Have you ever been a smoker? ___Yes ___No
How often? For how long?
Whenever I see those questions on the heath survey you get at the doctor’s office, I never know how to answer. Technically, I did smoke cigarettes… when I was twelve. But does a few cigarettes a week or maybe a few more if I was with friends at Knott’s Berry Farm for the day actually count?
I started smoking to be “cool” of course. But there was nothing cool about that first time I tried it. My best friend Cynthia and I climbed up onto the platform that counted as our treehouse in my backyard one afternoon with our contraband. Back in the early 80s you could actually sneak into a restaurant and buy a pack of cigarettes from a vending machine. People either didn’t catch us or just looked the other way. And like many a Gen Xer, was also a latchkey kid. A great combination for getting up to no good.
We huddled over the pack of Marlboros and clumsily pulled one out. How are you supposed to hold this thing? I held the cigarette between my fingers trying to mimic what I’d seen in the movies, while Cynthia tried to strike the match. After a few failed attempts, we finally got a flame. Now, how to light the cigarette? I put it in between my lips and tried to take a puff. Blech, this thing tasted disgusting. I didn’t inhale long enough to get the thing to light.
“Jie jie! Jie jie!” It was my little brother…
I’ve run out of time. I’ll have to finish tomorrow.