I could also reiterate the fact that nobody has come forth from the local government to inform businesses how new ordinances are to be enforced on top of old ordinances, like the ones frowning on lines outside establishments or Hoboken's idiosyncratic one-way door on Friday and Saturday.
I could also tear into the legislative lame-brain who proposed enforcing the smoking ban within 25 feet of an establishment. That crap might fly in Trenton, but in Hoboken you can barely walk 24 feet without passing a bar, thereby making such an addendum, well, just plain dumb.
Personally, I quit smoking a few weeks prior. I wanted to quit on my own, before the government told me I had to. Quitting was my personal choice, and I did it as a bartender in a bar full of smokers. I'm proud of that, but I made a promise to myself never to become one of those sanctimonious "ex-smokers."
I still think the law stomps on the pinky toe of individual rights while kicking small business right in the groin. But to keep putting a match to that stamped out butt in the ashtray of public opinion seems almost as pathetic as the packs of homeless hyenas now circling outside the town's watering holes hoping to snag a few drags off some half-smoked Parliament dropped on the sidewalk.
So what do we do now that New Jersey is non-smoking? When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade - and in this case you mix it with vodka.
Instead of shying away from local establishments, maybe it's time to go investigate new ones. What better chance to check out the formerly smoke-filled stink holes of Hoboken than now that the butts are banned.
Drop by Duffy's, waltz into the Wilton House, dare to do DC's, mosey into Mario's, swing by the Shannon and look into Louise & Jerry's.
There will be plenty of room - all the regulars will be outside smoking.
Meanwhile, patrons inside get treated to the true scent of a New Jersey bar - a sickly sweet miasma of stale beer, halitosis, flatulence, B.O. and Sex Panther (by Odeon; a formidable scent...it stings the nostrils). After a few hours of business, bars just smell like a combo of frat house and Greek restaurant, and you wish someone would just spark up a cheap Swisher Sweet to cover up the funk.
There's no reason for New Jersey's bars to take a beating on this - if anything it may encourage new business. In the meantime, be sure to stop by and say hello to your dry cleaner every once and awhile, as he's the one who looks to lose the most to this ruling. And you might want to dump that Procter & Gamble stock, because Febreze sales are doomed to take a hit.
Christopher M. Halleron, freelance writer/bitter bartender, writes a biweekly humor column for The Hudson Current and websites in the New York Metro area. He spends a lot of his time either in front of or behind the bar in Hoboken, New Jersey where his tolerance for liquor grows stronger as his tolerance for society is eroded on a daily basis. Feel free to drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.