Growing up on the Farm
My Dad always smoked. As a farmer he spent many hours alone driving a tractor and he was often bored, like a truck driver...smoking was something to do. I remember hauling hay out to the cattle in the winter and Dad would light a Pall Mall with the windows rolled up in the Jeep truck. Wow! The smell was the worst and I can remember saying, "Roll the window down Dad, you're killing me!"
I went to the University of Illinois to study agri-business with the plan to enter ROTC on my way to becoming an Air Force pilot. Ultimately, it was my desire to fly commercially for the airlines. I had no intention of smoking. Never had even tried it. First week of my second year I joined a fraternity.... intramural football game...and a guy sucker-punched me from behind and knocked out several teeth and broke my jaw. Ouch.....They wired my mouth shut for 8 weeks
Everybody in the fraternity smoked and I would get so hungry for food.....I would smoke to curb my appetite. Back then you could smoke just about anywhere or anytime and every time I would feel a hunger pang I would have a smoke and it would make the hunger go away for a while. Hard way to lose a quick 40 pounds, but I just developed the habit of smoking. Smoking is just a habit. It is not addictive like heroin or other addictive drugs.
The Air Force said my eyes were not good enough to be a pilot so I quit ROTC and went ahead to finish my BS. Vietnam was hot and heavy so I went to Southern Illinois University to get my Master's and to figure out my next play. Talked to the Navy, passed their eye exam to be a Naval Aviator and having gotten my Master's Degree, I headed to Pensacola for flight training.
If a person joins the military and has never smoked the odds are very good they soon will be smoking. In the Navy we say, "THE SMOKING LAMP IS LIT!" In the Army it's, "IF YOU GOT 'UM, SMOKE 'UM," Which in civilian terms means if you are not a smoker....KEEP WORKING.....if you are a smoker step over to the side with your friends....AND JOKE AND STROKE. Now really, how long does it take a 19 year old to think.....LET ME TRY ONE OF THOSE?
I spent four years in the Navy either going through flight training or being a flight instructor at Pensacola, FL. Rough life. 1,000 hours over the Gulf of Mexico. I remember one day the student in the front cockpit said.....Sir I believe I smell smoke!!! I was sitting in the back seat having a Winston and told him you probably smell my cigarette. He said "No Sir, I can always smell your cigarette....this smells more like an electrical fire." Suddenly, I look down and smoke is pouring out of my instrument panel. Fire in an airplanes....is not good..you have to work at sounding calm.....when you want to yell...Damn, "WE ARE ON FIRE!!!" ......next stop an abandoned airstrip in the middle of nowhere.
Time to Quit Smoking
After I left the Navy I taught college for a couple years. Then went to work for a large money center bank in Chicago. I was still smoking a couple packs a day while my Dad was fighting emphysema and my older brother was having open heart surgery -- all smoking related. I quit smoking using hypnosis. I knew it seemed to make it easier for me to step-up and work though the urges. I still would think about having a smoke but I was smart enough to know I couldn't win smoking. And then one day I got up and realized I had not even thought about a cigarette the entire day before....THAT IS WHAT I CALL BEING A NON-SMOKER.
I can still hear my Dad saying, Hell you gotta die from something!? Well you can bet on this....at the end of his life he fought for every breath. It was interesting; he had a stroke that destroyed the receptors in his brain that cause any smoker to think of having a cigarette. He never had another cigarette after the stroke. He lived for several more years.
Near the end of his life....he would be in the hospital bed....basically unconscious not getting enough oxygen to be awake and aware.....on the farm he always wore long sleeve work shirts everyday and....now, in the hospital bed you could see him curl-up 3 fingers and tug on his hospital gown like he was reaching for a pack of smokes in his shirt pocket. The habit of smoking.
Every smoker has to understand they will die a smoker. They will never forget how to smoke.
The things we remember!!!