You know you’re getting old when an enterprise opens in your town and you have no idea what it does or sells, even though its name clearly states what business it’s in.
Such an enterprise is The Stamford Vaporium.
What the hell is a vaporium?
My first thought was that it is somehow illicit, probably because it’s on the second floor of a building on a busy street, right above a burger place and a frozen yogurt place, in a location that used to be a “day spa.” Perhaps lonely gentlemen go there to be attended to by scantily-clad Asian women who massage mentholated grease into their chests so as to provide cleared nasal passages and happy endings.
On the other hand, a place like that would probably be called a Vaporub.
Or maybe it is a drug den where people lounge on large pillows and take long drags on water pipes filled with opium, while others just sort of wander around inhaling the vapors.
In my younger days, I would never have gotten up the nerve to enter this establishment to find out what it was, especially if I had to walk up a flight of stairs. But now I am older and more experienced in the ways of the world, and no longer afraid of new experiences. Also, I can just go online to find out what a vaporium is without ever going near the place… except to get some yogurt.
The first thing I discovered on the website of The Stamford Vaporium is that the place has a mission. “Our Mission” says one of the headings. I have an instant mistrust of any entity with a mission, because I frequently find that people or businesses with a mission want you to share that mission or, at the very least, donate money. The mission of The Stamford Vaporium is as follows:
Our mission is to bring individuals who desire to make the transition from traditional cigarettes to vaping, a place where all concerns and questions can be addressed and answered. We strive to bring our customers the most reliable vapor products and brands at competitive pricing.
Well, that’s pretty straightforward. It’s good to have a place where you can go to have all concerns and questions addressed and answered. Here’s one to start with:
What the hell is “vaping?”
I’m kidding, of course. I’m a writer, so I can figure out that “vaping” is obviously the present progressive tense of the verb “to vape.” And I’m not an idiot, so I can surmise from the context that the verb “to vape” has something to do with “vapor products.”
Thus I come to the conclusion that The Stamford Vaporium is a place where people who want to quit smoking go to put towels over their heads and hold their faces over vaporizers, such as the one my mother filled with water after she rubbed Vicks Vaporub* into my chest. (I’m going back a number of years now.)
My theory seemed to be confirmed by one of the products The Stamford Vaporium sells: Personal Vaporizers. However, they also “carry a large selection of RDAs, MODs, Tanks & Drip Tips.” What the heck is that stuff? And why is there a photo of a man who appears to be smoking a ballpoint pen?
Maybe I could find the answers on the last section of the website, headlined “Our Specialties.” Here is the entire list:
- Space Jam
- Cosmic Fog
- Juice Maniac
- Gemini e-liquid
- Suicide Bunny
- Vintage E-liquids
I knew that Space Jam was a movie with Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny (which also somewhat explained “Suicide Bunny”–it was a bad movie which almost ended Bugs’ career), but I didn’t know what any of the other stuff was. And since I had investigated this far, I really had no choice but to experience first hand what an e-liquid is.
So I Googled it.
And I found dozens of sites like myfreedomsmokes.com, which is the one I clicked on. I swore that I was over 18, which was about as far as it could possibly be from being a lie, and I was taken to a page filled with photos of what appeared to be medicine dropper bottles. Above them was this copy:
Our VG e-liquids are for those who are cloud chasing and looking for maxium (sic) vapor production, especially when vaping with a rebuildable atomizer and mechancical (sic) mod. Your (sic) sure to find something that’s soon to be your All Day Vape!
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t find this to be particularly edifying, other than to conclude that, whatever vaping is, when you do it with whatever e-liquids are, it severely affects your spelling. As is increasingly the case these days, here were a bunch of words that I (mostly) understood individually, but which made no sense when put together.
I also realized that my initial theory about all this was absolutely correct.
I am getting old. And I’m pretty sure my prime cloud-chasing days are behind me.
See you soon.
*This also explains my earlier joke in case you’re too young to know what Vaporub was.