17 August 2018

Published August 15, 2018 by rochellewisoff

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As always, please be considerate of your fellow Fictioneers and keep your stories to 100 words. (Title is not included in the word count.)  Many thanks. 

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Genre: Histrionic Faction

Word Count: 100

UNLUCKY STRIKE

            Remember how commercials bombarded us with catchy slogans?   

            “I’d rather fight than switch.”

            “Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should.”

            Serling delivered his famous Twilight Zone intros while wisps of smoke framed his face.

            During his renowned interviews in the 1950’s, Mike Wallace brandished his ubiquitous coffin nail.

            I coughed. “I wish you’d quit smoking those nasty things, Mommy.”

            Taking a long drag, she covered a burn hole in her skirt with a daisy applique. “I need them to calm my nerves.”

            She finally quit in 1980—just a year before lung cancer claimed her.

            “Were they worth it, Mom?”  

 

These little goodies came on the back Raleigh cigarettes. You could save them and buy all kinds of things, from jewelry to appliances. We used to joke that Mom would use hers for an iron lung. Somehow that’s not as funny as it used to be.

133 comments on “17 August 2018

  • I remember that there was a cigarette advertisement on about every show on TV. Non-stop, in your face “You gotta be cool. Smoke me.” My words. They killed a lot of people. I was a chain smoker of non-filtered camels for around 14 years. Quit cold turkey on May 2, 1976. Great story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Jan,

      And every talk show host and guest was seen with a ciggie in hand. Leave us not forget about your Divine Intervention when you quit ‘cold turkey.’ Either way, the air in our home has been much cleaner since then. I don’t miss the ashtrays. Sadly it wasn’t so easy for many…like my mother and your sister.

      Liked by 1 person

  • This hits home hard, Rochelle. I do enjoy the occasional smoke, but have cut down drastically over the past decade. Somehow, I have never been able to quit cold turkey. Very sorry for your loss. Varad

    Liked by 1 person

  • When I was a kid, I finally got my Dad to quit smoking and he lived decades longer. He did die of cancer related causes, but we figure it was because he worked for decades at the Nuclear Test site in Nevada. And yes, I do remember all of those cigarette commercials.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    A story that has hit home for so many of us. I count three friends who died age 50 and younger of lung cancer… plus my father, plus too many others. Can’t tell you how glad I have those up 21 years ago…

    Lotsa love,

    Dale

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dale,

      I’m glad you quit, too. ❤ Even as a child, with a mother who smoked, I HATED cigarettes. I never understood it. All it did was make me gag.
      Thank you for stopping here for a breather 😉 and leaving a nice comment.

      Shalom and hugs,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • We were just remarking about this very thing. My dad reached for his cigarettes before his glasses. Everything stank, but we just accepted it as the way things were. Both my grandfathers drank and smoked like fiends, three packs a day (Chesterfileds for one, Camels for the other). Both died of cancer before they turned 75. My dad died of pulmunary fibrosis, a genetic disorder that smoking that much certainly did not help.
    I remember hearing my mom rail about the Winston ad. “It should be AS a cigarette should.” I blame her for my grammar rigidity. Good story as always.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Eloquent cautionary tale, Rochelle. The line “Taking a long drag, she covered a burn hole in her skirt with a daisy applique,” is a powerful way of telling us how the addiction found its way into every part of her life. I’m sorry that you lost your mother to cancer like that.
    Shalom
    Penny

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Penny,

      Somewhere I might have a picture of that particular skirt. People used to compliment her on how cute it was. It was a straight, pink skirt. After sewing on one daisy she decided to sew a whole row of them all the way around the skirt. Very clever. It would’ve been more clever for her to have quit. 😦 Thank you for your kind words.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hope it ok to chime in – and Larry – I am actually shocked at how many people I see smoke – while in clogged traffic I can see smokers – and sometimes at businesses I see the smoking area packed – not judging – but shocked at how many still smoke knowing what we know about health (vs when we did not when it was portrayed as sexy and cool or macho and suave

      Liked by 1 person

        • Dear Larry (and Yvette 😉 )

          Old habits are hard to let go of. For all the surgeon general warnings on cigarette packs, high taxes and raising prices, there will always be those who are going to smoke no matter what. After all the years my kids heard about their grandmother’s lung cancer, it didn’t stop my youngest son from taking up the habit at an early age.

          Shalom,

          Rochelle

          Liked by 1 person

  • So sorry for your loss, Rochelle. My husband calls them “cancer sticks”. I have such troubles with my lungs due to my auto-immune disease and have been outside at the hospital in the past struggling to breathe through the cigarette smoke. The irony too is that many nurses are smokers and workers who smoke used to get rewarded with a break. What we in Australia call “smoko” in some circles. It’s a good thing that smoking in front of people these days is largely considered poor form and people wouldn’t dream of lighting up in someone else’s car. A big improvement even if there is a way to go.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Linda,

      There’s always that, “it will never happen to me” mentality, isn’t there? I have friends who smoke and I want to choke them. (I guess that would be counter productive, wouldn’t it? 😉 ) Thank you for reading and weighing in on the discussion.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Wilhelmina Snakewit W(T)F,

    Judi & Wanda would feel right at home in this place. I loved those old ads with doctors pushing cigarettes. When I was a teenager, one of my friends smoked Old Gold filters (they also had coupons). He told my mother he used to smoke Acapulco Gold. Maybe you’ve tried that brand too.

    Got a light?
    Carbuncle McSwine

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Carbuncle McSwine,

      Can you believe all of the cigarette ads back in the day? You can check out my last comment to Larry, so I don’t have to repeat myself. 😉
      Acapulco Gold? Moi? By the same toke-nI had my mother convinced that the wooden water pipe that I kept on my dresser was merely a decoration. (It was pretty, as well as ‘dys’functional). What a rush.

      Shalom and happy trails,

      Wilhelmina Snakewit W(T)F

      Like

  • My parents were both heavy smokers. Makes me sick to think of the smell of our apartments. I’m struggling with this photo due to the ashtray. Brings up too many nauseating memories. Might have to skip this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Susan,

      That had to have been horrible to lose your dad. Thirteen is such a difficult age to begin with. I know way too many people who still smoke. Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? Thanks for commenting.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • sorry for your loss Rochelle. No idea about smoking or smokers in our family.. Bit what surprises me is despite seeing the caption in the cigar box ” Cigar smoking is injurious to health” people still buy and enjoy the puffs.. have a great day!

    Like

  • It’s strange the things people accept. I used to say all the time to people when I saw them smoking, “you know those things will kill you, right?”

    Amazingly, they always said “yes,” and they always kept right on smoking.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle, your story touched my heart. In fact it’s heart wrenching. To know that someone you love has died of cancer and the villain is that ugly stick is very, very painful.
    I am sure this story will make all who smoke ever even think of smoking to have second thoughts and immediately steer away from this utterly despicable, life threatening indulgence.
    There are better ways to die. Love being one of them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Neel,

      We used all the analogies on Mom: coffin nails, cancer sticks, etc. Yet she smoked on. It’s an addiction and, while I understand how difficult it is to quit, I hate those death spears with all my heart.
      In any event thank you for your kind and generous comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Hi Rochelle, being in the UK ‘ Winstons’ are not a brand I know, but at the time, here, I am told companies gave cigarette cards free … to encourage the young I believe. How the world has changed. Another great flash of a story full of truths and ambience. Wouldn’t I love to have a collection of the writings on the back of those packets now, the stories they would paint.

    Liked by 1 person

  • How things change. Smoking used to be the coolest thing ever, now even advertising smoking is banned and cigarette packets all sport horrific pictures of tarry lungs and the like. I’m glad I managed to give up.
    Nice piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Great story Rochelle. Poignant and so evocative of that time. I remember all those old black & white movies – like Casa Blanca with Baccall & Bogart – wreathed in smoke as part of their chic. And how cigarette packets’ images have become more & more graphic. No use if you’re hooked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Francine,

      It’s amazing and appalling to watch old B&W movies and TV shows and how smoking was just part of it. I can tell you there’s nothing chic about lung cancer or COPD or Emphysema…and the list goes on. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • A poignant, and I must say, nostalgic story. My mom, too, was a smoker, and couldn’t give them up even after a heart attack. I’m sorry for your loss, and I can only imagine what a relief it must have been for Jan to give up the “coffin nails.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jan,

      I had forgotten all of the ads on television when we were kids. It does bring back memories…not all bad ones either. 😉 Nonetheless I hated being around the smoke and icky ashtrays. When Jan smoked he wouldn’t confine his ash to just one. He’d come home at the end of the day and hit every one of them after I’d gone to the trouble to clean them. I don’t miss those days. I rejoiced when he quit.
      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Hello, Rochelle.

    My father used to be a chain-smoker, but, he quit a few years back (post a massive a heart attack). He is fine now and we are glad that he could finally kick the butt. I could relate to your story.

    Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • Querida Rochelle,
    I’m sure many out there can relate to those times of smoking being a cool thing to do.
    I detested it, have never smoked and couldn’t really stand to be around people who did because of the nasty scent. I’m using scent to be nice. LOL
    Sorry … you’re mom suffered the consequences of this horrible product. Now, we know better. Those who still smoke, and there must be many since they are still producing cigarettes, know what is in store from the behavior. We all have choices.
    Superb write and insightful thoughts, mi amiga.
    Buen fin de semana ….
    Abrazos y Shalom.
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  • I don’t think I’ll be able to top you this week, Rochelle. Your words hit home as deeply as a coffin nail (pun intended). My Mom quit when Doc said she only had 30 days to live…she died 29 days later. I still remember the smell, and the awful tar on everything. So glad to be away from it, but have asthma as a result of second-hand smoke from childhood. A great story, even more so that it’s real! Shalom~ Jelli

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hi Rochelle, such a topical subject. In England they are thinking about relaxing the restrictions on Vaping!!! My father was given cigarettes in part payment for national service in the RAF ! . He received no compensation for the damage they inflicted upon him.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I know that Rochelle, but the govt made moves in Britain to ban advertising on packets, almost turning them into brown plain packets, with s health warning in big letters and a picture of a blackened lung or a dead body on a slab or a nasty looking tumour. I’ve noticed in. Bulgaria the makers name is appearing larger again, showing the power of the manufacturer against the state.

        Like

  • A sad tale, more so that Mom had quit before the end. You pack in so much social history as well as the family story, and great descriptive lines: ‘…Mike Wallace brandished his ubiquitous coffin nail’ – so well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hi Rochelle, It must have been extremely difficult to walk through lung cancer with your mother, so sorry you lost her. In one of your comments, you mentioned candy cigarettes for children. I remember those and oh my goodness how terrible. A conspiracy if there ever was one by the tobacco companies. Your story was very well written as always!

    Liked by 2 people

  • Hi again, I was so busy chiming in on some of the comments I forgot to leave some feedback on your writing.
    not that anyone “needs” us to comment – but is sure is a fun part of the blog experience.
    Also, some writing resonates – and so that is why I am back.
    First, your 100 words grabbed more of the history you are so good at weaving into posts. The coupons, the names of actors/shows and current events and that
    Winston quote:

    “Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should.”
    I once read a commentary about how edgy marketing this phrase was (and the bad grammar that almost did not allow it to move through the board room of acceptance – and then to see how you and some of your readers noted the topic of grammar – just cool)

    side note – I am not a smoker but heard that in the last 15 years many people smoke Winston because they are supposed to have the least amount of chemical additives – not quite the “Spirit” brand – but supposedly Winston is better than other brands when it comes to chemcial addititives.

    Second, The personal touch you bring into your writing – preserving your family memories through your work – the patch, the cough, the quitting, and the year later…

    Third, I like your writing because you have a straight-forward style that never tries too hard to go deep. Your confidence leads to pieces that are often humorous or playful – often with history (as noted above) and some sort of message or meaning to be left up fro grabs.

    Not digging on writers who get all deep and complex and add abstract – those who try to have metaphor upon analogy (ha) because we all need to do our own thing. we must!!

    and as you do your writing — with its natural, straight forward flow – I find it is consistently like a good home-cooked meal that does not disappoint.
    And I hope that comes out as the compliment I intended.

    Lastly,
    my favorite line from your 100 words:

    Taking a long drag….

    was right there and could imagine the exhale

    Like

  • Sorry for your loss; storied in with celebrities (your mom being one), the evils of marketing, and our gullible attraction to both. Sad. All very sad.

    I’m grateful I quit 15 years ago. Among the most difficult of things I have ever done. And one of the best.

    Much love,
    Randy

    Liked by 1 person

  • Feeling so sorry for everyone who have lost their life because of smoking. Our movies always showed actors smoking with style and inspired their fans.
    Sorry for your loss, dear. Nowadays they give statutory warnings but iwonder Why not stop manufacturing these killers?
    Shalom.

    Like

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