synchronicity at the smoke shop

A strange thing happened on the way to the smoke shop.

Errr, at the smoke shop.

I'm a natural smoker. I smoke according to my body's signals and condition. If the body says "nah," I don't and I don't miss it; if it says, "one," then it's one. There's no addiction. I roll my own using 100 percent tobacco (from Europe preferably) that's free of the additives and chemicals and shit they put in premades. Those are nasty. Those will kill you.

Can't remember the last time I smoked; ballpark – more than a year.

Lately I've felt the urge for a rolled one. One smoker offered a premade (don't remember the brand). It was yucky. "This won't do," I thought, neither did it satisfy the craving.

I finally concede to spend a little money on pleasure and head to the smoke shop.

And nearly drop dead.

The price of tobacco had skyrocketed!!!!

I buy imported Danish tobacco out of a large jar. Minimum purchase is an ounce. Last I looked it was around $3.50 an ounce. Now it's $7.50!!

Incredulously I ask the cool store dude what happened.

"Federal tobacco taxes went up in April '09."

I guess so!!

Significantly. From 39 cents a pack to $1.01. That's a 156.4 percent increase, the biggest U.S. tobacco tax hike in history.

On top of that, our deplorable state governor Gregoire had to also dig her liberal dirty hands deeper into public pockets. Washington state implemented its own increase. The hikes:

$2 – by the state
$1 – by the feds

I keep starin' at that $7.50 figure on the jar in disbelief. I don't need an ounce, neither can I rationalize paying double what I last paid. So I pass while wailing and cursing the government, deservedly. The cool dude chimes in.

Then a strange thing happens.

A young man 24-ish enters. "What's a pack of smokes cost?"

"Ten bucks," the dude replies.

"What!? No way! I was just in Idaho. Four bucks there. I just need something to get me back to Utah. No way am I paying that." We all get to chatting. Turns out he's with a band and is just passing through Washington state, which in my educated opinion is the only way to be in Washington state.

"How much is that rolling tobacco then?"

(Expensive but still a fucking lot less than the premades!)

The cool dude gives him the skinny.

"How many smokes in an ounce?" The cool dude doesn't know but I do so I fill him in with info and tips. He's never rolled his own and will start because of the prices.

"I don't need a whole ounce …" he sighs upon hearing it's the minimum.

I jump in. "Let's get an ounce and split it."

We do.  All works out in the end. He gets his stash to see him to Utah. I get to satisfy a craving. And the store, which has seen sales plummet so deeply that it no longer carries packaged smokes, gets a sale.

Now I've got sumthin' to say to the feds and Olympia (WA). The writing looks like this:

Two words, starting with an "f."


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