I. On a Saturday night, after a little bit of drinking, I realized it was my friend Kurt's birthday. What was I to do? I had no gift. I would make him a birthday cake - yes, that was the ticket. I would make him the poor man's birthday cake. Luckily, I had all the ingredients. I took a Little Debbie, a ho-ho I think, and stuck a lit cigarette in it. Cigarettes don't make bad candles. Especially on a ho-ho intended for a coke addict.

II. I've liked cigarettes since I was in middle school. I used to dream about 'em. When I was in sixth grade I'd dream about being at Super Skate and having a cigarette between my fingers as I played the pinball machine. I loved cigarettes. in my dreams, anyway. I wasn't smoking when I was in sixth grade. But I did dream about 'em like crazy. I thought it was an unconscious mandate for me to have an obsession with cigarettes.

III. Cigarettes, I bet, comprise the largest percentage of litter. Nobody throws away their cigarette butts. Even me. I swore if I ever became a smoker, I would at least throw my cigarette butts away 'cuz those stupid butts are everywhere. Several times in my youth, my Girl Scout troop walked around and picked up litter. We always hauled in loads and loads of cigarette butts. People never throw them away. They always litter them.

IV. Freud thinks people that smoke cigarettes have oral fixations. He thinks they miss breastfeeding. But breastfeeding is not something a normal adult should miss. Latching on to one's mother's breast? We shouldn't miss that. But yet unconsciously, Freud says we do. So as it turns out, cigarettes could be substitutes for our mothers' nipples.

V. I began smoking cigarettes for the best of all reasons - I had a crush on someone that smoked everyday after a class we shared. He'd open his mouth and spout all this brilliant philosophy and then he'd go outside and stick a cigarette in that brilliant mouth. And I would think, if only I had a cigarette, I could go up and ask him for a light. 'Cuz that's what people do. It's a sensational conversation starter. Do you have a light? Yes I do. What's your name? Bobby. That's how it goes, mostly. So I started purchasing and smoking cigarettes so that I could ask this guy for a light and start a conversation with him. He turned out to be dumb and crazy.

VI. Contrary to what some people say, you do look like a bad ass when you have a cigarette in your mouth - but only when you do certain things with it. If you're coughing or if it's making your eyes tear up, you are not cool. If you're in the act of flicking open a giant, silver lighter and lighting a cigarette, that's always cool. You are at your optimum coolness when you are lighting a cigarette with a giant lighter, I think. Not even blowing a smoke ring rivals it. No, you know what's even cooler - if you calmly light a cigarette when someone pisses you off or some crazy ruckus is going on around you. You are the picture of cool then, I think.

VII. I think it's strange that giving a beggar a cigarette is seen as charitable. When people are out of money or would rather not give money, they give these homeless, hungry, and unhealthy people cigarettes that do not actually help them but only make them more and unhealthy and hurry along their deaths. And this is understood as charitable. I've even heard the recipients of these cigarettes say, "Thank you" or "God bless you." Granted, one cigarette will not cause their deaths, but encouraging addictions will.

VIII. Cigarettes are expensive. In buying them, money's used that could have been spent on something else. At my poorest times, I have had to decide between buying lunch or a pack of cigarettes. I usually decided on the cigarettes because they would last me a week and the lunch would only last me a few hours. Also, the nicotine in cigarettes acts as an appetite suppressant. I reasoned that if I smoked enough of the cigarettes, I would forget I was hungry.

IX. Cigarettes are the only things I can think of that strangers willingly give to other strangers. It is not considered impolite for a stranger to approach someone they don't know and ask for a cigarette. Even if they offer a quarter or a dollar, the person with the cigarettes usually waves his or her money away. I can't think of any other commodity that people share so freely. I have yet to see someone refuse another person a cigarette, even if it is the last cigarette in the pack.

X. I have a friend who seriously went on a cigarette diet. Some people do Atkins, others South Beach, but not my best friend. She went on the coffee- and-cigarettes diet. It's what she had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It worked. She lost a lot of weight. She looked like shit, though, and couldn't go up stairs without collapsing.

XI. JEL is crazy. This organization hates cigarettes, smoking, smokers, and is damn annoying. I don't even know what JEL stands for. I don't care. It's damn crazy. It uses graphic, sometimes almost gruesome, pictures in its print ads and commercials. These seem to contain people teetering on the verge of death, and through gasps for breath we hear them say, "Cigarettes will kill you and eat your soul." or something to that effect. Okay, maybe they don't say they'll eat your soul, but JEL wants us to believe cigarettes are that bad. What did cigarettes ever do to JEL?

XII. Most people don't like the way cigarettes smell. I do. At least, not when they're lit. Smell them sometime before you light 'em. They smell like raisins.

XIII. It kills me that cigarettes are now being produced in flavors. I'm not just talking about regular or menthol, but some manufacturers are making chocolate, pin?a colada, and raspberry flavored cigarettes. What kills me about this is that they all taste like the same damn thing - shit. Cigarettes don't taste good. Come on. That's not why you smoke 'em. If you want taste, smoke a cigar.