Best purveyor of carcinogenic materials (2008)


Despite Mike Bloomberg's moral crusade against cigarettes, it's impossible to stop smoking as long as a friendly fellow we'll just call Ram peddles his wares on 34th Street. No matter how infrequently we smokers sidle up to his kiosk near Penn Station—I mean, why buy smokes in Manhattan when you can spend a lot less on Long Island—Ram knows your brand and has a pack waiting for you, complete with a friendly word or two. This guy has you nailed for your particular brand of nails even if you've been to his stand only once or twice. Yes, yes, that creepy nuclear plant at Indian Point is probably a lot more dangerous than one single cigarette purveyor. But we prefer the personal touch as we approach death's door. So what exactly is Ram's secret? Is it our cough that gives us away as a Marlboro Ultra Light consumer? No, it's just that Ram is an intelligent fellow, having studied math and history in India before emigrating to the U.S. Let's be blunt: He's obviously good with numbers, which makes him a skilled merchant, and he's a history buff, so he knows we smokers are doomed to repeat our purchases (not to mention that we're just plain doomed). Ram's ability to help us kill ourselves is uncanny—and disheartening. Now we can't give up smoking, because we'd hate to disappoint him. Another good excuse to keep lighting up.


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >