One again, it’s Cynical Friday in the Connoisseur’s homeland of sunny (too damn sunny) Melbourne, Florida. I watched some TV last night and today I read some news articles on the Internet while waiting for stuff to happen at work… and as always, it was simply impossible to avoid the vehement drive of the Anti Nicotine and Tobacco Zealots, or ANTZ. I saw a commercial that argued (with totally valid and licit logical.scientific reasoning) that bad chemicals from cigarettes make icky, squishy sounds and roar viciously while examined under a cartoon microscope. Another commercial convinced me whole-heartedly that tobacco will certainly melt pregnant women and turn their unborn children to plastic. Yet another winning argument made me realize that yes, tobacco really does kill more people than bigfoot attacks. Let’s see what else I’ve learned from the scientific and medical research of certain, unnamed ANTZ groups: nicotine leads to leprosy, smoking will make your face turn green and fall apart into scree, nicotine intake will shatter you to pieces if you’re a baseball pitcher, the manufacturing of tobacco products will flay flesh off of bones and whither plants like a hydrogen bomb detonation (pretty cool… is the military aware of this?), cats and dogs shit and piss in your cigarettes, if young people smoke they will cause evil demon bats and laser-shooting unicorns to destroy the world, honey causes black people to melt (that’s a weird one… what’s it got to do with nicotine?), tobacco causes oil spills in the trees, and… are you ready for this one?… cigarettes caused AIDS in the 80s. The list goes on and on, but you get the picture. the ANTZ have certainly done their homework in order to discover all of these amazing and frightening facts.
So… how can we recognize these modern Spartans of health, so we can run up and thank them for tirelessly investigating ways to protect us from accidentally destroying the universe? Well, it took me a while to put this together, because I’m working with a handicap in that I am unable to employ the superior intellect of one of these Greek gods of science… but here we go:
Profile of an ANTZ:
1. The eyes of the typical ANTZ are bigger than normal, and flighty… shifting from subject to subject in search of opportunities for courage and glory in the face of unabashed evil.
2. The speech patterns of ANTZ are fast and abrasive, with a tendency to drown out all other noises and voices. Frequent interruption of lesser speech is common, because the lofty topics of communication between ANTZ are prioritized by necessity.
3. Photographic or near photographic memory with impressively quick powers of instantaneous recollection are not uncommon among ANTZ. As with famous detective Sherlock Holmes, asking an ANTZ to retrace the steps of their genius-powered faculties of rational deduction/induction is a bother. They are able to zip through multiple steps of thought to arrive at amazing conclusions like “Everybody knows…” and “Science proves that…” and “The experts say…”
4. Intensity of focus is another fairly certain clue that you are in the presence of an ANTZ. Unlike “normal” people, ANTZ are able to focus with pin-point precision through the noise of rampant worldwide immorality, rising crime statistics, economic collapse of the entire world market, foreign wars, child rape, South American drug wars, starvation and homelessness, the sex slave trade, terrorism, religious persecution, natural and/or man-made disasters, a lessening regard for the lives of the less fortunate, political corruption, increasing reports of all kinds of abuse, and all of the other distractions that keep our attention off of the true, underlying problem: Nicotine!
5. The offspring of ANTZ typically can be found smoking cigarettes in locations where ANTZ generally can’t be found.
6. It is also theorized that Royal blood-lines course through the veins of ANTZ, which is apparent in their obvious divine right of ruling wisdom. Without ever even being appointed to a position of social/civil “power,” the ANTZ will naturally assume the throne of official authority over everything in view.
7. ANTZ also all share a peculiar characteristic, and that is a lack of Zygomaticus Major facial muscles. For those of you who aren’t A&P geeks, these are the muscles responsible for drawing the edges of the mouth back and upwards… otherwise known as smiling.
8. The final, and probably most amazing and unexplainable characteristic of an Anti Nicotine and Tobacco Zealot is that they have a mystical ability to see things that are not visible to those of use deprived of preternatural sight. For example, when the majority of us look at E-liquid used for refilling electronic cigarettes we see nicotine, glycerin, propylene glycol, and flavoring. An ANTZ, on the other hand, can see evil spirits of formaldehyde, automobile antifreeze, and arsenic.
The preceding list is only a brief instructional compilation of some very basic characteristics to look for when trying to identify whether or not a person is an elite member of the illustrious ANTZ collective. Obviously, there are many, many much more subtle distinguishing characteristics that can only be seen by the most practised of nicotine users. However, the ANTZ are growing in number, and there is a conflict on the horizon in which we, the “un-enlightened heathens of the world, are at a serious disadvantage. Most of us will probably disintegrate via flesh-eating, moldy bacteria that will crawl out of our lungs while we sleep and slit our families throats before dispatching us in a long, slow, agonizing death… before we even get a chance to stand our ground against the ANTZ Army.