Friday, May 4, 2007

Marlboro Man

like cigarettes. I'm a smoker; not a particularly heavy smoker -- about 15 nails a day -- but a smoker just the same. I derive great pleasure from tobacco, which I find to be mentally stimulating and physically relaxing at once.

I am considerate of others in my indulgence: I don't ask to smoke in non-smokers' homes or cars, nor do I exhale my fumes in the direction of others. I don't cast my butts about carelessly. I wash my hands after a cigarette and I am one of the world's leading individual consumers of Febreze. I oppose indoor smoking bans, but I honor them when they are imposed, as they have been in my adoptive home of New Jersey, neighboring New York, and most recently, my home state of Ohio.

Because of my judicious and courteous tobacco practices, I feel justified in giving no quarter to busybodies. Any and all unsolicited advice on the health effects of my legal, adult behavior from strangers is met with the ill humor and insult it rates. I've reduced two grossly obese women to tears, tainted the lexicons of ill-reared children with the imprecations of longshoremen and soldiers, issued Blackwellian sartorial critiques, and mocked the belief structure of a hectoring Scientologist. And I'm likely not done yet.

Anyway, I sometimes smoke when I'm out birding, though almost never in the company of others. I always select my site, light up, extinguish, and pocket my ends with due diligence to the prevention of litter and fire. I never treat myself near dry brush, grass, or wood, nor smoke unsheltered from high wind that can carry off a spark. I snuff 'em in water if it's around, others are rubbed in dewy grass, or ground on the sole of my boot if necessary.

I have never observed any repellent effect on my subjects. If anything, they seem to sense my preoccupation and appear when I can't deploy my bins, just as they uncannily detect opportunities for back-lighting and interpose themselves with devilish glee precisely between the sun and my eyes.

All this to bring up the fact that I encountered another birder in LSP today, a Brit whom I've seen a time or two else, and I'll be damned if he didn't fire up a heater!

Smoke 'em if you got 'em, brother. Solidarity.

In actual birding news: Nada nueva on the warbler front, but Eastern Kingbird has made the scene.

It's been a little sparse for a couple days. LSP's got a bad feral cat problem, and they've got keen instincts for the best spots in the area -- two on the IC path today, and a third in the wood-fenced marsh in the center of the park.


corey said...

Amen...and though I don't leave my butts around either I've read that some birds will rub them on their feathers, which helps keep parasites away!

Paul said...

You don't say, very interesting. I've seen butts used as nesting material by urban Starlings and House Sparrows (spun cellulose is pretty strong), but never heard this.


Dave said...

My question is, to you tend to light up after a really great bird sighting?