Willow, my blogging friend from Willow’s corner, wrote a different guest posts and it hit home, I had to swallow hard,when I read about her twin sister. In her humorous, candid way she wrote a guest post from a non-smokers view:
Why I never smoked (by Willow’s Corner)
Let me start out with this caveat… I’ve tried cigarettes – three times if I remember correctly. Tried them. Every time was basically the same, I got the idea that there had to be something behind all the hype and I’d light one up. It burned all the down, and it burned all the way up, and every single time I ended up a coughing, hacking mess. Each time I’d think, “This feels good to people?” and toss the rest of the cigarette in the trash (after putting it out of course). I also have vague recollections of smoking while drunk, which was one of two signs to my friends that they needed to cut me off – the other was if I had a beer in my hands. I neither smoked nor drank beer unless I was falling down drunk. Luckily, it didn’t happen very often. But that’s neither here nor there.
So the first time I picked up a cigarette with the idea that there had to be something behind all of this smoking business, that it must be cool to smoke, was way back when I was about eleven or twelve. My twin and I had this babysitter (for our baby brother, we were way too old for a babysitter) who would send us to the store about five blocks away with fifty cents each so we could get an ice cream and coke. We thought she was the coolest thing ever! Fifty cents! That was a lot of money to a kid in the seventies. But we had a job to do on the way to the store and back. Our babysitter told us to look on the ground and pick up all of the cigarette butts we could find that had anything left on it. So we did. Back then, people tossed their butts everywhere. We’d come home with a lunch bag full of cigarette butts and she’d harvest them for the tobacco. We were eleven, we didn’t even comprehend how nasty that was. We just thought she was cool for rolling her own cigarettes.
So my sister and I decided one day to keep one of the longer cigarette butts for ourselves and see what the fuss was all about. We took some matches, snuck around back and lit it up. Both of us ended up coughing and hacking of course. But where I swore off cigarettes altogether, my twin was hooked. At age eleven is when she picked up the habit. She started with the cigarettes she could find in the street, just as she was taught. Also because at age eleven, she didn’t have an income. Then she’d bum a cigarette here and there from the older kids who thought it was “cute” to see such a young kid smoking. She played that up for all it was worth too (we were cute kids, and identical twins to boot). They’d offer me one too, but… I politely declined. The memory of the smoke burning its way up and down my throat stayed with me for a long time.
Of course, we soon grew old enough to start babysitting ourselves, and my sister got to buy her own cigs. She’d “borrow” some from whomever she babysat for too. Addiction knows no bounds. They weren’t going to miss one or two cigs, right? It’s not like she was stealing the whole pack. Jeez. Rationalization… it’s everywhere when you’re addicted. She’s never been swimming in money, but she always has enough for cigarettes. Just as I always have enough for coffee, even if it’s crappy store brand instant coffee (we all have our addictions).
But I’ll be honest with y’all. I didn’t see anything wrong with my sister’s smoking habit when I was a kid or even when I was a teenager. I never tried to get her to stop smoking until we were well into our adulthood. By then, she was well and truly addicted. She’d developed smoker’s cough and asthma. But whenever someone tried to tell her that the cigarettes were ruining her health, she’d roundly declaim that knowledge. I can’t even count the times she’d be coughing up a lung and screaming, “This is not smoker’s cough!”
“Really? That’s not what the doctor said!”
“Well, he’s an idiot!” *cough* *cough*
“Someone’s an idiot, and it’s not the doctor!”
“It’s my life! *cough* *cough* Leave me alone!”
I’ve also lost count of the times she’s quit. Sometimes for a day, sometimes for hours. Once she made it a whole week. But I don’t blame her for not being able to kick her addiction. It’s not her fault. She’s addicted, and it’s not easy to say, “I quit you.” to an addiction (again, I’ve got my coffee addiction). But watching her struggles, and watching how that addiction has aged her – we would never be mistaken for one another anymore. The smoking has aged her beyond her years. It’s been a slow process, but up to about five years ago, we always looked — if not identical, then close enough to be confused for the other. But now, she looks like my older sister, and that makes me sad. Watching this process has made me not want to smoke, even though I’ve picked up cigarettes at least three times to see what the fuss is all about.
Thank you Willow~!