It was the Woman’s Christian Temperance Movement in the last quarter of the 19th Century that coined the phrase “Lips That Touch Liquor Shall Never Touch Mine” to get their point across.
Credit for extending such sentiment to the smoking world must go to anti-male journalist and author Helen Towland (1875-1950) for coining the phrase “Kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray.”
Now we have a new movement being led by New York City Mayor Michael Rubens Bloomberg who has banned the sale of soft drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces in his town, a city that has a Temperance Fountain in one of its parks as a lasting tribute to the absurdity of that movement.
I suppose the next catchphrase we will hear from some New York City pundit is “Kissing a soda drinker is like licking a dirty Pepsi can” or some such nonsense.
The WCTU’s slogan got kicked around a bit, ending up being stuck on a placard in a photo promoting approval of Prohibition in a slightly different form in 1919: “Lips That Touch Liquor Shall Not Touch Ours” and many a man of the day commented that none of the women in the picture looked like kissable material.
Prohibition, as history teaches us, was a failure. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution into law in 1933 repealing the 18th Amendment and ending Prohibition at a time when people caught up in the depth of The Great Depression seriously needed a beer to get them through the troubled times.
The Nicotine Nazis of the modern era have done much better with their licking ashtray pitch, though. We have a First Lady in the White House who bemoans the fact her husband struggles with his smoking habit while living in a federally owned home where all smoking has been banned.
It reaches the level of absurdity, but throw a little Bloomberg on top of it all and it becomes almost hilarious.
Will it be the All-American sandwich, the hamburger? Will some federal celebrity or another big city mayor declare it off bounds because overindulgence in these great mounds of ground meat and condiments add extra inches to our waistlines? Will one of our metro-sexual attention-grabbing personalities come up with some new slogan like, “Kissing a woman who eats hamburgers is like licking an old greasy skillet!”
There is at least one town on the West Coast where smoking in the Oceanside southbound lane of the Pacific Coast Highway has been banned. Will the California Highway Patrol someday be following drivers who pull out of the local McDonalds down the road watching for them to raise an unwrapped Quarter-Pounder to their lips?
Prohibition never bothered me. It was over with by the time I was born. If it were to return, it would not change my lifestyle one bit. I haven’t had a drink of alcohol in more than 40 years. It used to encourage me to do things I didn’t want to do, so I gave it up.
On the other hand, I am a smoker. I enjoy my pipe even though it has become more difficult to find a place where I can smoke it in comfort other than on my own porch. The pipe is one of those smoking instruments that kind of falls through the cracks so to speak. While some of the nicotine-hating women give me the “licking a dirty ashtray” treatment when they see me with a pipe, there are others who savor the smell of it because it “reminds me of my (fill in the blank, i.e. grandfather, father, etc.).”
I don’t plan on giving the pipe up any time soon. Nor do I plan on giving up my hamburgers when the antis get ready to mount their attack on them. I can see them now. Like the prohibitionists who spent much time and dollars dumping illegal beer down the drain, I can envision the anti-burger forces smashing hamburger grinders with their axes and sledgehammers.
You can bet your bottom dollar someone out there who thinks they need a cause to make their life whole is going to tackle the hamburger menace once they get the Bloomberg ban on big drinks fleshed out on a more national scale.
If nothing else, this whole line of shenanigans makes for a good parlor game the next your and your friends get bored. Just try guessing what might be next on the antis list and make up some slogans to go with the theme.
It’s a great country we live in, for sure!
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