Monday, August 17, 2009

The smoking violin

Each week in the Lakesider (our weekly newspaper) there's a notice about smoking in "public areas." By next summer you won't be able to step outside a shop, restaurant or auditorium to smoke, because you'll be on public grounds. Depending on how that's interpreted, everything here belongs to the association except your cottage. An oldtimer told me last week (because we've only been coming here since 1974 we aren't oldtimers yet) that when he was a child, the cars and luggage were searched carefully before visitors were given a gate pass to be sure no one was bringing in alcohol. Not sure what they'll do about the smoking violinist I've been seeing for 30 years. Every day during symphony season, he walks the streets when he's not performing or in rehearsal. This man probably walks 4 or 5 hours a day and looks no different than the first time I saw him.

Smoking is rather rare these days among the educated middle and higher income group. It's just not reinforced among your peers, the way it was in high school, or the working place of blue collar workers. Obama's first tax was on the poor, less educated and lower income people. His plan to tax the middle income is buried with the health care premiums combined with the tax code in his single payer plan. The Lakeside violinist is probably not wealthy, but the new tax didn't defer him. I imagine his wife, mother, colleagues, doctor, pastor, friends, everyone has told him to stop. I don't think Lakeside rules or the President (who hasn't stopped smoking himself) with higher taxes, will stop him. It's a mind altering drug, and terribly addictive, particularly if started young when the brain is still developing.

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