I’ve been air-cigarette smoking for years now. Oh no, I don’t actually smoke. I just mime the act of smoking while in conversation. It’s pretty effective in illustrating a person or animal that’s acting all blasé. It usually drums up a laugh. Surely my kids wish I’d quit but it’s tough to give up.
Here’s an example of a story in which I’ve air-smoked to great effect. When our dog Lee goes to the park, the moment he enters the pen he causes a raucous among the other dogs. Perhaps you’re thinking he’s either a special breed or smells like compost. Neither. It’s because he still has his balls. Dogs can immediately sense when others are still intact and it irritates the shit out of them. They’re like “Hey, that guy somehow avoided being castrated! WTF!” It only takes a second for news of the infuriating injustice to spread.
So handsome Lee will show up all chipper and cruise around the area, engrossed in sniffing and peeing, while the other canines are passing out pitchforks and lighting lanterns. The wild-eyed pugs and huskies instantly unify and spread the news in hushed tones “He’s got balls. He’s got balls.” Here’s where I’ll mime Lee on the other hand, all unimpressed by the mob scene and so oblivious that he’s actually air-smoking. Here’s also where my audience will inadvertently throw Lee an impressed glance. They’ll be thinking ‘Hmm. He’s got balls AND he smokes. Impressive.”
My friend Brittany air smokes too. Sometimes she’ll even take an air-drag and put the cigarette out for added effect. She’ll throw it down and stomp on it with a little twist to make sure she doesn’t cause a ‘forest fire.’ This kills me every time.
We have to be very cautious who we air-smoke around. You see, we live in Portland, Oregon and, well, real smokers are lynched on the West Coast. We’ve surmised that the people who laugh heartily at our mimicry are those who’ve truly inhaled their fare share Marlboro Lights back in the day. Conversely, it takes the pure-lunged a bit longer to catch on. Their simpering laughs are like limp handshakes.
We also try to make sure no kids are around. If they are, we’ll turn our backs to them so they can’t see us. We are not always successful. One day Brittany’s friend Alice called her out. Alice nodded over at her 4 year old and whispered “You know, Brittany, my daughter smokes now.”
“Pardon?” Brittany replied, spitting up her coffee.
“Yup, she’s been doing that thing you do with fake cigarettes.”
After that little reckoning, we talked of quitting. But even small chuckles make it worth being that parent who air-smokes.