The useless hacks that populate our city’s government have done something right for a change. By refusing to adopt a public-smoking ban this year, they’ve departed from their usual policy of sticking their wart-covered noses where they don’t belong. They should be congratulated for this. But I predict that the busybodies will be back again next year, claiming that their right to tell me what to do supercedes my right to decide for myself. If the City Council is looking for substances to ban, I have a suggestion for them. There’s something that’s infinitely more irritating to me than secondhand cigarette smoke and which infringes on my rights: people who chew gum. Gum, like almost anything, is fine if used as directed. But a majority of people these days seem to think that they can’t enjoy their gum unless they’re chomping on it like Seabiscuit. That sickly gum-smacking sound is much more bothersome to me than any smoker could be. I’ve had to switch seats at the movies, move to a different part of the public library and change tables at restaurants because people can’t control their gum-smacking. This not only applies to gum, but to Certs, Nips, Blow Pops or any other form of candy. People have no manners these days. You may say there’s no comparison between gum-smacking and smoking. After all, you might say, secondhand smoke is dangerous to others’ health. The other is just an impoliteness. That may be true. But if I leap over a table at Applebee’s and strangle you to death because you won’t stop popping your gum, you’re just as dead as if you’d been smoking for 50 years. Previously, the council has tried to ban violent video games and 24-hour porno stores. They may as well abuse their authority once again by banning gum. Then they should go after public humming, whistling and singing. The other night, I was standing in line at Kroger’s and suffered while a woman whistled the Celine Dion Titanic song off-key. I had to intervene. “Excuse me, ma’am,” I said, smiling. “Who sings that song?” “Celine Dion,” she said. “Let’s keep it that way,” I snarled. The government lets people like her walk the streets, but if I kick her in the shins for being an A-hole, suddenly I’m the criminal. That’s just not right. Excessive perfume or cologne also bothers me more than cigarette smoke. I’d rather have a platoon of Korean War vets blowing Marlboro smoke in my face than have to suffer from just one man’s abuse of Old Spice. How long must innocent people suffer before someone takes a stand and tells Grandpa to put down the bottle of Icy Blue Mennen Lectric Shave and walk away slowly? I won’t even start on the trauma involved in being forced to endure the cell phone conversations of others in public. Back in my day, people conducted phone sex in private, where it belongs. So don’t lecture me about smoking while you chomp on your Juicy Fruit and slather on the Jean Nate while blabbering into your cell phone. Get your own house in order first.
All hail Rupert, the hero
Among the many things to which I am addicted is Survivor. I got hooked during the second season due to contestant Amber Brkich, whose shapely figure, winning personality and charming lack of vowels enraptured me. I’ve suffered through the subsequent lackluster seasons, always hoping that the series would regain its past glory. And I was always disappointed, until Rupert Boneham came along. The Indianapolis resident and former Alley Cat bartender quickly became the coolest reality-show contestant ever. He caught fish with a spear, wore a dress, fought with his fellow contestants and caused an entire nation to root for him. He seemed like the favorite to win the million-dollar grand prize until last week, when his treacherous and evil opponents voted him out. I was hoping he’d win, because I wanted to tell people that I was once served alcohol by a millionaire. In his exit interview, Boneham was as despondent as anyone I’ve ever seen on TV. Even Michael Jackson looked more cheerful last Thursday. “So much for my dreams,” Rupert said. Cheer up, Rupert. Your hometown is proud of you. You made millions of viewers your friends. You have a bright future ahead of you as a TV personality. You got to see your sexy fellow Survivors naked. Thanks for entertaining us. And thanks for showing the rest of the country how cool Hoosiers really are.