the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Nag

I know many of my female readers are eagerly waiting for Sophia to give me the final boot, so you could grab me as your own personal boy toy. Let me temper that enthusiasm with some reality. One of Sophia’s biggest complaints about me is that I can be a real nag. I have an open mind about most things, but when an action rubs me the wrong way, I get all moralistic and can’t keep my mouth shut. There are some things that I just HATE — like when someone uses an old “Handicapped Parking Card” to park more easily at the mall, or when anyone litters in public. I can go on for hours about how one napkin thrown on the ground can make a Native American stand by the freeway and cry.

I blame the New York public school system for making me into a nag. The teachers were the biggest nags on Earth. Even though “global warming” hadn’t hit it big yet, pollution was on every teacher’s agenda. They made us celebrate “Earth Day.” I don’t remember much geometry, but I do remember my social studies teacher forcing us to write to the Japanese Prime Minister to tell him to stop killing whales. Being a frequent “Citizen of the Month” at school, I ate this stuff up. I was going to change the world, even as a third grader. I scolded my mother about choosing unsafe for dolphins tuna fish. I warned my mother about the freon in the refrigerator. I still nag today about the “trans-fats” in the “low-fat” cookies she eats, which she thinks are healthy. She nags me. I nag her. That’s why we get along so well.

No one likes a nag, but nagging can be an effective tool in getting someone to change their ways (although it hasn’t been very successful with Sophia).

Maybe I need to talk about my nagging when I go to therapy. Who wants a man that nags? Why can’t I just leave people alone to make their own mistakes? I hate when people are annoying to me, asking me why I have an SUV or criticize me for my poor recycling of bottles.

When I was younger, my mother was a social smoker. She hardly smoked at all — maybe one or two cigarettes on the weekend with friends. I was so brainwashed by my anti-smoking teachers that I just nagged her into quitting. I was like Bart Simpson repeating a sentence over and over again until Homer gives in.

“Mom, you know those cigarettes can kill you? Right? Right? And if we breath it in with you, you are killing us, too. Right, right?”

I don’t think my mother touched a cigarette ever again once I got through with her.

I’m actually astounded that so many people still smoke after all these years of bad press and being ostracized by the general public. In LA, you can’t even smoke on the beach!

Every once in a while, I read about one of you smoking a cigarette, usually on the weekend in a bar. I try hard to restrain myself from lecturing you. I don’t want to come off as a humorless prig. My image is that of fun and exciting, not moralistic and dull. And after all, it is your life. But, you do realize, that the second-hand smoke goes into the blogosphere and affects us all? Right? Right?

Sarah from “Sad and Beautiful World” is almost done with her 365 Project on Flickr. She has done amazing work and you should check out her photos.

Here is a photo of Sarah and her husband Pete. How cute they are! But —

sarah2.jpg

I’m not going to say anything.

(is there anyone else I need to publicly nag?)

30 Comments

  1. Dagny

    I had to light up a cigarette to write this comment. Because I really don’t give a **** about the rest of you. Well, maybe I do because I actually used asterisks for a word that I have no problem saying. Unless it’s in front of kids.

    And yes, I think that your need to nag is a very good start for your therapy. More than likely you will find out that you are a control freak and have a need to bend others to your will. Not that I am speaking from personal experience. However, if I was, I would tell you that it is much easier to do if you are blowing smoke from your freshly lit cigarette in their faces. Oh yeah, and saying a lot of double entendres. You’d be surprised how many adamant non-smokers can be won over with a double entendre.

  2. Bre

    Second hand smoke can get into the internet? Sheesh, now I’m really scared…

  3. Noel

    I had planned, today, to go to the local school yard and strew it with old papers and pop cans. But, thanks to you, that owl, and that – er, canoe guy, I won’t.

  4. Heather B.

    My mother is a nag. I’m moving out in approximately three weeks. I don’t care if I have to lift my dresser again or use an allen key to put together my stupid ikea bed, I’m getting the fuck out.

    Just don’t nag.

  5. AscenderRisesAbove

    My daughter, about five years old at the time, would go up to people smoking in restaurants (back in the day when there were smoking areas in restuarants) and would say “don’t you know that smoking will turn your bones black?” Now she is full grown and just recieved her teaching degree. I think you may be on to something here. 😉

  6. brooke

    Remember when you used to ask me why I don’t go out with Jewish boys…

  7. Lisa

    Here’s what really kills me. I’m a runner. I have enough trouble breathing let alone breathing on smog alert days. Some of my runner friends are smokers! I can’t IMAGINE how bad that is on performance. Obvi I’m faster than them but seriously. Why bother running if you’re ruining your lungs anyway?

  8. Neil

    Dagny — “More than likely you will find out that you are a control freak and have a need to bend others to your will.”

    That is true. But at least I pressure people to stop smoking and not to start smoking. I would be a very bad drug pusher. “Are you sure you want to buy this crack from me? Wouldn’t you rather use that money to invest for the future?”

  9. Finn

    Thank you for not saying anything. *rolls eyes*

  10. V-Grrrl

    I’m married to a nag. Sophia I feel your pain as a fellow nag hag.

  11. Katie

    Maybe it’s just your Myers-Briggs type to be a Citizen of the Month kind of guy? You like order, you don’t like rule breakers, you want to do the right thing…I’m gonna guess INTJ? Nothing to be ashamed of, it’s just who you are! Own it and be proud.
    And you’re so right about the smoking thing…it’s why I would have a very hard time living in Europe. Or the Middle East. Or the American South, for that matter. A big cheer for my health-conscious, gay-friendly, socially-liberal enclave of Massachusetts!

  12. Neil

    Oh, Finn, please don’t tell me…

    What is it with women and smoking? I don’t have any male friends who smoke.

    I almost got into a verbal spat with Crazy Aunt Purl when I found out that a lovable knitting blogger once LOVED SMOKING!

    My goal for this week is to make everyone quit for good!

    Katie — I need to check out those tests. I’ve never done them.

  13. sizzle

    i’m sure you could find many things to nag me about. but let’s remain friends, shall we?

    😉

  14. Sarah

    You are going to pay for this, Neil!!

    Lucky for you, I am an exceedingly generous spirit and can take this how it was intended. I know you just care about me.

    Maybe we should make a deal: You find a therapist and stick with it for a year, and I’ll quit smoking.

    But if people I don’t know start giving me shit over on my blog or Flickr, I will come over there and hurt you. 🙂

  15. churlita

    I’m just the opposite. Apparently, I got the 70’s “do your own thing, man” lesson. I’ve actually dated guys who complained that I didn’t nag them enough. How strange.

  16. psychomom

    Nag? Not Bitch?

    I say ‘Smoke em if you got em!’
    Last time I checked it was still legal butt it doesn’t seem like it anymore.

    No, I do not smoke cigarettes.

    Littering is illegal so please dispose of your butt properly.

  17. Sarah

    Psychomom, I think I love you.

    It does feel illegal.

    And I do dispose of my butts properly, always. I’m also exceedingly courteous about smoking…never stand in a doorway, never around others at all. I stand out by the trash. With a bag over my head and a scarlet S on my chest.

  18. Mitch McDad

    Just a gratuitous nod to your blog. It is very solid. And as a fellow nag–according to my wife–I say nag on.

  19. psychomom

    Right On Sister Sarah!

    S is also for Sarah, so wear it proudly.

  20. ElizaF

    Forget therapy, if you are that into nagging Neil AND very sure you are in the right, then become a therapist.

  21. LVGurl

    I have things to say, but I’m stunned…

    A man who nags?

  22. gorillabuns

    just where did the word, “nag” come from? i’ve never been one to like it.

    so, basically, what you are saying it means is: i don’t agree with what you are saying or doing and i’m going to tell you all about it until your ears bleed. at that time, hopefully, you bend to my way of thinking. right?

    i think i’ve got it.

    are you sure, you aren’t my husband?

  23. Neil

    Would you rather me say, “Enjoy your cigarette?”

  24. Megan

    You have an SUV? Dude, you are in no position to criticize anyone else. Those things are evil.

  25. LauraH

    As my father, the non smoker, says,”When people stop choking the atmosphere with all their exhaust is when smokers will take the ‘secondhand smoke can kill’ mantra seriously”. It is kind of hypocritical for us to focus on cigarette smoking. I have no dog in the race so I don’t advocate either way really.

  26. Kelly

    My father, a “social smoker” who actually says “I don’t inhale,” just came down with bladder cancer. Bladder cancer has very strong ties to smoking. I’m jes’ sayin’…

    My husband nags me about flossing. It makes him feel better, so I let him do it.

  27. Margaret

    LEAVE SARAH ALONE!!!!
    do you want me to police your fat intake? the ammount of exercise you get? the effects of your unwillingness to seek counselling? do we all have to aim at eternal, mortal life?

  28. Neil

    Margaret — Sure. I would love your policing!

  29. Pearl

    I am the biggest nag…since I was a kid. My kids & husband probably hate me for it. If I’d hang around you, Neil, I’d probably nag you about……………….EVERYTHING!

  30. Sarah

    I can’t believe it has been over a week since I quit smoking and you haven’t even congratulated me!!

    Some nag you are. You didn’t even notice.
    😉

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