When my mother was in seventh grade, Sister Urban Maria sternly advised the girls to eat a hearty breakfast every morning. “I don’t want to hear that you are taking after these fashion models”, she said, “All they have for breakfast is a cup of coffee and a cigarette!”
With this in mind, as soon as class let out, my mom and all the other aspiring fashion models ran to the corner store to buy their first packs of Chesterfields.
Philip Morris owes Sister Urban Maria a commission.
Sixty years later, my mom still smokes.
Mom is the most polite smoker in the world. She would never smoke in someone else’s home, or car, or in a non-smoking designated area. She won’t smoke around my kids, although it doesn’t bother me if she smokes in front of them. They see her for a couple of days a year. It won’t kill them to be around cigarette smoke for a few hours. I lived immersed in second hand cigarette smoke for 18 years. I am fine. Mostly. Nevertheless, my mom wouldn’t dream of smoking around the boys.
I don’t smoke, but I can identify with smokers.
Smokers are bullied. They are bullied socially, medically and legislatively.
Just like fat people.
Here’s an example:
When a smoker gets cancer, people shrug and say “what did you expect?”
When fat people get diabetes they say the same thing.
It’s the Blame Game. Blame the sick for causing the disease. People behave as if smokers deserve cancer. Fat people deserve diabetes.
Remember in the 80’s when HIV and AIDS emerged? Remember the awful jokes? The irrational fear? Remember how people shrugged and said “what did they expect?"
Those were dark days.
I am not denying that smoking is a cause of cancer. That does not mean smokers deserve cancer.
I am not denying that obesity is a cause of Type 2 diabetes. That does not mean fat people deserve diabetes.
I am standing up to the social, medical and legislative bullies.
Sister Urban Maria, pray for us.