM, you’ll be in the 13th Circle of Hell, partying with Johnny Depp and Madonna? Well, there’s some truth to that.
Let’s take a quick look at who smokes: Europeans. Cool. Russians. Cool. Connor Martini. Cool. All of these people have things like great fashion sense, or winter sports abilities, or the ability to drink vodka without wanting to die, or ubiquitous control over the Class of 2014. I know, I was as surprised as you were at the discovery that Putin’s takeover has reached as far as Vassar, but, friends, it’s true. He’s our new class president. Connor Martini just dresses well. Still cool.
Anyways, if all of those people are “cool” and are just offering cigarettes to youth all willy-nilly, then why have I not been offered one? You’d think an older sister would have tried to draw me in with her nefarious habits at some point. Especially in high school.
It’s well known that high school is prime “cigarette addiction” time, because you’re youthful, and that’s the time when strangers offer you modeling contracts but you’re still dumb enough to believe that they were sincere, and you do stuff like buy clothes from Forever 21 and are impressed by their “quality.” At that time, I was a teacher’s daughter who read Harry Potter repeatedly. I was a prime target for corruption. But no. Clearly, I am so dramatically uncool that it didn’t even seem worth it. Why even bother? Not even smoking can help me. It would just be a waste of a cool stick (what I call cigarettes).
Even when I was abroad, Europeans smoked their cigarettes casually around me, never offering one up. Europeans, goddammit! They offer their cigarettes to everyone! They have cigarette trees! Their cats smoke! They won’t sell you a coffee unless you also have a cigarette to smoke with it, because if you are going to stain your teeth one way, you might as well go all the way. These are all true facts that you should probably consider before going abroad. Somehow, despite not being able to escape cigarettes in Italy, I was never offered one.
This is not to say that I actually want to smoke a cigarette. Not because of any particular reason, except for the fact that I think I’d choke when I breathe in and possibly die (not cool). I just have never really been interested, despite the very convincing argument that you should ‘‘try everything once!”
You know what I’m not going to try once? Snake charming. Jumping out of an airplane. Unicycling. Wheatgrass shots. Using candle wax to give myself a Brazilian. Traveling to Death Valley in the middle of the summer. Eating the Tequila worm. Stop telling me to try shit! I don’t want to! If I wanted to, I would try it, but wheatgrass is stupid and bicycling with two wheels is hard enough for me! Along the same lines, if I wanted to smoke a cigarette, I would just go to the store and buy a pack and try one and donate the rest of them to the Russians who are in charge of the senior class.
Maybe my lack of desire to try one is the reason I have never been offered. Maybe someone busts out a cigarette and the light and joy in my eyes dies immediately. Maybe there is some shared symbol that people who smoke have. Say there is a smoker next to me, and another smoker walks by, then they tap their left arm twice, then pull their ear and that way, the smoker next to me knows not to bother. It seems that the closest I can get to the cool cigarette brands lifestyle is through spending a lot of money on a camel. Whatever I’m doing, it’s working, and I am willing to sell my secret to anti-cigarette commercial campaigns, in exchange for a job and an apartment and a 12-15 page political science research paper.