I grew up in a cloud. Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, everybody smoked. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors – even the minister, inhaled. I doubt if I ever saw anything clearly – and I’m certain that I always smelled like a Winston. Tobacco ruled. Fancy cigarette boxes, lighters shaped like large chess pieces and oddly molded ash trays were prized possessions. There was no escaping it. Everyone on television smoked. Everyone in the movies smoked. Cowboys in white hats, black hats, jeeps and saloons all lit up the “tobaccy” as they tamed the wild west. Danny Thomas, Donna Reed, Jack Parr – you name it. Smoke was there. Bogey’s Casablanca was awash in it, adding to its intrigue with a magical, swirling haze.
It’s always been a right of passage for young people. I missed that voyage, having never tried it. I’m lucky I guess. Quitting looks really hard. Ask Bogey.