MUSHY'S MOOCHINGS: Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette

Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette
Puff, puff, puff until you smoke yourself to death.
Tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate
That you hate to make him wait,
But you just gotta have another cigarette.

Written by Merle Travis for Tex Williams and released in 1947

It was in the trailer park on Dickerson Road near the Shwab Elementary School in Nashville, Tennessee, where I first succumbed to peer-pressure and puffed my first cigarette.

Naturally, at age eleven I was too young to buy my own cigarettes, and so was everyone else. However, we were not above pilfering them from ashtrays and unattended packs as they were discovered around the trailer.

Several of us guys (do not remember any girls tagging along) came up with a brilliant plan to get as many cigarettes as we could from our homes and meet down in the wooded area behind the trailer park.

I was able to get two whole Kools and one Camel (both unfiltered) from my mom’s open pack, and several smokable ducks from the two ashtrays in the living room. Both my mom and dad smoked, and by age fifteen I was smoking regularly at school.

My first preference in the early years was Old Gold Spin Filters, but by the time I entered the Air Force I was hooked on Winston and Kools. I remember getting $25 every 15 days and the first two things I bought was a carton of each. Mom started buying cigarettes for me when I was a junior, in fear I would get hold of some "Waccius Baccius!"

Thank God, other than puffing (not inhaling like Clinton) a great cigar occasionally, I have not smoked a cigarette in almost twenty-five years!

Meanwhile, back at the hideout, we all gathered and piled our contraband on a big rock and gathered around. Someone had the good sense to steal some matches, several books as I remember, and it was a good thing. None of us knew anything about lighting one cigarette from another. It was one match, light as many as you could until your fingers got singed, yell “OUCH,” and strike another!

Pretty soon the five or six of us were puffing away. It probably looked as if Indians were preparing to attack the trailer park!

Someone had the bright idea of inhaling like his dad, and we each in turn gave it a try. After the coughing and sputtering, the experienced dude would challenge the next person.

It was not long before we were all turning green, and I think one poor guy puked his guts right there.

I made it home just about suppertime and my whole world was revolving much too fast and it was all I could do to not throw up as I stepped inside. I walked by the table mom was preparing and almost lost it.

I staggered unnoticed to the couch, laid down, and held on for dear life!

Wash up son, it’s time to eat,” mom said.

I’m feeling kinda sick mom, can I just lay here? Please?

She felt of my forehead and figured I was coming down with something and did not make me get up. I also remember dad coming in and asking, “What’s wrong with him?

Probably a bug or something, let’em rest,” she told him.

God works in strange ways.

I soon fell asleep and the world slowed down again. It was a long time before I ever wanted to “puff, puff, puff” another cigarette.


Fathairybastard said...

Dude, I stole a cig from my big sister in about 1972 or 73 and took it outside and my buddy and I tried it. Didn't know to try to inhale, didn't understand what was so good about it, and didn't do it again. Never felt the need to pick it up. Now I hang out with friends at work who smoke, standing outside with them like lepers when they burn one, and probably inhale enough second hand to shorten my life by a few. But hell, if it ain't the MSG, Type 2 or deep fried food, it'll be somethin' else. Another nice recollection. You paint a great picture. Keep it up.

Goddess said...

I remember when I started working at the same place Mr. G worked--before we hooked up--all the chicks smoked, so, like an ASS, I thought I should smoke, too. I was sitting in the breakroom one day smoking by myself and Mr. G walked past on his way to the men's room. He glanced in, walked past and backed right up again, and said, "You don't SMOKE, do you?" as if he was disgusted by the notion, and I'm like, "No, no. Just this once..."LOL. Never did it again!

服從到只一 A.K.A: Sugar Cat said...

"God works in strange ways."

Amen to that one!! LOL!!!

Thank God for you on this one, I'm sure... I know at the time you didn't think it was funny, but I'm sure you crack a bit of a grin and wonder what you were thinking...

I remember my friends smoking and one girlfriend didn't want her parents to find them on her, so she gave them to me to hold til the end of the evening, she forgot to get them back and my parents found them in my purse...

I guess the few words of advise and wisdom my dad shared with me (God rest his soul) have stayed with me to this day, has done some good... enough to keep me from smoking...

"If I EVER, EVER see you with a cigarette in your mouth, I'M GONG TO SLAP IT RIGHT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!!!"

To this day, I have tried picking it up and even now at 45... I CAN'T... Dad's words ring true in my ears!! LOL!!!

Porta's Cat said...

I can recall a similar story of my own. Buying a pack of Salem Menthol and puffing away down at the railroad tracks at about age 11 or so.

Wasn't long after that I had a brief "I gotta look cool doing this" period with snuff and chewing tobacco. I recall falling out of a weeping willow tree and laying on the ground thinking I was going to die, all because of a pouch of "Workhorse" chewing tobacco.

BRUNO said...

Me and "my gang" must've been your understudies! Except we used a 40-inch by 30-ft culvert! Used your same "methods of procurement"! When times got really hard, we would mix used pipe-tappings with bluegrass clippings, and a dash of fescue, rolled in note-book paper! Had one hell of a rush, let alone the flash from the writing paper...! I've been totally cig-free for 5 yr. now, but like you, am not above a GOOD cigar on occasion! A mere "walk in the park" compared to your record...!

Mushy said...

You guys are great...these are cool comments!

Don't even think about passing by with leaving your memories!

EC said...

Oh I remember that feeling - what a god awful, horrible, I never want to feel that way again feeling.... and yet....

17 years later I am still smoking :(

congrats though to you for quitting - wtg!!

michele said...

Seems my life sort of parallels yours in that my sister and I, along with a couple of neighbor kids, procured our ciggies from Mom and Dad's open packs, as well as the ashtray in the car. To make a long story short, that journey lasted for 25 years, until I finally got smart enough to quit!

Miss Trashahassee said...

Confound it! I laffed so hard I was rollin' in the floor. Now I got cat hairs all over my britches. Dang it!

You know, your story reminds me of the first time I dipped Copenhagen. Talk about turnin' green an' feelin' sick ...


Miss T

Becky said...

You know, my dad smoked when I was young and it used to make me so sick that I never wanted to smoke myself -- and never have. Congrats on quitting for 25 years!

Suldog said...

I'm surprised I missed this one. Great story. I would guess we smokers all have an interesting story to go with the first cigarettes. Thanks for directing me here!