Smoking ’til the Cowsills come home

User: mikef
Host: ts2
Date: Thu 12 Jul 5 09:08:59 PST 1991

Milvia support staff has continued to receive complaints about smoking in the building.  As everyone knows, this is a difficult and delicate issue.  On the one hand there are those who are truly sensitive to so-called “secondary smoke”.  They have complained about becoming ill from the smoke which gets into the air through the ventilation system, even when filters are used.

The Milvia support staff cannot and will not act as smoking police.  We cannot be placed in a situation where we are telling anyone what to do or not to do.  On the other hand, it is our responsibility to support all of you and to make your jobs as easy as we can.

We want to find a resolution here in Milvia.  If we don’t, without doubt the powers that be across the street will be asked to get involved.  We are open to any suggestions and we will do what we can to make any seemingly workable solution actually work.

User: carol:  no smoking…no driving your cars to work (it ruins my bike rides)

User: brian:  “Safe sex, Safe environment, Safe Driving, F**k, nothing has ever been accomplished by being safe.”  – Lemmy from “Motorhead”

User: hosler:   As for riding your bike to work, Berkeley has a number of bike paths, and if you wear you state regulated helmet, like you are supposed to…

User: carol:  Thank you, the state, for my regulated bike paths, for my regulation helmet (what does that have to do with the exhaust fumes I breathe??) and for my regulated life.  it’s a joy.

User: dave:  If auto drivers were more careful not to run over cyclists, then bike paths and the associated regulation wouldn’t be needed; but they’re not careful.  If the area around the printers on the second floor did not smell like shit, and if people were not sickened by that, and if the people causing the problem did not assert a “right” to do so and imply that this is some kind of political issue, then we would not be talking about enforcing the smoking-related regulations now.  As in the case of traffic regulations and so many other things, a few dirt wads can louse things up for everyone.

Under those conditions it seems to be a choice between regulation and lynching.

User: petrov: Shit is not what cigarettes smell like.

User: glp (Raoul – Often Implicated, Never Imitated):  I propose a regulation to ban the expulsion of intestinal gas in public places.  It not only smells very much like shit, but also presents a fire hazard if performed near those who smoke.

User: mikew:   am I missing something.  I thought it was now illegal to smoke in berkeley office buildings.  I thought that was why everyone smoked outside.

User: hosler:   you obviously work from home..

User: darryl:   I don’t know how to make everyone happy with their environment.

Berkeley City Ordinance 5713-N.S.:

“….smoking shall be prohibited in the following public areas of our buildings:

  • all lab areas
  • restrooms
  • kitchen areas
  • elevators
  • hallways and corridors

Smoking shall be permitted in closed offices when the office door is closed.  The use of a smoke filter is required in offices where smoking occurs.”

User: joel:  Those who smoke cigars and pipes live longer than those who do not smoke says the Dean (Dr. Dean Edell).  Within those that do not smoke, those who do not breathe second-hand smoke live longer than those who do.

User: carol:  You mean it’s good for me?  I knew there was a reason why I always feel so lively…

User: layton:  Clever people and grocers – they weigh everything.  – Zorba

I’ve noticed an unsettling and disquieting sentiment stealing into the smoking/non-smoking discussion.  The speeches are beginning to lose something of their viciousness and rancor!  What started out as wonderful soap-box oratory (a heart-warming example of dialectical prolepsis) – full of typical Yankee colloquialisms, bravado and guff; linear, causal and dualistic thinking, dilettantish ortho-praxiology and general moral high-handed ness – is in danger of degenerating into a kind of neologistic wimp-fest.  I feel a definite group hug coming on.  C’mon people, don’t have a cow, we can do better than that  —- all together now.

So, as usual, I’ll share a story.  This is one Garrison Keillor likes to tell in his Lake Wobegon way.

Poor Pete.  Cancer got him.  He always knew it would and in his last years kept a desperate watch for signs of it – the Seven Danger Signs was taped to his bathroom mirror – but without such hope: every day revealed a possible sign, something unusual, a little change of weight, a thickening, a “slight” lump, “some” soreness, a redness of the stool, a sore that was slow to heal (older guys heal slower) – then, that fateful Friday, he felt a definite lump on the back of his head and was dizzy and found blood on his toothbrush.  Lois was off to clean the church and he panicked – jumped in the car in his pants and t-shirt – it was Dr. DeHaven’s day off and besides Dr. DeHaven didn’t believe his cancer theory – so he headed for St. Cloud to a new doctor, and as only a panicky man would, passed a semi on a long right-hand curve going up the hill toward Avon, and there he suddenly met his end and his peace in the grills of a gravel truck.

User:  schip:  allus wunted to have me a piece o’ the grand gravel grills

User: carol:   If the right one don’t getcha, the left one will.

User: mikey:   Remember if things are coming your way, you’re probably in the wrong lane.

User: jeanh:   smoking is great.  i love it…i can blame everything – the nausea, alienation and headaches exhaustion depression, etc. on nicotine.

User: schip:   never in my life abused any drugs.

User: jeanh:   uh huh.  you have only been ‘nice’ to them…uh huh

User joel:  You can also blame any stress you have on smoking.  Six months after quitting smoking, the measured stress level is half what it is while you were smoking.  A smoking study quoted by the Dean.

User craig:  A 17-year-old girlfriend taught me to french-inhale when I was 15.  She was going out with one of the Cowsills.

User: brian:  I didn’t know you were in the Cowsills.

User jeanh:   Brian always perks up at the mention of the COWsills. 

Note from Jan: This is an email thread from long ago when email was only used by computer geeks. As you can probably guess, the smoking issue was never resolved. User Carol still refuses to wear a helmet or put on a seat belt; User Brian still perks up at the mention of the Cowsills; User Joel still quotes Dean Edell and User Layton still quotes Keiller. User Schip invented the world’s first jockstrap made entirely from barbed wire and lives in the New Mexico mountains with a pet rabbit who eats computer cables so good luck trying to reach him. He still doesn’t abuse drugs; he’s real nice to them.

User Craig claims this happened one hundred years ago.  He’s right.

8 thoughts on “Smoking ’til the Cowsills come home

  1. This post is funny. Reproducing an old email thread is like rummaging in the attic and finding a forgotten sack of early Mesozoic clothes and then laying them out and trying to recall how you looked. Of course, everything is out of fashion and new threads and materials have swept your earlier tastes away. Yet, there are the traces of your DNA on the smelly articles and just for a few minutes, while sitting there on the floor of the attic, you long for something that is lost. So I am also saying this post is sad and you have successfully carved out the theatrical mask of the laughing and crying actor. Thanks. Duke

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Delightful. Also I agree with Duke. It was wonderful being young and dumb. But the clothes don’t fit anymore. I didn’t get much smarter, but the energy is oh so different.
    Craig’s gonna be disappointed though. He was expecting this to be about his first French KISS. So you might have to (at least) repost his story about the couple on the roller coaster.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Carol – the only thing I know about the french kiss is the Cowsills angle. Here’s the roller coaster story:

      This weekend I took Rachel and a friend to Great America.  We went on a log-down-a-waterfall ride.  The log holds five people, single file, so they put a young (eighteenish?) couple in front of me; the woman in front, then the guy, then me.  She kept leaning back to kiss him while he fondled her breasts, all a few inches from my twitching beard.  They exchanged first names (!) between liplocks.  After the log plunged down the waterfall and stopped, the young woman turned to me and asked:

      “Did you get wet?”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good stuff, Jan! The other day, Mike was talking on the phone to someone much younger and trying to describe what the internet was like in the usenet days. Hard to believe it wasn’t a hundred years ago, or at least 50.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary. Yes, it was at one time a very secret language which management couldn’t speak. I compare those days to the Wild West. At least where we worked was like the wild west.


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