Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Gen. Tommy Franks, Nov/Dec 03
I am writing this letter to share with you and all fellow cigar smokers an outrage that happened to one of my closest friends, Gust Geralis. In May, Gust, a longtime cigar aficionado and an upstanding member of the community, was at his son's Little League baseball game (outside) and was enjoying one of his Cuban Cohibas. During the third inning, to Gust's total surprise, the umpire called a time-out, walked into the stands, approached my friend and told him that this was a "nonsmoking" league and that he would have to extinguish his cigar. Gust's obvious response was that this was a public city park and he was outside. The umpire retorted that he had three choices: one; extinguish the cigar, two; go smoke it in the parking lot, or three, that he would actually "call the game." Gust, in total shock, and not wanting to cost his son's team a loss or have him endure any further embarrassment by creating a scene, walked to the parking lot and finished his smoke sitting on the bumper of his car.
What is this world coming to when a man can't smoke a cigar at an outdoor Little League game? I was so outraged that I actually called the city's parks department and asked them if there was any rule about not smoking, and if so, would they send me a copy. They responded that there was no such rule, and after hearing the story, said that the umpire's actions were apparently his own.
I am so tired of being treated like a leper or a criminal just because I smoke cigars. I feel that this was a violation of my friend's and all cigar smokers' civil rights, and it must stop. If somebody doesn't like cigar smoke, either at an outdoor event or in a cigar-friendly establishment, they can exercise their rights by leaving. Is there any organization that we can join to help stop this persecution? What happened to America, the land of the free?
Ronald Zambetti II
Editor's note: Ron, that is an outrage. Just when we think the health police can't get any worse, we hear a story like yours. The best thing you can do is to keep raising cries of protest when people exceed their authority under the current laws. And, keep working with your local politicians in search of compromises that honor the rights of all Americans, including cigar smokers.