Moncton — With a faraway look and an air of solemnity, Moncton smoker George Miles — standing the required nine metres away from the entrance of the Econo Lodge bar and holding court to party of apathetic day drunks — reminisced on better times when smoking was acceptable in public places and butting one out on an unsuspecting child’s tender cheek was considered a basic social norm.
“You know,” he said amid the hacking and wheezing audience of dead-eyed alcoholics spending their pension cheques on VLTs, “there used to be a day when being a smoker commanded respect. Where if you wanted to light one up at church, take a piss in the holy water and force the pencil-neck pastor to drink it, no one said a word.
“I remember visiting my dying grandmother at the Moncton hospital in ’78,” he continued, “and do you think anyone had a problem with my smoking? No. The nurses would light my cigarettes and I used the comatose body of some old broad next to my grandmother as my ashtray. I would spit in her mouth for good measure and the doctors encouraged it.”
As of press time, Miles is a jerk.