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A friend going through a difficult patch requested a funny story. Not being a joke-teller, I wrote up a tale from my childhood, and thought I'd share it here, and figured I oughta make this a regular feature. So, without further ado, here's the story of how I quit smoking:

In the summer between my fifth and sixth grades, one of my best friends stole a case (as in dozens of cartons) of cigarettes from the country club where he worked. Being generous - at least with ill-begotten goods - he supplied me with as many cigarettes as I could smoke. We rode our bicycles all around the town of Ortonville and our two-stroke dirt-bikes across the western Minnesota countryside for several weeks, cigs dangling rakishly from between our lips, chain-smoking everywhere we went to the tune of about five packs per day. Each. We thought we looked pretty damned good.

After participating as hard as I could in this attempt to be cool, I developed a cough. Amazing, I know. It got pretty bad, to the point that my mom took me to see the doctor. Turns out it was bronchitis. This was in the days when parents accompanied children into the examination room (do they still do that?), so when the doctor - a gray-haired, gruff mountain of a man - asked me, "Chris, do you smoke?" there was only one answer: "No, sir." Mind you, my mom wouldn't know any better, because she turned at least a pack a day into piles of ash, so I figured my fib would be successful. Unfortunately, Dr. Gruff turned to my mom - whom, I should mention, was also a big, scary woman, nearly six feet tall and prone to emotional outburst - and asked, "Linda, do you smoke in front of your children?" Being smarter than I, she knew the stink would put the lie to her denial, so she admitted to it.

What followed was Dr. Gruff berating my mother for what felt like hours, enumerating the ills of smoking in front of developing children, not to mention her own health, etc. She immediately quit smoking, then resumed but only smoked outside.

I had gotten my mom in trouble! That was it: I never smoked again.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 10th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
parents accompanied children into the examination room (do they still do that?)


Aug. 10th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
I would certainly hope so.
Aug. 10th, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)
Now that I think about it, I bet there are _more_ parental-involvement things now than then. Heck, I used to babysit at age 8 or so, fly cross-country by myself around then, and started work at 12.
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:02 pm (UTC)
Per Kansas Law, I believe the minimum age for babysitting is 11. I used to watch my brother and sister by the time I was 8. If I left Ada alone with Jay when she is 8, I'd likely have my children taken from me by the state. You know, for their own safety.

Aug. 11th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
I don't know that I was babysitting in any official way, but the pay was pretty unofficial, too: I seem to recall a buck an hour. I took CPR class when I was 11 or 12 to be a better babysitter....
Aug. 10th, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
: )
Aug. 11th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
Did you smoke as a kid?
Aug. 10th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
When I was in elementary school, I would sometimes get headaches in the morning. But way more often than I had headaches, I would fake them so I could stay home. One morning, while I was in the midst of a fake headache, my Mom decided to take me to the doctor for my chronic condition. I was scared to death, since I was perfectly fine. Of course I told the doctor I had a headache. So he scratched his chin for a bit, and then set up a series of tests at the hospital. I spent three days there with multiple blood draws and other tests.

I kept waiting for the doctors and nurses to gather in my room to accuse me of faking.

It turned out that the occasional real headache I got came from being hypoglycemic. I was never so relieved in my life to find out I had something.
Aug. 10th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha! I can imagine.
Aug. 10th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
Aug. 10th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
...but I got better!
Aug. 10th, 2010 08:46 pm (UTC)
SO, you got your Mom in trouble and in all likelihood reduced HER overall smoking, thus lengthening her life.

BAD boy! Are you over feeling guilty yet? :-)
Aug. 10th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
Heh, one hopes it helped with her health.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 10th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
Nope, but I just told my Dad yesterday!
Aug. 10th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
I'm still not allowed to tell my parents that my brother smoked for a month in high school, and now he's 35.
Aug. 10th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
Isn't it funny, how our parents still hold such sway over us, decades later?
Aug. 10th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC)
You were a pretty smart guy!
Aug. 10th, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 11th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC)
And if smoking's the worst thing you did, I'm sure they were quietly satisfied.
Aug. 11th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
Because both my mom's parents smoked about four packs a day APIECE
I never saw the lure of it. I just thought it was gross.

I have taken exactly one drag off a cigarette in my not-so-misspent young adulthood. At the time I had been smoking something else occasionally as a recreation. We were at a Conquest, at the con suite or something and Pat Taylor spotted something she needed to attend to. She handed me her can of Pepsi (with enough alcohol in it to drop me) and her cigarette so she was ready for anything. I reflexively took a drag off the cig and thought i was going to throw up. she turned around as the situation worked out by itself just as I as turning green and gagging. "You took a hit off my smoke!" she said, then totally cracked up.

I didn't barf but I came damn close.
Aug. 11th, 2010 04:06 am (UTC)
Re: Because both my mom's parents smoked about four packs a day APIECE
Oh, taking a hit off a cigarette pretty much makes me want to barf now, too. Great story!
Aug. 11th, 2010 05:52 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing that great story. It makes me wonder about all the stuff my own child will do that I'll only find out about much, much later (if at all).
Aug. 11th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm sure the kids of today will find all manner of new ways to get into trouble that their parents will never learn about....
Aug. 11th, 2010 10:22 pm (UTC)
Wow. I mean really: wow.

Thanks for sharing this!! It's amazing where we get our inspirations.
Aug. 12th, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it! I'll keep writing up such little stories.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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