The Value of a Vice

I smoke because I like it. I like the very act of it; the drags and the puffs, the thin smoke that escapes one’s lips as one chatters to cut short the lung soiling, the gradual suicide. But I smoke also because it is unexpected of me. For the longest time, everything about me has been submerged into a large beaker, appropriated with the keenest of accuracy the standards that I have to keep. “Cut off his left limb, he’s a milliliter more than he should be,” they say.

Dionysus adds a droplet of wine, “he’s too Apollonian.”

Hermes leaves me be.

Demeter dashes grains, for nourishment he adds.

And all the rest of them adds or removes something to or from me, and thus in me.


Smoking gives me a sense of seclusion, as if I have been removed from the standards of the world.

It is also the garland of death and the dying out flares, which soil my otherwise healthy lungs, that give me the chance of owning myself. I’d much sooner die of smoking than accidentally stabbing my throat with a bamboo stake.

After all, what is a vice but the virtue of a single non-recurring life.