Yet another alarming new trend has gripped our nation's youth, youngish and middle-aged, one which calls for the immediate consultation of experts. Unlike the overtly offensive habits of drink, tobacco, and illicit drugs, the growing mania of Ashtray-licking is often subtle and insidious. In fact, its warning signs are often made manifest only through smug, self-righteous romantic rebuffs of smokers. Does this sound like someone you know?


WARNING SIGN 1: An ashtray-licker will admit their habit through the use of simile.


Do not be blinded by this wily manipulation of the English language. This is a shockingly direct cry for help. When faced with a potential romantic partner who smokes cigarettes and wishes to kiss them, an Ashtray Licker will encrypt their own destructive habit in a hackneyed analogy. “Kissing a smoker is just like licking an ashtray!” they will claim. This observation is usually made in a thoroughly disgusted, morally-superior tone of voice. In most cases, the would-be paramour is too stung by the romantic rejection and the curt judgment of their lifestyle to ask themselves how this person came to be familiar with the experience of licking an ashtray. After all, they could not be so arrogant as to make this comparison without some point of reference, could they? Enamored smokers should maintain sufficient clarity of mind to perceive the full implications of such an admission. Otherwise, they may find themselves in danger of kissing a filthy ashtray-licker. 


WARNING SIGN 2: Ashtrays in the proximity of a licker will be inordinately clean.


This may be passed off as part of the overall fastidiousness with which those with this affliction pride themselves, but in fact it is a sign of a deeper pathology. The phrase “licked clean” takes on darker connotations here. It is unknown where, when and how Ashtray Lickers indulge this gustatory bacchanal, but apparently a lingering sweep of the tongue can amass a week’s worth of addictively delicious Camel and Kool ashes. Be aware of suspiciously clean ashtrays, especially if no proper cleaning supplies are evident nearby. This is a sure sign that someone you know is “cleaning” or “Windexing” as it is popularly known on the Street. Something is amiss. Those ashtrays can’t very well lick themselves, can they?



If someone you love is a licker, SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY.


This problem will not simply go away, and the consequences are dire. Not only will your loved one be left with questionable taste buds, but this addiction will also cause them to become intolerably sanctimonious and judgmental.  The connection between Ashtray Licking and smug superiority remains unknown. During the late stages of this pathology, a Licker’s disdain for smokers may cause them to alternate their usual ashtray catchphrase with other annoying platitudes regarding how many minutes a cigarette takes off a person’s life. It will cause a smoker to wish that they could specifically strike those minutes of their lives spent listening to their Ashtray licking friends.