I was on a Southwest Airlines flight and heard this announcement:
“There is no smoking in the cabin on this flight. There is also no smoking in the lavatories. If we see smoke coming from the lavatories, we will assume you are on fire and put you out. This is a free service we provide. There are two smoking sections on this flight, one outside each wing exit. We have a movie in the smoking sections tonight. It is ‘Gone with the Wind'”.
I used to smoke. A lot. Many people did. Cigarettes were everywhere. Even Mary Tyler Moore smoked on her show. So did Lucy, if I’m not mistaken. Johnny Carson and all of his guests did it. It was in style; the thing to do.
Before I did comedy, I was a trainer for a huge corporation. We actually smoked in the classrooms. It was insane! What were we thinking? We weren’t. We didn’t think about the consequences of putting smoke in our lungs and those of others, even though most fire fatalities are due to smoke inhalation. I guess we thought that in small doses it would be OK. Ridiculous, and yet, there was I doing the exact same thing as everyone else.
It was Hollywood, for crying out loud. You did what others did, except drugs I did’t do that. As I mentioned in an earlier blog. l used to smoke three packs a day. Two of them while outside a club, nervous as a fool can be.
I lived on coffee and cigarettes. If you’ve never done stand up, you may not understand. We had no idea what a crazy and dangerous drug nicotine is. Turns out that cigarettes were just the vehicle for getting the nicotine into to our body. The addict’s syringe Nicotine is a very powerful drug.
Nicotine is a stimulant and large amounts can be fatal. Sounds great, doesn’t it? I was as guilty as anyone else. I was sucked in, I smoked more than a three alarm fire.
I started smoking in the Air Force. It didn’t take me long to understand that smokers got breaks and we didn’t. The TI would yell, “Smoke,em if you got ’em”! And the smokers would walk away and take a break while we stood at attention. Done. I bought some and never looked back. I had no clue.
Then I had the desire to stop. I tried so many ways to quit. Nothing seemed to work. Then one day, my little boy grabbed my pack, crushed it and threw it away. At first, I was really mad. I asked him why he did that. His response? Simple. “I want you to live, Dad”. Wow. I’ve never smoked since, nor had the desire to do so. So simple.
I witnessed my father die a horrid death from emphysema. Before he fell into a coma and passed, his smoke stained hand still held the nicotine injectors, Talk about hard core.
Before I end this blog today, please unerstand that I don’t judge those who choose to smoke. It’s not my place. Maybe you’ll quit, maybe you won’t. It’s not my business, unless you’re forcing your smoke on others where you’re not supposed to be. Then it’s everybody’s business. I’ll be praying for you though.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need some coffee. Caffeine can’t be bad for you, can it?
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