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How Falling In Love Can Make You Quit Smoking
My grandfather told me this story when I was very young and I still remember it to this day because it is such a beautiful story about love and how it can help you overcome addiction, especially smoking addiction.
When my grandfather was about 11 or 12 years old, growing up in the Caribbean, he picked up this nasty smoking habit. He started smoking with friends because it was something that almost everyone did. I think there was some law about selling cigarettes to children. In fact, the way these boys started smoking was by going to the stores to buy cigarettes for their uncles or stepfathers.
The store owners would never think twice about asking for ID before they sell cigarettes to minors. As I said before, it was good to sell cigarettes to children and consequently these children started smoking at a very early age.
So my grandfather smoked and his mother smoked and probably the rest of the household smoked too. My grandfather’s name was Oscar. By the time Oscar turned 17, he had already smoked for quite a few years and also drank occasionally. I do remember him saying he never smoked or drank in front of his mom.
In these days, they used to have social dances on weekends and with those social dances comes good homemade food, homemade cakes and ice cream and of course girls. The girls at that time would not go out alone, they would always be accompanied by their parents or guardians at all social events.
Although many children, mostly boys, smoked, it was not appropriate to smoke at social gatherings, especially if you were a child. In fact, as a parent it was frowned upon to have a son who was a known smoker. The boys still smoked though, because it was seen as macho. After all, the tough actors in the movies smoked, so the guys thought they would look good and cute to the girls if they smoked.
Oscar at one of these social gatherings met a young girl who was about 2 years older than him. Being that society was not as liberal as it is today, meeting a young girl at a dance, rather seeing a young girl at a dance and starting to entertain the thought that she was pleasing to the eye and perhaps the only thing he could. to do about it was to dance together, meaning that everyone is involved in the dance. No decadent moves like the kids do these days.
Anyway, I said, Oscar saw Marie, the girl at the dance and he felt something for her. The thing that can be described as the beginning of love. Before long, he was writing her letters and telling her how he felt good when he saw her and wanted to know if she felt the same way about him.
Her answer was rather vague. She liked seeing him too but there was something about him she didn’t like. She didn’t want to tell him what it was. She thought that if a young man smokes, that young man should have enough savvy to pick up subtle hints from girls. Women can be so complex and sophisticated, Oscar used to say, it takes a long time to begin to know a woman or to know what a woman wants.
Oscar could feel that Marie wasn’t over him about him, so he started changing his habits to see if that would change things. First he changed the way he dressed, then the way he walked and the choice of words in his letters. All the while he still smoked with his friends and saw himself as some cool guy who enjoyed smoking.
The feeling he felt for Marie grew stronger every time he saw her. For the life of him, he couldn’t see why Marie wasn’t in love with him the same way he was for her. This started to drive him crazy and made him smoke even more.
What started as maybe 5 or 6 cigarettes a day quickly turned into 20 to 25 cigarettes a day. Now he could only think of Marie and the more he thought of her the more he smoked. What can I do to make her fall madly in love with me? He thought.
By then, Marie had moved away to go to college and only came back to town every other weekend or so. Oscar truly felt the agonizing pain of slowly losing his girl. What if she falls in love with another guy in college? All these thoughts would keep him awake at night.
Finally one day a letter came from Marie saying that she had decided to move to that other city for good, where she would find a job after university. She also told him that she could no longer bear the thought of falling in love with someone who might die of a smoking-related illness. See, her mom had died two years earlier of a smoking-related illness because she had smoked one cigarette a day for the past 25 years.
When Oscar found out that smoking kept her from falling in love with him, he immediately developed a deep hatred for cigarettes and anything that looked like a cigarette. He later joined a group fighting against the sale of cigarettes to minors and also became an advocate for a smoke-free world. He was still involved with the group when he died 16 years ago.
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