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Genghis Jon in ~Up In Smoke~

So I sort of quit smoking a little while ago. I have one cigarette about every other day, but that's it. Not bad for a guy that hasn't gone less than a pack since he was eleven.

The biggest problem is it seems to have made me an insomniac. It's 5:13 AM right now and I've been in bed since 1:30 trying to get some sleep. So the only thing left for me to do was to come on here and tell you the tale of how I began all this smoking business to begin with.

As I said before, I was eleven. During those eleven years I was surrounded by French people smoking and drinking wine. Health nuts. Anyways, when I became the age when our teachers at school, and coaches at little league started preaching to us how bad it was to smoke, and the dire consequences that would go along if we so happened to get caught doing so- everyone I knew was on a mission to become a "smoker." Not sure why, but we just had to.

And I don't mean the type that holds a cigarette and occasionally takes a visibly nauseating drag. Everyone made fun of those people. Even the nerds who were too much of a pussy to try to become a smoker.

No, we wanted to be the real deal. The kind that lights the present cigarette with his last cigarette kinda' guy. It was obvious to us that The Man was trying to keep us from some secret pleasure in life, and we weren't about to let that happen.

My friend Miguel from baseball was a pissed off kid who was from a troubled household. He had a reason to smoke. So he'd come over my house before a game with one cigarette and ask if I wanted to go smoke it with him.

Remembering how much trouble I'd be if anyone found out I did this, I said "Hell yeah" and we were off to some spot in the park where we could safely smoke it up.

The thing about being an eleven year old smoker is that you can't let anyone see you. No one! Just an adult passerby will rat your out. Especialy since me and Miguel had the ingenius idea to smoke right next to the parking lot where all the adults drove into the park. Our big hiding place was behind a tree.

So there we were, smoking away behind this tree while umpires, coaches, parents, and just general good-natured people who would call attention to a proper official if they saw these two babies smoking a cancer stick.

Granted, this was twenty years ago when smoking wasn't the cardnal sin it is these days. You could actually do it in bars and stuff.

Anyways, we somehow managed not to get caught that day. Our coach did ask us why we smelled like cigarettes and I told him we were hanging out over my house, and my folks smoke like fiends.

The next week we got a few more people joining our smoke club, and each week it kept growing. By the middle of the season the entire team was out there smoking behind that small little tree. We may not of been the best team in the league, but we damn sure were the coolest.

So each week we'd meet up and smoke my parents cigarettes. Miguel had a hard time stealing one from his folks, while I didn't have any problem. They smoked so much they couldn't keep track. They bought them by the carton so I could take a pack a time and they'd never catch me.

Anyways, every once in awhile we'd come close to getting caught. Someone would see us all gathered together in a tight huddle and yell out "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU KIDS DOING OVER THERE" to which we'd turn around with our best angelic face and say "noth-in'." Some of us would cough it.

So one day we were playing a game and Steve, the pitcher takes his cap off and scatches his head. When he did that, the pack of cigarettes that I gave him to hold onto fell on the ground. Steve, freaking the fuck out, literally dove on the ground, grabbed the cigarettes, put them back under his cap, and looked at me (I was playing 3rd) like "what am I gonna' do? Help me!"

Now, if Steve was a tad bit more casual, nobody would have been suspicious. But since he totally flipped out, all the adults stood up and approached the mound.

See, Steve was a big jock dude who loved to play tough but would regualy get the fuck beaten out of him by his overbearing father. The same father that slapped him in front of EVERYBODY during a game when he lost a playoff game with us and started to cry.

Getting caught smoking was a whole different story. His father just loved to find any reason to kick his son's ass, and he might even have a reason this time to do so.

So, both managers, coaches, and umpiers walk to the mound. Steve is looking at me. I'm doing my best not to shout "Why are you looking at me, Steve? Don't look at me you stupid motherfucker, you got caught, not me."

So they start seaching Steve just like they do in the major leagues, but instead of looking for nail files, they're looking for Marlboros.

They take his cap off, and the cigs fall to the floor. The over zealous umpire screams "YOOOUUU"RREE OOOUUTT" and throws the boy to the anxious hands of his father, waiting in the stands to beat the ever living fuck out of him.

We finish up the inning with a new pitcher, while poor Steve is screaming his fucking head off next to his father's car in the parking lot.

It was a rather long inning due to the fact that what we heard from Steve was going to be the rest of us after the game.

Every once in awhile I could hear my name come out of Steves cries. Things like "They're Jon's!" and " I was holding them for Jon!" Fucking rat.

Anyways, when the inning ended we were informed that after the game tonight we were gonna' have a meeting to get to the bottom of who else was smoking.

So the game went on forever. We played so bad- I think we lost 54 to 3. Anyways, after the game we sit around with the team and everyone's parents, and asshole Steve wimpering knowing that what his father did to him will likely be repeated at school the next day.

So the coach starts talking about how serious this is, and that people better start talking or their's gonna be hell to pay. He said that Steve admitted to smoking, and that there were others but wouldn't name any names.

Other than mine that is. This is the kind of luck that would plague me for the rest of my life by the way.

"Jon, did you bring these cigarettes?"


I was smart enough to know I had nothing to lose. Whether I admitted it or not I was fucked. The worst that would happen was I'd get thrown off the team and he'd be dissapointed that I lied to him.

After I said no he started getting angry, and before you know it people started confessing. One by one, they were dropping like flies. By the end of the meeting the whole fucking team confessed to smoking.

The adults were all dumbfounded. The whole team? How could these kids as young as nine be dong something they spent so much time warning them against? What's more, how are they gonna kick off everybody on the team? The rules state that if you get caught smoking you're off the team. But who can they do that to everyone?

They didn't kick anyone off that night. They did say that their would be consiquences and they'll be announced next week. In the meantime, those kids who's parents weren't at this meeting would get a phone call.

The next day my parents get a call telling them what happened. I was very lucky that my parents are from France, and the average age of a new smoker there is 4. My dad said to me "Jon, don't you never steal from me again. And don't you be giving them out to the children in the neighborhood."

That was it. Don't steal, don't give them out to the children in the neighborhood. Not "You better not be smoking" or "I better not catch you smoking again." Would have been a great time to steer me away from that path in life that altogehter I have spent a ridiculace amount of money on, and has done a number on my lungs. But no. Just don't steal from him, and if you happen to do so, don't give them to other kids.

Next week we learned that none of us would get kicked off the team, but if it happened again we would in a heartbeat. We also had to run around the park 5 times before and after ever single game for the rest of the season. Not a bad deal considering.

After that our team got dubbed the Hartford Smokers. As we were running around the park as part of our punishment, people in the stands would yell "Hey, pick me up a pack of cigarettes!" and "Pretty good for a bunch of smokers." It was cool.

After that most of the guys ended their smoking career. I decided to keep going and ended where I am today. From stealing from my dad, to paying over $5.00. From smoking one a day to over 20. From being the cool guy at school, to leaving the building on lunch break to go out in the cold like a dog and smoke a cigarette.

I hope I'm done this time. When you're paying over $5.00 a pack, and you can't smoke in a bar, it's time to stop.

But the sad part is, smokers really are cooler than everybody else. Look at the surgeon general. See what a jealous prick he is?


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