Smoking damages the tissues in your penis, but Viagra makes it all right, like Jesus died for your sins. You can sin and then repent, make it work in God’s eyes. You can take the little blue pill, you can bring a woman to orgasm, and afterwards lay propped up in bed enjoying a cigarette together. You’ll never see her again. She’ll never see you again.

Smoking damages a lot of body parts. The airplane doesn’t allow it. You can’t disable the sensor in the toilet. The flight attendant watches you as if she knows that smoking is your healthiest vice. She is fresh from martial arts training. She knows how to control people in tight spaces, how to neutralize their bad intentions. She itches to try out her new skills. You live in a small space in a large world.

My rental car doesn’t allow smoking. I open all the windows to the hot desert air. The tip of my cigarette is no hotter. For the first time in weeks I relax.

 

J. Robert Oppenheimer was a smoker too. We also shared the genius designation. He died, aged sixty, after smoking four packs of unfiltered Chesterfields a day all his life, from the time he was five years old. He was a prodigy in so many ways. He built THE BOMB, then got blacklisted for being a commie.

No matter how good you are, no matter how bad, they’ll get you. Like Dylan said: Everybody must get stoned. He also said: It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

I serve ice cream to children. It’s my job. Even with my PhD, it was the best I could get. The world recognized Oppenheimer’s genius. It does not recognize mine. It doesn’t bother me anymore. I’d rather serve children than the Devil or the Lord.