Journey – Day 9

I think just by being human, there is a tendency to seek out fame and fortune, unless you are a Trump kid and born into fame and wealth.  The rest of us schnooks have to scrape, scrimp, struggle, and compete to scratch out a decent living with all the pressures that go with it.  Life gets in the way, yet we persist day after day.  We are so use to rags to riches stories, fairy tales, princes and princesses, power, control, and manipulation.  I never argued that I was not one of the majority who felt that way and wanted some of that.   It’s instinct.  It’s normal.  It’s O.K.   That is not to say I wanted to be a Kardashian, but fame would be nice.  The chances of winning the powerball were slim….but so many try day after day. Hoping against all odds that you will be the “chosen” one.  You have a better shot at getting stuck by lightning 22 times in a row.  Not the best odds, but we hope.  Folks, HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY !!!!!!!!  My best shot was to follow my heart, without the talent of an Olympian, or athlete, entertainer or an American Idol, but somebody who NOW had the attention of the national media and what I was saying was profound.  How do you capitalize on that with the fifteen minutes of fame you have been handed?

How do you become a “turncoat” and bite the hand that feeds you? What was I thinking?   Did I really think there wouldn’t be retaliation from RJ Reynolds and the Winston campaign?  Billions of dollars were at stake.     I don’t think I cared, but I honestly don’t think I thought it through enough ( if at all) , and things were going to get nasty, very nasty.   I just kept running my mouth off and couldn’t turn it off and I was telling the story that really should not have been that big of a deal. I had diarreah of the mouth, but  I was only confirming what the world already knew, wasn’t I?    Smoking was bad……….smoking was nasty……….smoking was for those addicted to this horrible weed………..tobacco companies only care about money……….smoking was for grown ups, but grownups kept telling me to grow up. ( It certainly seemed like an oxymoron)……….smoking was expensive……….smoking surely would kill………Holy crap, how much money was going to be spent repeating what we all knew ?  Apparently gazillions of $$$$.    It seemed to me to be redundant and it took me a while to realize that it wasn’t the crime, but as usual it’s the cover-up that people and the media are interested in.   In 1964 the Surgeon General, Luther Terry said smoking was hazardous…..(yawn)…..Television ads for cigarettes ceased in 1971.    In the early 70’s the major brands had filter tips to protect the smoker from all the “yucky” tar.  In 1971, cigarette manufacturers agreed to put a mild warning on the packs.  “Warning by HM Government   SMOKING CAN DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH  .  It had to be a  “mild’ warning since Professor Sir Richard Doll research showed that of 1,357 men with lung cancer, 99.5 % were smokers. I guess if it was 100%, more would have had to be done.  (hmmmm).  He also said most people who smoked” were playing Russian Roulette and hoping the chamber was empty”.  Why are human beings not willing to take action when the truth should be enough?   All of the medical professionals, the anti-smoking non-profits, the state and local governments, the Feds,  organizations like ASH ( Action on Smoking and Health),  the  OSH, (Office on Smoking and Health), the National Cancer Institute, the American Medical Association and a plethera of others????? Because, in general we homo sapiens have very short attention spans, we love to be entertained, and we love a good scandal.  I guess I was a little slow out the gate and I didn’t realize what I had that was different.  I didn’t feel extraordinary, but what I had to say seemed to be extraordinary.     I was just telling the truth as I SAW IT, HEARD IT, AND WITNESSED IT.  That which was  formed in my own little brainwashed head was now almost “biblical”.  Who the frig was I?   Truthfully speaking, most people suspected what I knew to already be true and factual, and the difference was I not only suspected it, but also living it. .   I knew the history surrounding the somewhat controversial tobacco issue and so did everyone else more or less.    Of course, you’d get suspended from school if caught by a smoking principal or a teacher who smoked.  (that didn’t seem fair).   I knew it was a grown up thing to do, but why did so many grown ups START as kids?  duh ! It was planned you moron. (I said that to myself).  I snuck cigarettes as a kid, as did most smokers.  I stole cigarettes when I needed them. (hell, my Pop was a baptist preacher who didn’t smoke, so I had to steal them when I couldn’t buy them.  (Not that the stores wouldn’t sell them to me ….. it was that I didn’t want to get caught or seen buying them).    I smoked in the lavatory in school.  (the teachers could smoke in the lounge).    It was forbidden, so I did it.  Added to all that I actually did already suspect and know, was  hundreds of documents, statistics, charts, data, and medical stuff that sounded “pretty official” and I was bombarded with everything that I didn’t know, but certainly HAD TO BE TRUE considering where this science was coming from.  (one would think?)

About 5 years of  ago, a plain and not so attractive middle aged spinster walked onto a stage as a contestant in Britains Got Talent  and blew us away with a voice that was extraordinary, especially from someone who looked like her.  What a day she had!!!!!  Not sure why everyone was surprised as she did not wake up that morning and said I’m going to see if I can sing.  No,  she could always sing.  She didn’t change……people changed.  The booing, sneering, jeering  and hisses stopped as soon as she proved herself worthy of capturing the hearts and minds of  millions and millions of humans who could never conceive, that she had talent and had been given a gift to for the world to hear. She finally had a “voice” that needed to be heard and she became an inspiration to so many.   I find it sad that she had to wait all those years with people,  (I can imagine were sometimes quite cruel) to be accepted and allowed to achieve any sort of success or even self gratification and use the gifts that were/are extraordinary.  I wonder if people really know how extraordinary they are, as they battle the day to day stresses that seem to keep many good people down and often times out.   When people give up, and can’t find hope, it becomes a greater tragedy for all to witness.  I only wish the Anti-Tobacco movement could be alot more compassionate than they have proven themselves to be. Thats a story for another week or two.   A Hoax of mass proportion I tell ya…  Sadly, it took me almost another 20 years to see the outcome of this horriffic behavior on the “other side of the tracks” that I unwittingly took part in, but should have known better. Of course, I was now being paid for my expose’s..  What a PUTZ I am.    This is not the slam dunk, I thought it would be.  I finally realized that Tobacco Companies don’t sell tobacco…….they sell doubt.  The Anti-Tobacco movement has to sell more than data, statisitics, and science.   They have to sell, fearmongering , denormalization, and hate.    Not a good mix when you think you are trying to save lives.   Do these folks have a clue ?  I think NOT.

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