Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm Going out For Cigarettes

"I'm going out for cigarettes."  

Does anyone actually know anyone who had a family member tell them they were going out for cigarettes and then not return?  Is it only a cliché for movies, novels and television shows?  Does it happen in real life, besides at The Onion?

I was out walking the dog the other night before bed and I started to wonder: with the good folks at Gallup finding smoking rates at an all-time low , is smoking even prevalent enough for this phrase to work when people leave and never come back?

This is what a REAL Marlboro man smokes.
I've never said "I'm going out for cigarettes" to anyone in my life.  You see, I don't smoke.  I did have a nasty habit of buying a hard pack of Marlboro Menthols when drinking in college, smoking two cigarettes then throwing them out the next morning.  I had a girlfriend who was a smoker and on occasion I'd pick them up for her  Don't worry, I gave her a hard time every time she asked me to buy them for her. I explained how much money she was burning up, literally, smoking and, flexing the knowledge of my math major, I calculated how many cigarettes she smoked in a year (it was around 5000 -these days I need a calculator to do math). I can't figure out why that relationship didn't last. 

Now don't worry.  I'm not planning on leaving my family. It seems silly that someone would use that line now, and maybe it has never actually happened, but been more of a TV and movie thing.   Around here, cigarettes are almost nine bucks a pack so if someone you love leaves without at least a ten spot you know they are not going for cigarettes.

If I was writing a movie, or an episode of a TV show, or a blog and I wanted one of my characters to just walk off into the darkness not to return until the movie, TV Show or blog needs a turning point or the show runs out of ideas, what would they say?  "I'm going out for ice cream?"  That wouldn't work.  If there were kids present, the kids would instantly shout that they wanted to go, too.  "I'm going out for coffee."  More plausible.  Even late at night, you can find a coffee shop just about anywhere for those of us addicted to hot caffeine.  These were both pretty boring phrases, though.  I racked my brain to come up with other lines to say, but nothing seemed relevant enough to be something real to do but common enough to avoid suspicion.  

Instead, I came up with a completely new, totally original phrase that has no other meaning whatsoever, but makes sense to use in this case.  I worked on a short story with this as the first line and I said it over and over out loud to ensure it sounds good, and it would if I were not the one speaking it. I mean, have you ever heard my voice?  I will assume the phrase sounds great when anyone else saying it.  Are you ready?  Here it is.  Hold on to your seats and clutch your hats.  This is going to blow your mind and forever change how we talk just like the George Foreman grill forever changed the way we cooked hamburgers.

"I've got to see a man about a dog."

How about that?

Lots of people have dogs.  In fact, there are more people with dogs these days than there are smokers.  I totally made this up but if you have watched any of the presidential debates over the last few weeks you've noticed that factual information is no longer required for any debate or discussion.


What do you mean it already means something?


Well, what would you say?  I'm open to suggestions.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

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