Friday, November 18, 2011

Great American Smokeout - November 17, 2011

Yesterday, I hypnotized smokers for free at Occupy Wall Street (OWS) at Zuccotti Park to mark the Great American Smokeout. Altogether, 20 people quit, (I started a few days before, to iron out any kinks in my project) sitting on the wall on Liberty Street in the cold, the rain, with sounds of chanting, sirens and drums in the background. At one point, I had a line of potential ex-smokers! 
On Tuesday, when I heard that the police had "dismantled" OWS, my first reaction was, "Couldn't they wait until after the Great American Smokeout?" Coincidentally, 11/17 was also the 2 month anniversary of OWS. Undeterred, I brought my sign and my video camera and set up shop. Many people took pictures of my sign:

Among many things I learned: it's easier to hypnotize people in a park than you would think. Smokers came in many varieties. Some only smoked on the weekends when they drink, another smokes three packs a day. Predictably, he's a truck driver. (He thought I was psychic, because I guessed it. The truth is, few people can smoke that much and work -- except truck drivers.) One is on the construction crew building the 9/11 Memorial.

All in all, this was a very gratifying project. As soon as I learn how to edit my video, I'll post it!

Next blog: The Myth of Will Power


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