Beginner’s guide to smoking…

The March 2008 issue of Esquire has a stupid picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger on it. The issue also slyly hides a crisp little nugget: An essay by Tom Chiarella called “Learning to Smoke”. Yes. He learns to smoke in his forties. The essay is so, so good. Here’s a simple:

Up and down the street, now blanketed by darkness, the street lamps formed friendly circles of light, so it looked like a kind of orchard. People stood, one and two per light, out there smoking cigarettes, looking up quietly at the stars or the cars or the windows of houses and stores.

“Wow,” I said.

“Cold.”

“That’s a lot of smokers.” I flicked a finger up and down. “A smoke for every light.” There were others out there, I supposed.

“Yeah,” she said. “There are a lot. There always are.”

Really good stuff. Find it and pick it up.

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