my mother died of lung cancer when i was ten years old. she knew it was lung cancer, she told my older brother, eventhough she was told by my father and the doctors that she had some kind of 'fungus' . i remember the bureau drawer in the front hall that had cartons of cigarettes - parliment cigarettes, and chesterfields and lucky strikes (in dark green packages - before white was 'cleaner', more healthy) oh, we'd occasionally smoke some 'coffin nails' in our hideout... ha, ha , ha.... i remember six months before she died we would help mum with the small oxygen tank that had been adapted to a little rig with wheels, so she could move about, a school it was cool to smoke out on the steps of the 'commons' but since i was still into varsity athletics smoking was not really something i did until i was in the army. "at ease! soldier... smoke if you got 'em". oh yes, cartons of pall malls from the PX. $2.50 a carton. those red packs and long cifarettes. after 9, 11.... even 17 puffs... pall malls satisfy. or something. perhaps they were 'better'.... i don't recall. but that was 40 years ago.


2/15/01 i had a cat scan. Vermont Radiologists Inc. does not want to release it to me, or provide me with a negative (copy)etc. am working on it, and look to having it up here before long. at any rate... heart and lungs are clear from what they tell me. amazing! i've lived this long. perhaps a little longer now. eh. but it had finally gotten to the point that i was buying cigarettes by the carton, something i had rarely done outside of the military. the cost of a pack varied... but $3.50 to $4.50a pack became an incentive to buy 'em by the carton. and at two or more packs a day it was expensive, no way around that. but what i remember most clearly was the waste paper basket, lined with a large broown paper shopping bag, filled with empty Marlboro Lights packs and all the butts that i would never let fill an ash tray. i didn't like the looks of those over-flowing ash trays. i liked it nice and clean in the studio. i mean look that way. editing rooms in nyc always had this smell. the film building on 44th had this particular smell. never knew what it was. but the 'black hole' here in vermont smelled that way. the whole house. and me... and my clothes. but hey, i didn't care. in fact i was one of the few people around (other than bobbie) that people cooiuld count on for a cigarette at a party or some gathering. and me? a bad boy. dirty. didn't give a shit.... sorta revelled in it. just plain raw and nasty. yep, i liked that. i mean in this world of picky liberalism and spiritual correctness.

but late at night, working away... or lighting up, i would feel subtle rumblings of pain across my back, where i assumed my lungs were. i always connected that pain with a friend of mine who first started taking a lot of pain killer for her back... (on top of the cocaine) before she learned she had serious lung cancer. unlike my mother, she had not had a breast removed first. yep, there was this tinge of something going on back there for me. and i recall it even twenty years ago while i was still in nyc. the quiet of late at night all by myself, wondering if what i'd been doing all day would amount to anything. phew, it was spooky still smoking. and reaching for a smoke the moment that there was the fear that it... that I... didn't amount to anything. that it was too difficult for me to do, in fact i was over my head, who was i fooling?



man smokes 1/2 million cigarettes and lives to tell about it


apparently nicotine is a very effective drug... particularly when masking anger and violence. smoking simply buries that anger... covers it up


a very strange coincidence

firing range