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Smoke gets in my eyes.

The 747 jumbo jet started its descent and the "No Smoking" signs flashed on. Some of the men wearing smoking jackets immediately went to change their clothes, and the voice of the pilot announced: "We are about to land. Fasten your seat belts and put your oxygen masks on so you can breathe."

The smog has been so terrible lately that you really do need an oxygen mask these days in the big cities of the nineties. A member of the Paris City Council has proposed that the street signs be written in Braille so they can be read in the fog. Skimpily dressed prostitutes on the streets of Amsterdam have to describe themselves to potential customers. When a man was mugged in London, the only thing the assailants took were his cough drops. A truck driver in Mexico City put air in his tires and two of them died. It's not that bad in all the big cities, of course. I live in Los Angeles, where we have a light smog, and I can see the bedside table quite clearly every morning when I wake up.

The great thing about smog is that what you see is what you breathe.

People with respiratory problems are warned to avoid violent exercise. That may be why I saw Superman trying to flag a cab the other day.

Banks in some of the factory districts of Sao Paulo are now handing out four-month calendars to their customers. They figure nobody will live longer than that.

In Buenos Aires, housewives call their kids into the house to get some fresh air, and tell them: "Eat your dinner, honey, before it gets dirty!"

Some people say there wasn't any smog back in the days of the Indians: but weren't they the ones who started polluting the atmosphere with those famous smoke signals of theirs?

A lot of us look back nostalgically to the time when "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" was the little of a romantic ballad, not a weather report.

I'm not exaggerating. The other day in New York a fifteen-year-old boy shot an arrow into the air and it bounced back.

And a doctor in the Santa Fe district of Bogota diagnosed his patient's trouble as polluted water on the knee.

With this smog problem, there's another conference on environmental protection practically every day. Everybody seem to realize that it's easier to organize such conferences than to change a filter in their air conditioner or bend down to pick up a six-pack. Aldo Cammarota, a native of Argentina, is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles, California.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Organization of American States
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Cammarota, Aldo; Meza, Barbara
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Date:Mar 1, 1992
Words:435
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