Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Smoking in the stacks.

I love watching people smoke. I read a story recently that says that the tobacco companies paid Hollywood to get their actors to smoke on television and in the movies.

But that's what makes those movies so awesome. How could you have James Cagney, Bette Davis or Humphrey Bogart without cigarettes? Without smoke? Read Roger Ebert's blog for his thoughts on movies and smoking.

Notice: For all children and California liberals reading this: smoking is yucky and smelly and dirty, and if you smoke you won't have any friends because nobody likes people who smoke.

But boy, smoking is so cool.

I was never a smoker myself, which is how I got on the path to library school. As a junior in high school, my career counselor offered me a cigarette, as he did to all students. If you were able to smoke with him, and laugh and joke about the dorks in the school, you received an excellent recommendation to an out of state university, or, if you managed to scam the whole pack from him, you got an introduction to the local International Brotherhood of Teamsters shop steward.

I coughed at my first puff and was sent to the library to sort the back issues of Newsweek.

So I think libraries should be smoker-friendly. Paper and fire is like bread and butter or like butter and heart disease.

I want to blow smoke rings while patrons drone on about how long it's been since they've been to a library without getting to the point of why they visited today. I want to gesture with a lit butt to get people to back away from the information desk. I want to point to the information on my monitor with my cigarette until the heat melts the protective layer of the LCD screen to leave tiny bubbles in the plastic. And I want ten cigarette breaks a day.


The only other times it's socially acceptable to hold fire is during the 4th of July or on a late night visit to Frankenstein's castle or when you want the band to play Free Bird.

Libraries would be much cooler places if we could smoke. And librarians, well, we wouldn't be just librarians any more: we'd be movie stars.