New Yorkers, brave New Yorkers, have largely kicked that old, nasty, but sometimes oddly seductive habit of putting semi-flammable cancer-causing objects in their mouths and lighting them. Today Mayor Bloomberg said that the number of smoking New Yorkers is down to 14 percent. Back in 2002 the city counted 22 percent of puffing stalwarts among its ranks! There are 450,000 fewer adult smokers in New York than nine years ago, and also, even teens — teens! — aren’t smoking. This along with the news that nobody does cocaine anymore could really mess with a person’s belief in getting a nice unhealthy buzz on now and again. What are we, a land of wimps?
Why less smoking? Bloomberg, of course, would credit everything he’s done, including banning smoking in workplaces, bars, restaurants, public parks, beaches, basically any of the more attractive places you might want to go to have a cigarette. Also, a pack of cigarettes is more dear than the Swarovski crystal-studded iPhone case you bought for your mom last year. All this progress fighting against something that we pretty much know will kill us (and sometimes, those around us!) is empowering, until we start to wonder…what comes next?
What other, malicious killer is patiently waiting out there, harbored in the shadows, ready to take smoking’s place, ready to engage in battle with the government when the last smoker goes to that great smokehouse in the sky or is made bankrupt and has to switch to clove? Will it be…
2. Babies that get drunk “accidentally in bars” and then throw the complimentary crayons, hitting you in that spot right between your eyes, which kills you automatically, and in a fucking Applebee’s?
3. Falling walk signs? Falling air conditioners? Falling down and hitting that spot right between your eyes, which kills you automatically, and wow, that’s mortifying? (Remember how your mom used to call you “Grace”? She was being sarcastic.)
4. Rats that bite you in the peep toe of your open-toed shoe while you’re waiting for the subway to come, infecting you with bubonic plague, which you then spread around town while innocently sharing Cosmo-tinis with your gal pals?
5. Karaoke dance-offs?
6. Getting old and dying?
Oh, God, we hope it’s not #6.