Thursday, November 16, 2023

Smoking versus Not Smoking

Image by Alexas_Fotos

Today, November 16, is the 2023 observation of the Great American Smokeout, observed on the third Thursday of November, one week before Thanksgiving.  The day is meant to get tobacco smokers to quit smoking, either by quitting that day, not smoking for just that day (as a first step), or making plans to quit.  (And when will we start trying to get pot smokers to stop that smoking????)

I grew up with smokers.  Both of my parents smoked, and my mother's best friend, Aunt Sam, also smoked.  I remember at least one or two years that my mother asked my brother, my sister, and me what we wanted for Christmas, and we responded, "We want you and Daddy to quit smoking!"  To which my mother replied, "Yeah, what do you really want?"  So even when we were very young, well under 10 years old, we knew smoking wasn't good for people.

Yet sometimes you get what you wish for.

Shortly after my family moved to Australia in 1971, my mother and father made a bet with each other about who could quit smoking longer.  I have absolutely no memory of what prompted their bet.  Maybe cigarettes cost significantly more in Australia and they wanted to save money?  Whatever the reason, they made the bet.

My father gave up after three days.

My mother, even though she had already won the bet, continued not to smoke.

And became more and more irritable and unpleasant to be around.

To the point that we children actually begged her to start smoking again.

Which she finally did.  And became our regular mother again.

And there was great rejoicing.

Don't get me wrong.  I know smoking is bad for people.  It's better for your health to stop, sooner rather than later.

But sometimes there are extenuating circumstances.


  1. I admit, I had to look up Hobson's choice to learn the definition. We did actually have two options, neither of which was ideal. But one was much easier to live with.

  2. haha! I hear stopping smoking can be brutal for some people and make them very, very cranky. My mother was a huge smoker most of my growing up years, but she stopped completely after she got her gallbladder out. Thankfully, her personality stayed the same.

    1. "Cranky" is a huge understatement for what my mother was like! I'm glad your mother didn't go through such horrible withdrawal symptoms when she stopped.


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