CityBeat’s Living Out Loud – Cincinnati Blog

{January 1, 2007}   Buddy, Can you Spare a Smoke?

smoker1.jpgI don’t know how it is in any cities, because I don’t travel that much, but here in Cincinnati, if you’re a smoker walking down the sidewalk puffing away, trying to get from point A to point B, you’re going to get hit on.

No, not for sex and not so much for money, but for cigarettes.

“Buddy, can you spare a smoke?” I hear this all the time, and not from people down on their luck or homeless. I get hit up by people even wearing suits.

I’m too kind-hearted to say no. I usually give whoever asks a cigarette but smokes these days are expensive, you know? I think the people who ask for the cigarettes know this too. Basically, I’m paying for their cigarettes and their habit, because they don’t want to.

Sometimes people will offer me a quarter for a smoke. I usually don’t take it, but it’s got me thinking: If I go and buy a pack over in Covington – where cigarettes are about half the cost than they are over in Cincy, I could make a killing selling smokes for a quarter each.

I see a whole new career on the horizon.




Mark says:

Yeah, I know what you mean. I get hit on for cigarettes too. My stock answer: “I left them in the office.”

Polly says:

I guess I’m just not that nice. If someone ask me for a smoke, I just say no.

Phil says:

I guess I’m one of those guys asking for cigarettes on the Street. I’m trying to quit but sometimes I just need one. If I see you out there, I’ll offer you a quarter for one.

Teri says:

Just stop smoking. Your health will get better and you won’t be bothered walking down the sidewalk 🙂

hard as nails says:

teri, go have your boyfriend do you on the coffee table and leave us smokers alone.

Pat says:

I use to say yes too but having given three away from walking down the sidewalk during a ten minute walk one day, I now find it easier to ignore the request and just keep walking.

Brandy says:

Sorry, but you all just need to stop.

Bill says:

I don’t smoke but I sure do get hit up for change a lot downtown. That stuff is out of control.

Matt says:

With the price of smokes these days, I have no trouble at all in telling people to buy their own. As far as giving away my money, I have no problem with that either. No!

Marilyn says:

It’s been three years since I worked downtown, but I would always cough (no pun intended) up a free cig if the person was civil while asking.

I even made some regular friends. One guy’s bus stop was near where I took smoke breaks. Most times, he’d have his own, but once in a while would ask for a smoke. He was a cool guy. I missed him after a time, and one of his buddies told me he’d been fired from his job. I wonder how he is today?

jackula says:

I wonder how he is today?

probably dead from all that smoking. sorry, i do it too.

Marilyn says:

Jackula, yeah, I know. I keep thinking I’ll quit, and indeed I had quit right before my son passed. Ah, any excuse to smoke, eh?

Ted says:

Man, does everyone who reads this blog smoke? So many of the posts are about smoking. A little over done.

Tate says:

You’re they guy who wants to have the hairy wife. Figures you would be a smoker.

Marilyn says:

Tate, I’m a smoker and I don’t want to have a hairy wife!

Though, now that I think on it, I have (for years) thought how nice it might be to have a wife…

Babble On says:

“I have (for years) thought how nice it might be to have a wife…”

all right. you need to explain that one, girlfriend.

Marilyn says:

Babble, I don’t know your age, but I’m 51. We were raised back then to be the perfect helpmeet to our husbands.

Think how nice it would be to come home from work, have your wife meet you at the door with your favorite drink, seat you, while she went off to make a good dinner — all the while she is keeping the kids outta your hair.

She’d do all the laundry, cleaning, etc… What a shit job and I need a wife!

But then, who knows, a wife may be an even better bet in other ways! (Evil Grin from here!)

Babble On says:

I can kind of relate to say you’re saying, but I’m 30 and things have changed since the “father knows best” days. My old man has to help with the two kids and the house work because we both work. Bottom line: I’m nobody’s maid.

I get your evil grin too. Sometimes the last thing I want at the end of the day is that man in my bed.

Eddie says:

I also give cigarettes away to strangers all the time but starting this year, I start saying no. At over four bucks a pack, those beggers can start buying their own.

Heather says:

Babble and Marilyn,

My husband was under the impression for a while the women’s work was still women’s work, regardless of how many hours the woman herself works outside of the home.

I tried reasoning with him, “Honey, you just can’t afford a housewife. Tell you what, when you make enough money for me to stay home and clean, that’s just what I’ll do.”

Finally, I took a simpler approach, “Hey, if you want the dishes done so bad; there they are, help yourself.”

These days, he’s a big help around the house.

He also hits people up for smokes every now and then because he doesn’t smoke regularly, but he always makes them take the 50 cents.

Maggie says:

My husband does the housework. I supervise!

Marilyn says:

Beautiful segue Heather (keeping us on track!)…And I continue to digress:

My generation kinda bridged the Harriet Nelson mothers and the mothers in their 30’s now… The biggest difference in my own generation is we were supposed to do everything our mothers did PLUS go to work — some liberation, huh?

But things are getting better. I see men taking charge of the household and the children and I think the children are the better for it!

Babble, shhhhh don’t let the men know that we are not always hot for them!

Babble On says:

Let’s get a drink soon.

David Gallaher says:

“Sometimes people will offer me a quarter for a smoke. I usually don’t take it, but it’s got me thinking: If I go and buy a pack over in Covington – where cigarettes are about half the cost than they are over in Cincy, I could make a killing selling smokes for a quarter each.

I see a whole new career on the horizon.”

This is the same reasoning young, black men use in deciding to become street corner drug dealers and to not finish high school.
I wonder if someone here could explain this to Dr. O’dell Owens, our showboat coroner? He’s clueless.

Death says:

Smoking will make you die a terrible death.

hard as nails says:

thank you death. have a nice life.

Heather says:


I think you’re grossly oversimplifying the plight of inner-city youth.

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