Godzilla Eyes

October 3, 2007 at 12:49 pm (That's not funny..., Waxing Nostalgic)

On Groundhog’s Day, 1996, I smoked a cigarette. It wasn’t the first by any means, but it had been a long time. I’d quit on September 28, 1992, and hadn’t looked back. Groundhog’s Day was my anniversary, and it had been about five years since the final break-up between my ex-wife and I. I was feeling melancholy that she’d never called, or even acknowledged the day. (The exception was our first- but you’ll have to ply me with drinks to get those details. Sorry.) I’d known the relationship was long-dead, but it still bummed me out.

I bought a pack of cigarettes (Camel Filters) and went home. I poured a glass of whiskey, and lit one up. They still tasted like shit. Why did I do this? And why am I doing this now?

I started smoking at age twelve. I was fascinated by the TV commercials, (“Winston tastes good, like a, bump bump, cigarette should!” “Welcome to Marlboro country!” “Hey Are you a New Freedom Lady?” Oops, wrong product. I digress.) It looked cool, and most of the people I admired smoked. My parents didn’t, but they never did anything I considered fun.

I ran with a pack of brats. We were very much like the South Park kids, only not as chummy. Save one, we weren’t real delinquents. The one who was a delinquent? Had almost the same name as me, and we became best friends in sixth grade. I will call him Manson.

Manson and I had a scheme. Another fellow, Greg, had really nice handwriting, so he would compose the note. “Please send Manson home with two packs of Camel Filters. Any questions please call me. 555-1212. Thanks, Phyllis.” Phyllis sounded like a good mom name.

Greg would hide out of site, and I would wait at the pay phone across the street. The guy never called, but I had it all planned out if he did. “Mom!” Wait three seconds. “Um, she’s in the shower, but if this is about the cigarettes, would you ask Manson to hurry. She’s going to want a cigarette before work!” It never got to that point, as we always got the cigarettes. The guy started remembering Manson, and since he always bought two packs of adult cigarettes, it seemed natural. In those days it was no big deal. Today the guy would be facing a $500 fine and possible arrest.

The price of cigarettes back then, in 1973? Thirty-five cents. Gasoline was twenty-eight cents. A dollar’s worth would get you to Gresham and back from Sandy. Twice.

After about six months of this, I went out behind the cabin to smoke this cool new product, Winchesters. They were cigars, shaped like cigarettes, with a filter. They kicked my ass!

It wouldn’t be the first time that day.

Mom was going out with friends, and went to kiss me goodbye. “Have you been smoking?” Her eyes lit up like Godzilla. She raged at me, but her friends were waiting, so she told my dad to take care of it.

Dad was cool. He didn’t get mad. He asked why I was smoking. He let me know he disapproved, but if I insisted on continuing that I do it in the open, so he didn’t have to worry about me burning the farm down. In other words, it was up to me if I wanted to kill myself. I was ecstatic!

I went off with my buddies, won a Punt, Pass and Kick competition and returned home waving my trophy, triumphant.

And was met at the door by mom. The Godzilla eyes were brighter. She had the razor strop in hand. It was a piece of leather, about six inches wide, a quarter-inch thick and long enough to wrap around me. (“I am the wrestling champion of the world!”) She thrashed my ass to a glowing red, and told me if I EVER smoked around her again, it would be twice as bad.

Point taken. I didn’t smoke another cigarette until well after my eighteenth birthday.

Even then, it wasn’t so much a matter of enjoyment as it was covering ‘other smells’. While cigarettes were bad, pot would get me thrown off the property, so I made sure I always smelled like cigarettes after a reefer session.

Of course I got hooked, and smoked until September 1992. Quitting was the best thing I’d ever done. I could suddenly climb the stairs at the MAX platform without having to stop and rest. I didn’t smell like an ashtray. I always had money in my pocket. That was a big one. It was like getting a raise! I wasn’t spending $2-$3 a day on toxic fumes.

So, why did I start again, and what happened? Stay tuned. Right now I have to go sell some cigarettes…

1 Comment

  1. gee.....no said,

    I guess if it were not for cigerettes, I would’nt smoke ’em.

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