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In Walmart, I was standing in the checkout line behind a woman in her 50s or 60s who was looking at cigarette lighters displayed in front of the checkout counter. In a rather skittish manner, she turned to me and said she was thinking about buying a cigarette lighter and placing it inside a finger puppet to give to her son as a gift. I thought this was odd, both that she appeared to feel a little guilty about her idea and that she felt compelled to explain to a stranger why she was looking at cigarette lighters. But she seemed like a nice person and I try not to preach, especially to people I don’t know, so I just smiled. Then she continued on that she knows she shouldn’t be buying him a cigarette lighter when she wants him to quit smoking, “but he’s 38 years old, so I can’t tell him what to do.” I found it disturbing that she would consider buying smoking paraphernalia for someone she doesn’t want smoking, and then on top of that making it cute. I said, ” I think you should just buy him the finger puppet.” She got a chuckle out of that.

Things like this boggle my mind.

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