Wednesday, May 27, 2009
cigarettes and whiskey
My paternal family has, for many generations, including the present, had a romance with John Barleycorn. It was spirits for us, because we were Scots and Irish origin, and wine was for 'foreigners' in the olden days, or 'rubbies'. Grain alcohol was more available where the product was grown, and it also could be homemade.It didn't stop us from working or being productive but it made it more difficult.We also, over the generations, provided large subsidies to the tobacco industry. To be dominated by one's addictions leads to guilt, remorse, salvation and relapse, and shortness of breath, all of which serve to diminish one's self image. Looking back, with today's ethic in mind, I see a smattering of the abstemious, and an abundance of the surreptitious fallen. I believe genetic makeup predisposes to the addictive personality. This is not an excuse as those of higher rectitude might insist. It has been a struggle for many of my family, and a cautionary principle for me, finally learned, but as we have aged, the scourge has mostly been overcome. However, it may be a case of " too soon old, too late smart". We cannot walk in anyone else's shoes and make judgements because love of family conquers all in the end. Why we have such a change in habit these days with cigarettes and whiskey, I have no idea but certainly there is an immense change. Maybe some of the young have just changed what they are habituated to. Maybe the old have got more interested in living longer! I have often said if I live to 90 I'm going to smoke again because I loved it, and the stream of smoke and conversation that floated on it. It wasn't called a 'peace pipe' for nothing. Augment that with a glass of spirit and everyone becomes a conversational genius. It just sneaked up on you, that it became too much of a good thing! When one of your family stumbles, the bell tolls for all. Tough love is not as tough on the loved,as it is tough on the lover!