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    by Randy Ooney     

My Nickel’s Worth                     by Randy Ooney


Bum a Smoke?


It has now been three years on October 1 when the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act went into effect.  It was one of the more controversial laws passed in the first decade of our new millennium.  The law heated up the forum here at mnbowling for months.  Spectrum Lanes and Alley Gators were adamant that the law cost them more business than they could afford to lose, and they ultimately closed. Many others offered opinions, both pro and con.  Time marched on, the law took effect, and now about the only public building where smoking is allowed is a designated room at a casino.


I can only speak for myself on this subject.  Many of us baby boomers were born in an era where smoking was promoted and allowed nearly everywhere.  Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Dennis James and others told us on TV how great a cigarette tasted.  Edward R. Murrow, Jackie Gleason, Dean Martin and Johnny Carson all smoked during their performances on TV. I took up smoking at age 16 and never looked back.  It was a feel good addiction at a reasonable cost.  I tried not to offend others who chose not to smoke, but I was offended when attending a ball game at the Metrodome and hearing Bob Casey yell “No Smoking” and 20,000 people cheered while we newly appointed second class citizens hunkered up to the concourse to feed the monkey on our back.  We could see it coming.  First it was the Metrodome.  Next came smoking bans on the domestic airline flights.  The National Bowling Stadium in Reno followed.  Would there come a day when smoking would only be allowed in Sturgis, South Dakota and a three acre fenced in area on the north side of Gillette, Wyoming?


Okay, now we know that smoking is hazardous to your health.  Thanks for telling me now, after I’ve been addicted for so many years.  But in May of 2000, I decided to kick the monkey off my back.  It took pipe smoking, cigars, a few years of chewing leaf tobacco, and I still feel the urge to have a smoke after most meals.  Taxes have eliminated the reasonable cost factor of tobacco, but a recent survey uncovered the fact that Minnesota smokers have leveled off at about 20% of the population.


So, for Minnesota proprietors with clean air bowling centers, my wife thanks you now that I don’t come home with a bowling shirt that smells like Archie’s Bar on Mainstreet in Hopkins in 1970.  And to my friends and bowling colleagues who need to step outside once or twice during league night, I’ve been there, done that, and I get it.   




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