Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the worlds only daily column burnt out on tobacco.The filthy stuff often seems to leave a bad after-taste no matter the full-bodied or menthol flavors. Some say its addictive, but weve never had a problem quitting. And we dont have any sort of problems with people who choose to puff, spit or chew. Some of our best friends are smokers. Its easier to trust a man or woman with a ring in the pocket of their blue jeans.But weve had enough of the taxes, social stigmas, alleged health concerns and anti-smoking alarmists that its not even worth the trouble.Our last cigarette burned after a heart-wrenching loss. The alma maters football squad fell to its nemesis, and a good chunk of our life savings now rests in the hands of a wretched, yellow-toothed slouch. We tried smoke our way out of the tragedy but found ourselves choking on hate and bile. Drinking proved a much more efficient alternative. But in these dark, ugly times we wouldnt hesitate to recommend a bit of exercise, food-bingeing, or meditation whatever works to relieve a troubled head.We recall the first time we tried smoking. We were hanging out in the back alley after work and this lovely, blonde member of the opposite sex offered us a Marlboro red 100 cigarette.We were ordered to inhale and nearly coughed up our insides. The eyes became moist and the head began to float. After that, social smoking seemed the popular and relaxing thing to do. Folks like Mark Twain and Clint Eastwood certainly added to the allure. But after dabbling in everything from cob pipes to Black & Mild cigars, we just dont seem to be able to afford the luxury. We tried hand-rolled cigarettes for a bit and chuckled when strangers at concerts asked for a few puffs. But what a drag. Rolling is tough in low light and bad weather, and our cigarettes always came out lopsided or flat.We chewed gum for a while. But that often led to headaches. To date, our only bona fide habit is coffee. Its a very real, very tragic addiction that we just cant seem to kick. ***And in other news, featured on this page is a photo of some avid Summit Up readers in Freedom Park in Johannesburg, South Africa. The photo comes from Bill Weibel, whos been organizing mission volunteer trips to the area. Funding for the feeding program is in part from a Dec. 1 benefit at the Speak Easy in Breckenridge. Weibel writes:Thanks to the generous support of local business who donated goods and services for a silent auction and everyone who attended the event to view the AIDS documentary A Closer Walk we were able to raise the funds necessary to purchase the equipment to run the program and enough food to feed 100 kids for a month.***Its Sunday and if we havent made it clear, were burnt out.
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