John R. Houk
© October 24, 2014
Danny Jeffrey wrote a convincing essay connecting cigarette smoking and constitutionally insured Liberty. Below is the comment I left to that essay (if indeed it posts) entitled “Seeking answers to today's issues.” You may understand my thoughts better if you read his essay.
I didn't read all the comments Danny, but Wow! You certainly got a big response.
Anyway, you are one of my favorite polemicists. That said, you might be disappointed to learn that I am a non-smoker. And in my later years I have been somewhat militant about non-smoking.
Before you stone me you should be aware that my Grandmother whom I lived with was a lung cancer survivor twice. The second time she quite – cold turkey. I have to admit Grandma’s cold turkey was not a pleasant experience for me. Grandma was more than a bit grouchy about very simple matters. Going cold turkey affected her health in other ways. Cold turkey meant overeating to take her mind off the nicotine cravings. By her mid-70s she became a diabetic and died of a heart attack.
My Uncle was also a butt-hacker. When he was in his early 60s he became the unlucky recipient of lung cancer – and died 3 months later.
As I said my Grandmother was a smoker. Consequently my Grandfather was also a smoker. He actually smoked Camels without filters. He also quit cold turkey. Mysteriously he did not turn into a nicotine deprived monster as my Grandma did. He died in his mid-80s natural causes. I should mention he smoked from his teenage days until his early-50s when he quit cold turkey. Just guessing – it seems then he smoked nearly 40 years and was nicotine free for about 30 years.
My Grandmother was about 12 years older than my Grandfather and it was her 2nd marriage (Yup, she robbed the cradle). Grandma smoked Raleighs. Since I was perched in the backseat when Mom drove and Grandma sat in the front passenger seat, the cigarette smoke flowed toward the back. Yup, car sickness was a frequent issue for me. A smoke filled living room was something I learned to tolerate but never enjoyed. In the present I often wonder how I trained myself to tolerate smoke filled rooms. Now-a-days being in a room that has been smoke filled nauseates me.
Nonetheless there was a silver lining to Grandma’s chain smoking days. Raleighs had reward coupons. We acquired many fun things over the years because Grandma was also a compulsive coupon saver. I still have fond memories of the excellently made croquette set those coupons delivered to us. I owned that croquette set through my own children’s childhood and teen years – long after Grams went to live with Jesus.
Here’s some irony for you Danny. You went to Washington State to visit a Conservative friend, right? I grew up in a small college town in Central Washington that had about 10,000 people living in it when I was a kid and about 14,000 by the time I graduated and moved to Oklahoma to attend a Bible School. For a little more background the small town was roughly divided between the College students (now University) and the local townspeople. I was one of the townspeople. As you can guess the townspeople tended to lean toward Conservatism even if it was unwittingly. And the College was quite liberal especially a significant number of the students were from the Seattle side of the Cascades that roughly divides Washington State.
Now I say unwitting “Conservatives” because most of the townspeople (including my family) acted like Conservatives in values but voted Democrat because of the false perception that Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved America from the Depression. Yup, I was one of those Baby Boomers that had the deprivations of the Depression history drilled into my childhood. Wasted food was a corporal punishment crime and my Mom walked uphill in the snow both ways to school.
Conservatism for me was thus a transition from the kind of Liberal Democrats that were around in my teen days to becoming a Born Again Christian at age 20. In the transition I played with Libertarianism for a while under the influence of Ayn Rand then embracing Conservatism. The Liberal Dems in Washington State in my teen days would be described as Neocons today. Socially Center-Liberal and with a big pro-military stand to fight Communism. My last Dem Senator Hero was Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson.
So much for the small town background.
Sooo – cigarette smoke made me nauseated as a kid and really does now as a person a couple of years away from 60. I am one of those people Danny that you would be upset with. I am very gratified that non-smoking areas has increased exponentially since my childhood days.
On the other hand leave it to you to expose the hypocrisy of my gratitude. I would be one that rails against homosexual activists and atheist activists trampling on the First Amendment Rights of Christians. I would be the one exploding because a school banned a patriotic or Christian oriented shirt but saw no problem no problem in pressing anti-Christian homosexual acceptance and teaching the ways of Allah for multicultural understanding. AND yet your point that a smoker exercise in Liberty is hampered by regulating space where free will should occur when there is no harm to others.
Danny I would be one telling you that each cancer stick you smoke is another coffin nail in your life. But being your 70s that argument is pretty ridiculous to make. Danny I am assuming you are lung cancer free so telling you of the dangers of smoking to your lungs does seem a bit ludicrous. It has to sound a bit like telling a fish he might drown for spending so much time in the water.
In your sharing I was quite amused how you segued from smoke-Liberty to Americans losing their patriotic heritage to stand for Truth, Justice and the American Way or die trying. Frankly that is how you convinced me that smoke-Liberty is as important American Liberty. The old saying that goes: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it,” (Voltaire) is becoming a lost train of thought of in America’s divisive political spectrum.
Danny you have convinced me of your butt-hacker Liberty to smoke and I will die to defend that right. Wait, I’m an overweight dude on a disability. Will you defend my right to be a fatso to the death?
Just kidding. I’ll defend your right to smoke. Probably I won’t try dying though. As you pointed out in your essay there is a good chance I will fall victim to being overweight long before the last coffin nail hits your casket.
Danny since I now defend your smoke-Liberty, if our paths should ever cross perhaps you might give me a heads up before you light up. I got to tell ya man, smoking really does produce a nauseating feeling for me.