Saturday, January 12, 2013


Randolph Scott and Cary Grant light up
Suddenly everybody
stopped smoking.
When I was young, there was nothing more elegant. Now it's just a smoky specter of puffs gone by. Gone forever is the unique art of smoking a cigarette. When done with panache, it was a sight to see!

1959 Pontiac Bonneville
My Aunt Barbie was incredibly chic. Everything about her was modern. She sped around town in a Pontiac convertible. Only wore Chanel, never wore hats. Treated men as equals and owned a color TV. Barbie pushed all boundaries with a lipstick stained cigarette perpetually poised in her hand.

Edward Steichen - Camels - 1928
Everything Barbie touched carried the faint aroma of tobacco. That meant that along with any gift, you also received a whiff of her beloved Camels. Every Christmas she made her famous mocha cookies. An exotic concoction of cocoa, caffeine, and nicotine.
Plus... an occasionally errant ash.

Marlene Dietrich
Estelle Elbert was Mother's dear friend. Wherever she went, a cloud of nicotine and Joy followed. "Stelle" spoke with a raspy smokers voice that was occasionally punctuated by deep, guttural cough. She was no school girl and knew how to work the impact of her addiction, balancing her grey pallor with a swath of crimson lipstick. To the child of a non-smoker, Stelle was beyond amazing!

Who knew that all of this glamour was killing them?

Somewhere along the way it all changed.
Within 20 years smoking has gone from being
a badge of honor to a dirty symbol of weakness.

First the TV commercials.
Then the magazine ads.
Then even billboards disappeared!
Next, you couldn't smoke in restaurants.
Then one day,
if you lit up on the subway platform,
you were treated like a leper.
Finally the music died and
smoking was stripped from BARS.
Suddenly the perfect compliment
to a cocktail was taken away.
The final nail sealed the nicotine coffin.

Today, smokers have become pariahs. Pathetic peons huddled on the loading dock in sub zero temperatures. Double wide addicts who buy cartons at the convenience store. Gravel voiced resistors of reality. Smoking is now a symbol of ignorance.

And who said people can't change?
When I think about cigarettes I know that amazing things are yet to happen.
And I dream that someday,
I might have the same rights as everyone else.
Including smokers.

God love America!