Five Cool Places to Smoke Camel Lights

Let’s face it: at $4.25 a pack cigarettes are so cheap here in Missouri that you have to smoke them, especially if you want your friends to know you did percussion for a cool midwestern post-punk band that got some traction in Southern Illinois before all of you (but especially you) got really disillusioned with the way the music industry worked and broke up.  But whether you like to tell your girlfriend about your background in music between slow drags of a Camel Light, laying on Mudd Field or sitting on camping chairs in the parking garage is a topic of much debate.  In order to help you decide where to talk to your girlfriend about your former music career, I decided to make a list of the 5 coolest places to smoke Camel Lights at Wash U.

It's a longstanding Pirates tradition to smoke more than just cigarettes before the game

5. Dugout on the baseball field (at night): Back in Little League, the coach used to play you in left field because you had a really good arm and the coach said he only trusted you to make the big throw to home when the scoring run was rounding third.  You didn’t play baseball for that long though because Little League was so fucking political.  You wanted to pitch, but your coach wouldn’t let you—instead he let Sammy, who was friends with his son.  When you got older, you watched Field of Dreams every year after the first World Series game as a family tradition, so you know how cool it can be to see imaginary ghosts run around a baseball diamond at night.  Sitting in the dugout, you can almost see Shoeless Joe Jackson playing whatever position he used to play, and you jokingly ask your girlfriend if she sees him.  Not knowing that you were joking and not wanting to appear ignorant, your girlfriend says she does.  You don’t know what to say so you start taking really big drags from your Camel Light until you feel like youre gonna pass out.

4. Lying in the bed of your Ford F-250 (at night): Your girlfriend grabs your hand and starts stroking your fingers.  You snatch your hand away and reach it into your breast-pocket to pull out a pack of Camel Lights.  “Mike,” she says, annoyed.  “Don’t smoke that.”  “What?” you ask her.  “You always need to smoke.  Give it a rest.”  You put a Camel Light between your lips, pull out your Zippo and light the cig aggressively, looking straight into her eyes, as if to say, “you don’t fucking know what it’s like to come so close to being the percussionist for an indie buzz band, and having to give that up to lie here with you.”

"The Illinois post-punk scene won't be the same without me"

3. Your Balcony (at night): If your a sophomore lucky enough to have a balcony, it probably also means you’re lucky enough to live in one of the shitty, old dorms.  You do make good use of the balcony though, especially at the weekly party you host on Friday nights in celebration of Stereogum’s latest “Bands to Watch” post.  It’s Friday night after one of those parties and it’s getting late.  Most of the people have left, so you move two bean bag chairs to your balcony for you and your girlfriend.  You sit/lie in/on one and watch your girlfriend smile, sitting/lying across from you.   You pull out a Camel Light and start smoking it.  Your girlfriend asks you for one but you tell her you “only have two left” since you were planning on smoking the other five you have tomorrow night in the dugout.

2. Outside the Business School: Intro to Accounting lets out and you start navigating your way through Simon Hall to the bench outside.  On your way, you see your girlfriend leaving Intro to Macroeconomics.  You grab her hand and lead her to the bench at the main entrance to the b-school.  A gaggle of b-school kids who are interested in finance walk mechanically past, into the building.  You open your newest issue of the New Yorker, put a Camel Light in your mouth, and start reading.  Two friends walk through the main entrance and see you sitting outside the business school, smoking next to your girlfriend and reading the New Yorker.  Occasionally you make a comment about an article to your girlfriend because you don’t want her to think you’re just reading the cartoons—one time when you were flipping quickly through the New Yorker she called you out on this.  After a while you get bored, so you get your iPod out and pop in some ear buds.  Your girlfriend makes a comment about something but you can’t hear it over “Cannibal Resource” playing in your ears so you smile and put an arm around her, knowing that you’re probably the coolest kid in the business school.

Yeasayer in the studio, recording "Odd Blood." It was decent but kind of overproduced.

1. Outside the Gargoyle while Yeasayer is Playing: This year you’ve tried to make it to every show at the Gargoyle.  You’ve also tried to not go to any shows for bands more popular than Animal Collective—not because there’s anything wrong with popular music but because, as you explain to your girlfriend, fame tends to corrupt musicians and, in turn, their music.  “Believe me,” you tell your girlfriend, “I would know.”  The problem is that Yeasayer, who might be more popular than Animal Collective, is coming to the Gargoyle, and you don’t know whether or not you should go. So you decide to compromise: you go to the concert to see the opener, who you’re “a big fan of,” but when Yeasayer takes the stage you go outside to the amphitheater next to Mallinckrodt and smoke some Camel Lights.  You bring your girlfriend and you both sit on the amphitheater’s concrete steps next to the other people who want to smoke instead of seeing Yeasayer.  Your girlfriend says she wants to go inside, so you blow smoke in her face as a joke.  She doesn’t laugh, but you know she thinks it’s funny and you know that she knows she is lucky to be going out with a kid who used to do percussion for a midwestern post-punk band.

~ by killerbuffalo on April 28, 2010.

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