Smoking, take two

smoking take  two


(Note: this is a rewrite of a blog I wrote back in 2011, with maybe a few updates, in the light of recent events.)

 

 

Both my parents smoked. I have distinct memories of sitting in the front seat of our family car, with my father in the driver’s seat on my left and my mother sitting to my right, both of them puffing away, the ashtray overflowing. I couldn’t breathe. I finally spoke up about it when I was about nine or ten years, and it actually inspired my mother to quit smoking.

 

 

This, however, didn’t stop me from taking up the habit myself. I got a free sample of Lucky Strikes at Fenway Park in 1983; I smoked one or two of them; soon after I was in Morocco, and smoking a pack a day; soon after that I was in Tunisia and smoking two packs a day.

 

 

I kept this up until 1998. Remembering the family proclivity for cancer, I resolved to quite when I was forty, and I managed it, just a few months shy of my forty-first birthday.

 

 

I have been reasonably healthy on and off since.

 

 

And now, fifteen years later, I discover that I have throat cancer, the main risk factor for which is – ahem – smoking.

 

 

Go figure.

 

 

I freely acknowledge that it’s my own fault. I knew there were bad genes on both sides of the family, and I knew that smoking could only be bad for me. But I kept it up for fourteen years.

 

 

Foolish, naturally. Most of those fourteen years between ’84 and ‘98, I was just smoking out of habit; I even (as do most smokers) kept it up while I was sick with colds and the flu. I even smoked at meals. I was smelly and utterly obnoxious, and probably nearly burned myself to death more than once. I realize that now.

 

 

But I remember one beautiful morning in Tunis, before I developed my two-pack-a-day habit. I left the house around 8am, bought a pack of local cigarettes, lit up, and –

 

 

That first puff was heaven.

 

 

So it wasn’t all bad.

 

 

But it probably wasn’t worth getting cancer for.


 

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

3 Responses to Smoking, take two

  1. Brilliantly written.

  2. starproms says:

    We’ve all done things we regret now Loren. I smoked myself until I got pneumonia. That cured me!!! That was back in 1982 and I haven’t smoked since. I wish I’d never done it. Back in the day, people didn’t realise how harmful it was, did we? We must all have been quite stupid then! The adverts on TV and at the cinema showed beautiful women and gorgeous men smoking away and it looked attractive. We wanted to copy them, so we took it up. Oh dear!

    • Well, everyone smoked in those days. We knew it was bad, but we did it anyway, and it had its pleasures. Now I see college kids around me smoking, and I think: O my god why?

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