Could someone please lend me a time machine and a LART*?
When I was a teenager I was violently anti-smoking. I imagine I was utterly insufferable, totally annoying.
Not much change there, then 😉
My parents smoked, and I hated everything about it.
The smell. Disgusting. I recall the revulsion but of course my neurons now feed me a different story.
The knowledge that it simply wasn’t healthy for my parents. Knowledge reinforced by films of blackened lungs they showed us at school (do they still educate children in that way these days? – perhaps not, it might be considered ‘too scary’ for such tender bairns). At the time, ‘passive smoking’ hadn’t been invented yet, so I wasn’t concerned about my own health.
Most annoying of all was the fact that my Mum used to get me to walk down to the corner shop to buy her yet another ‘Twenty Players Number Six Tipped’… I hated doing that so much that for a long while I was even ‘unable to remember’ what it was that she wanted me to get… a puerile attempt to get out of going. Isn’t it odd how the mind works?
Then, all of a sudden (so it seems) one day I was 18, and in the eyes of the Law an adult capable of making my own decisions. On another day soon after that, I was having a right old go at my best friend, who smoked. His response to my pleas that he give it up was "don’t knock it till you’ve tried it". Now, I’ve always considered myself a fair-minded person; I accepted his demand as a valid point. How can you truly make a balanced decision if you cannot, from your own experience, evaluate all sides?
My mate offered me a cigarette and I – oh, you mad plonker, me! – accepted it. I vividly recall the dizziness I felt from smoking that very first coffin nail. I had to sit down, before I fell down.
And then, because I owed him a cigarette, I went to the shop to buy him one to replace his ‘gift’ to me. Of course, the shop didn’t sell the things singly… I bought a pack of twenty, gave him one of them, and had nineteen left in the packet. The rest, as they say, is history.
The irony is that at about the same time, my parents gave up smoking. My Dad just recently celebrated his eightieth birthday; I doubt I’ll be so lucky… I still try to give up smoking now and again, but I haven’t yet succeeded. I will do it, though. One day. Before I die.
In my view the tobacco industry has a lot to answer for, and should be held to account for the fact that it sells slow-acting poison. But, that’s another story…
*Loser Attitude Readjustment Tool. Comes in many shapes and forms; most effective is probably a baseball bat.