It’s a strange, strange world. I saw a guy in a bar a couple months ago with a fake cigarette in his mouth, this little electric light on the end of it pretending to be fire. I figured it was some kind of placebo stick to help people ween themselves off smoking.
Yesterday I picked up my own addiction placation device (a pack of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum) from the local gas station and saw the electric cigarettes for sale. I asked the attendant if they contained any nicotine, thinking maybe, like the “patch,” the device doled out just enough juice to keep a smoker in the game.
“Yeah,” he said. “This one holds about four packs. When it’s done you just replace the filter tip.”
Four packs? There’s no weening involved at all. It’s just a smoke-less cigarette. You might as well keep a set of works in the glove compartment and shoot the nicotine directly into your vein before hitting the bars. That’s smoke-less, too.
I don’t know, man. The world keeps movin’ along. Crazy shit keeps getting invented. Like the Internet. How long has it been around now? Eighty years? And computers? I remember using those IBM Selectric typewriters, thinking, fuck, I’m flying!
I’m really not that old, am I? I don’t know, my wife and I were in line at this local club last year, hanging out with the other club-goers, and someone said something about Justin Bieber, and one of the guys next to me said, “You could be Justin Bieber’s dad.”
Haven’t hit the local club scene since.
I idled at 1000 mph when I was young. I couldn’t get there fast enough. I’d heard rumors about people “settling down” as they got older, no longer interested in setting the pace for the rest of the world. I remember the song My Generation by The Who, with the lyric, “I hope I die before I get old.” It was my battle cry.
And, yes, I know that “old” is a state of mind. And yes, in my head I’m still in my twenties. I get all that. I even believe it on occasion. But, I just gotta say…sitting back and taking a rest sounds really good right about now. Stepping back, and out. Calmer waters. John Lennon wasn’t that old when he wrote the lyric, “I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round.”
The world changes fast. Every new thing seems vitally important at first. We all grab it, just to keep up. But, really now, so much of that is just marketing. We’re conditioned to respond. It’s the American Way.
I’m not always sure I should share the thoughts that spin through my head. I mean, this is supposed to be a blog for mystery-thriller authors to discuss the craft of writing mysteries and thrillers. But sometimes I’m just not into talking about the craft. And sometimes the craft involves pulling back and observing the world and letting these little observations filter into the stories we tell. Filter like nicotine, four packs a pop. After all, we gotta set the pace for the rest of ’em.