'Smoking Sam,' Poem in the Style of Dr. Seuss

Weeks after the city council approved a stricter smoking ban, a lone activist turns to poetry to show his ire.

James R. Neal, the cowboy who gathered more than 1,000 petitions with the hopes to prevent a smoking ban from passing in the Mountain View City Council, has decided to use another route to get his point across—poetry.

Here's his 'Dr. Seuss inspired 'Smoking Sam' poem, which he read during the Oral Communications from the public section.

One day I went to Mountain View,

City Council to see what was new,

They were going to pass a smoking ban,

“Hey that’s not cool”, I told the man,


They looked at me with angry eyes,

Some activist shouted “Hey! Who’s that guy?”,

I proudly said, “My name is Sam!”,

“I’m here to stop the smoking ban!”,

“I’ve read the bill and it’s no surprise”,

“The science behind it has holes and lies”,

Then I heard the gavel slam,

And someone shouted, “I don’t like Sam!”

“I do not like his cigarette breaks”,

“I do not like the puffs he takes”,

“I do not like him here or there”,

“I do not like him anywhere!”,

So then I thought “If I use reason”,

“Maybe I can end this mean season”,

I said, “Listen please, I have some questions”,

“About the things your ordinance mentions”,

“For instance, can I smoke on a train?”,

“Can I smoke on a plane?”,

“Can I smoke on a boat?”,

“Can I smoke in a bar?”,

“Can I smoke in a car?”,

“Can I smoke in my home?”,

“If I am living there alone?”,

Some replied with a blank stare,

Some replied with an angry glare,

One turned bright angry red,

Before he spoke to me and said,

“You cannot smoke on a train”,

“You cannot smoke on a plane”,

“You cannot smoke on a boat”,

“You cannot smoke with a goat”,

“You cannot smoke in a bar”,

“You cannot smoke in a car”,

“You cannot smoke in your home”,

“Even if you are living there alone”,

“You cannot smoke here or there”,

“You cannot smoke anywhere!”,

“I will impose my smoking ban”,

“Because I do not like you Smoking Sam”,

“I will make you smoke in the rain”,

“Or in the cold till you feel the pain”,

“Of frosty winter’s angry bite”,

“Then I shall smile with delight”,

“I will make you walk up and down the street”,

“Till blisters form upon your feet”,

“You see I know what’s best for you”,

“And now your smoking days are through!”,

“Who cares about the Constitution?”,

“I’ll nullify it with this resolution!”,

“I do not like you Smoking Sam”,

“So I will pass my smoking ban”,

It was then I knew my freedom was lost,

So I walked out into the frost,

Went to the mountains full of snow,

The temperature was 10 below,

Although there was no one for miles around,

Still I feared to make a sound,

I struck a match and lit my smoke,

Thinking: “Freedom’s now become a joke!”.

Victor Sheely March 19, 2012 at 09:30 AM
I might agree with a smoking ban in public outdoor places or in homes, but the smoking ban in Mountain View was only within 25 ft. of buildings and it certainly did not make illegal, smoking in homes. I would certainly allow a ban on dangerous, carcinogenic petrochemical compounds and fuels, GMO foods, pesticides, and weed killers, etc. Another hidden detail about this poem I must point out, is that Dr. Seuss aka Theodore Seuss Geisel, Theo LeSieg and Rosetta Stone, in who's style you wrote the above protest rattle, was a regular pipe smoker. All four of the Smoking Seusses died of throat cancer.
Jim Neal March 24, 2012 at 06:11 AM
Actually, the ban is kicking smokers out of private property as well. The patio ban makes it illegal to smoke on the patios, many of which were specially built to allow smokers to still come to bars after the indoor ban was passed many years ago. There is also a prohibition on smokers in large complexes smoking inside their condos, so you are wrong there too! As far as what you would ban, maybe there are some habits that you have, or things that you eat or even perfumes you wear that I would ban if I were a someone who was interested in telling other people what is good for them and how to enjoy their lives. The point is that everyone who was on the patios was smoking or knew there was smoking going on so non-smokers could easily avoid these areas if they chose to. We were not bothering anyone and there were no complaints about any of the places that the patio ban will affect. You should have come to the Council meetings like I did if you wanted to truly understand what the ban does. The smoking Seusses, as you call them, made their choice to smoke as everyone who smokes does. IT IS OUR CHOICE NOT YOURS! My grandmother died of smoking related illnesses, but she also drank and partied. She had more fun in her life than anyone I ever knew and like her, I would rather die doing what I love to do than live the boring safe life that you want to dictate that I live your way.


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