1 One Sunday In Perry
2 What the Army Taught Me
3 Not My Mother's Shopping List
4 Brain Calisthenics
5 The Pono Nano Diet
6 Oatmeal Jim-Jams
7 A Walk in the Park
8 Escape to California
10 Printer's Devil
11 Pono - The Addict
13 Love in the Woods
14 It's a Small World
15 Culinary Crutches
16 We Want Sandin
17 Better With Age
18 Parallel Universes
19 Mårten Nilsson Finne
20 Hawaii Is A State
21 Shake-em-up Flashlight
22 The Use of E-mail
23 Normal American Schoolboy
24 Lake Gogebic Early Days
PONO, THE ADDICT
Hello, I’m Pono, and I’m a nicotine addict. “Welcome, Pono!” “Hi!” “Hello!” “Glad to have you with us!” This is my story.
I was 11 years old in 1945. We lived in Dearborn, MI and I was in 6th grade. One day when I was riding my bike I spied a cigarette package in the gutter with one cigarette sticking out. I stopped and found that there were a few left in the pack. They were not squashed or damaged in any way that I could see, so I put them in my pocket and headed for home. I had a shack, or clubhouse, or fort, or whatever we called such things in 1945, that was well away from our trailer and was private to me, my dog, and any invited friends. I hid the cigarettes there and thought about what to do with them.
Over the next few days, with and without friends, I sampled smoking. I doubt if I inhaled, but I found the smoke disgusting, sickening, and repulsive. I had a little wood burning stove in my shack, so I always reeked of smoke anyway, and the cigarettes didn’t add anything to that, so I was never found out.
Fast forward to 1950. I was 16, we lived in Perry, MI and I was just done with 11th grade. Just before the fourth of July someone always made a trip out of state to buy a ton of fireworks. Sharing allowed the “importer” to recoup expenses and added to the community festivities. I was out raising heck with my pal John who was already a smoker. His method of lighting the firecrackers from his cigarette seemed to work real well, so I tried it. I found the smoke disgusting, sickening, and repulsive.
Fast forward to 1956. I was 22, still living in Perry, MI. Armed with (some might say burdened by) my first major life failure – a divorce – I got serious about exploring the products of fermentation. In addition, I started playing with cigarettes. I would tamp down three unfiltered cigs and hook them together so I had an extra long smoke and then try to light it and keep it lit. Bars were filled with smoke, my co-workers smoked, and many friends smoked. The combination of second-hand smoke and the first hand smoke from playing had its effect. Some mornings I felt the need for a little hit. Soon I was buying my own and not long after I was hooked.
Over the years I smoked cigarettes and cigars and chewed plug tobacco. In the worst of times I smoked 3 packs a day. I remember mornings after, when I would awake, discover I had no cigarettes, search ashtrays and trash cans for any butt long enough to light, just to get that first hit. In the Army I remember taking a chaw of plug tobacco and going in to a double feature movie where I would never spit. I also left the Army with a duodenal ulcer.
Fast forward to 1969. I was 35, remarried, and living in CA. On January 1 we both quit drinking and smoking for the month of January. In February we resumed drinking, but continued our nicotine abstinence. We went the entire year without smoking. We moved to Bangkok in May, JR was born in November, and in December my nephew visited. He was on R & R from the Army in Viet Nam. He smoked and shared. I remember thinking it was Christmas time, it had been a whole year without smoking, surely I could have one and get away with it. I had a few that night, sent the maid out to buy a pack the next day, got a carton at the PX the following day and I was right back into the habit.
Fast forward to 1972. I was 38, still married, and back in CA. On January 1 we both quit drinking and smoking for the month of January. In February we resumed drinking, but continued our nicotine abstinence. To the best of my knowledge that was the end of my dependence. I did a bit of drinking a few times and might have had one when I was “out of touch”, but I don’t think so. I suffered greatly for a long time, had a bruise on my chest from reaching for the cigarette pack, but I was committed to quitting.
F-a-s-t forward to 2008. I am 74, divorced yet again, and living in HI. I’m nicotine free and my environment is smoke free. None of my friends smoke, restaurants and public places are mostly smoke-free, airplanes and airports are smoke-free. But still, after all these years, if a gardener lights up near my place and I catch a sniff of that first cloud, I unconsciously inhale. Logically, I find the habit disgusting, sickening, and repulsive, but, hard to believe, I don’t find the first sniff that way.
If you don’t smoke, you are
wise and much healthier than your smoking brother. But you are lucky also.
It isn’t easy to fight peer pressure, a smoking environment, or a who-cares
attitude when life goes awry, and you’re lucky if these elements were not
pervasive in your life. I don’t blame these elements. I did it myself. I’m
Pono, and I’m still a nicotine addict (recovering).
I could have gotten a morning-after hit from some of these. Yuk!
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