There was a time when I smoked. It wasn’t really until I was in basic training with the Army that I smoked; actually, it was when I had washed out of basic training and was waiting for my discharge orders and a flight home. But I became a regular smoker, and stayed that way for about five years. Unfiltered Chesterfield Kings were a particular favorite, though I couldn’t find them everywhere.
It’s been more than twenty years since I was a regular smoker – oh, a cigar here and there, but no cigarettes, and no pipe. Not even a cigar for the last couple of years. There are times when I still miss it, and the temptation is surprisingly strong, though I haven’t given in. It’s better that our kids haven’t grown up around it, and that the messages they get about smoking are unrelentingly negative. They’re better off, even if it makes it hard to explain all those old movies and the whole culture that grew up around smoking.
Of course, growing up in the late 1960s and 1970s, a lot of people smoked. My parents did, at least for a while. My mother quit when I was still pretty young, and my dad did, too, though I was never quite sure that he had quit completely. Cancer was never really an issue in our family, but heart disease and stroke were (are). That, and my wife’s complete aversion to it, are what keep me from giving in. Just as well.