Sunday, June 14, 2015

BUS STORY # 449 (Part 3: Thou Shalt Not Smoke)

"nosmoke," © All Rights Reserved, by the3robbers.

Previous posts in this series:
Part 1 (“You Smell Like Cigarettes!”)
Part 2 (A Portrait Of The Smoker As A Young Man)



My daughter began smoking a little earlier in her life that I did, in high school. Unlike me, she had two non-smoking parents. I suspect that might be part of the reason why she took it up.

My generation has been somewhat successful at converting our parents’ traditional religious values to a more secular framework. It is still centered around the concept of not doing harm, but there are some places where the change is more striking than others. Yahweh sometimes looks more like Gaia, for example, and large corporations tend to look more like the false gods we shouldn’t be putting in front of Her.

But, like our parents, we have a bewildering and often incompatible assortment of ways to be followed, and a large number of the “unchurched.”

And, of course, to one degree or another, we are all Pharisees.

In my generation’s households, one of the new Ten Commandments is surely Thou Shalt Not Smoke -- the secular conversion of our smoking parents’ belief that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

That alone tells me why all those adolescents are smoking at the bus stop across from the high school. And I suspect it partly accounts for why my daughter, who otherwise has always had the good sense to know exactly where the line is, took up smoking.

It’s still touching that she took pains to hide her smoking from me. She was inadvertently betrayed by a girlfriend. I gave her leave to smoke freely in my presence (really, to be herself), but wrestled with a parental sense of responsibility for advising one’s children. She was still under 21.

Eventually, I wrote her an epic, Paul-sized epistle. I covered all the ways I knew smoking was corrosive to one’s physical health, mental health, and finances, then promised never to say another word on the subject.

PSA on ABQ RIDE. Photo by Busboy.

I kept my promise. A few years later, she quit smoking.

I have no idea what, if any, correlation there might be between her stopping, and my long letter and subsequent silence. Probably none. Except for taking up smoking, she has always had uncommonly good sense.

(To be continued.)

__________


The photo at the top of this story is titled “nosmoke,” © All Rights Reserved, and is posted with the permission of the3robbers. You can see all the3robbers’ photos on Flickr here.


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