Monday, February 23, 2009

Tobacco



If you have been reading my recent posts you know that we are banned from sex and alcohol (except on pass) for the duration of our deployment. But a few a indulgences remain within bounds. There are no limits on music so devotees of Death Metal, Gangsta Rap, Country and Gospel can be roommates. Also tobacco, both smoking and chewing, is allowed. The smokers have to go outside to designated smoking areas, but they are no more restricted than in public places in civilian life. The 20-year-olds can, for the most part, smoke and pass the PT test. The most fit 30-somethings can also smoke and run.

The weirder tobacco habit, at least for me is chewing tobacco. A lot of ex-smokers turn to chew because they can be more fit and still use tobacco. Since I worked for several years on the dock at Yellow Freight, it looks reasonably normal to me to see a half dozen men in the motor pool with their lower lip swelled out spitting into Gatorade bottles. Gatorade had a wider mouth than a soda bottle.

What will take a while for me to get used to is seeing young women chewing and spitting into those bottles. I know we are all soldiers, but seeing women the age of my daughters carrying spit bottles still looks wrong to me. Maybe after a year, I will be completely used to it. I hope not.

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