Sunday, December 20, 2009

Don't Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

It's not without precedent to be named "Speck"...there was a major league pitcher named Francis Joseph "Spec" Shea, who was nicked that way because he had freckles. He was also called "The Naugatuck Nugget," but there seems to be no evidence that John "Cougar" Mellencamp named any of his children "Nugget." But I wouldn't bet heavily against it.

Mellencamp named his son "Speck," and now the young man, at 14, has made a wager with his father. If Speck can get one million people to join a Facebook group exhorting the senior Mellencamp to quit smoking, the singer-composer of "Hurts So Good" will give up smoking. Known to go through four packs o' smokes per day prior to his 1994 heart attack, and still an avid consumer of at least a pack a day ever since, Mellencamp gave up drugs and alcohol, but still loves to smoke.

I smoked for years. You never met the man who loved a nice smoke break as much as I did, and then one day, in one of the spontaneous bursts of spontaneity that have dotted my life like olives in a sandwich, I quit cold turkey twenty-one years ago. And I did it because I wanted to live to be an old curmudgeon and crank out a daily cranky blog, even though Al Gore had yet to invent the internet in 1988. I wanted to quit, I was ready to quit, and there seemed no good reason to keep on smoking. It was about that time that my workplace became non-smoking, forcing smokers to huddle together in a crude, poorly-ventilated area of Stygian gloom in order to light up. When smoking became inconvenient, that added to the appeal of giving it up. But the deal is, smokers only quit when they WANT to. No amount of public service announcements, cajoling, pleading, hinting or trickery has ever been as effective as the person just doggone decidin' this is it and tossing those butts away.

So, I wish young Mellencamp good luck with his campaign, and I wish old Mellencamp (my age exactly!) sense enough to decide to try a new vice before everything around him comes tumblin' down.

No comments: