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Do Not Smoke 'Em if you Got 'Em
Mimi Minimizes Major Malfeasance
This is Issue #9 of Shaun’ Bad Advice of a new series on this platform. For more on what Bad Advice is and why it’s in Worcester Sucks now, head to issue #1. This column as well as the overall Worcester Sucks publication are sustained exclusively by reader contributions. Please consider a paid subscription!
My husband and I are recent parents to a very premature son “Harry.” He was born at just over 25 weeks, and while he is growing and doing well overall, his lung health is likely going to be an issue for the rest of his life. This isn’t uncommon with preemies, and his care team is taking a very proactive course with him. Our families have rallied to our sides, taking care of our home and dogs while I had to quit my job, and my husband and I balance long days visiting our son and being involved in his care.
The issue is my husband’s mother. She is so caring and involved, and she is a lifelong smoker. The care team in no uncertain terms have told us that Harry cannot be around secondhand smoke, and that once he comes home, anyone who wants to hold him should at the very least be freshly showered and not have recently smoked.
We have tried approaching this with her prior to Harry’s birth, and each time my husband or his sister asks her to quit, it’s taken as a personal assault on her character and she stops speaking with us for a time. Then once amends are made, there’s no change. Is there a way to get her to understand that this lifelong habit will keep her from bonding with her new grandson when the time comes?
-Wanting a Smoke-Free Mimi
Dear Smoke-Free Mimi,
Habits are so hard to break. Personally I have a horrible habit of picking my nose. Sure, tame on the outset. It is not smoking, not as harmful, not as smelly, not as publicly agreed on that it is very bad, but it is still gross. Often I find myself picking my nose, finding some real gold and then having no where to put it and I’m in the middle of conversation with someone. I’m sure they can see that I have found something and it is now in my hand. I’m sure that is derailing our conversation in some way. I’m sure that I’m definitely not listening as hard because I’m too focused on the little piece of treasure I’m rolling between my index and thumb. Is this smoking? not at all, but it is gross and affecting my relationships.
Now, if my nose picking was dangerous for a premature spawn of mine? Yeah, I’d figure out a way to stop. You’ve tried logical step of being communicative and that failed. Now you have to get illogical. I offer two ways to get her to stop. Number one is smoke her out of her own house. You could go the illegal, adolescent way: SWAT-ing them. This one is risky, but could really send the message and scare her straight. If you’re unfamiliar with SWAT-ing, you are essentially calling in a raid as an anonymous tip. They’re going to ram the door in and throw flash and smoke bombs and arrest her because they think she’s a terrorist or drug kingpin. Then, when the smoke literally clears and you bail her out, you can explain that this was for her smoking and not an error in anyone’s judgment.
The other thing you can do is get one of those Talkboys from Home Alone. They sold them for real and here is a link to buying one today: Talkboys for Sale.
You get a talk boy and you have it by your side whenever there is a smoker-in-law visit. Prerecord a bunch of different responses the baby would have if they could talk now. Things like, “oh my poor poor premature lungs!” or *cough, cough* “I think I can feel the cancer growing.” or “help me Mimi is trying to kill me!” This should spook her even though she probably knows it is just you doing a baby voice. It may shift her perception of the situation. And if anything you can play those for your kid when they’re older and they can make a cool art project or noise band song with it!
Send any and all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Bad Advice."
This week I’m in Denver all week. For things you should check out soon, WOOtenanny has our big Great Idea Comedy Contest (Tuesday Aug. 29, Ralph’s Rock Diner). We are giving away a total of $3,500 to three winners with the grand prize being $2K! If you want to watch or cheer on one of the 50 comedians vying for that cash you can get more info on the FREE event here.
Then on September 10th we have the very funny Dan Telfer playing in the Game Room at That’s E! on Park Ave. Dan is all over one of the best. He has a great bit where you tell him the best dinosaur and then he tells you that you’re wrong. Check it here: Dinosaurs! You can get tickets to that show here.
That’s all this week! Thanks for reading!