/ Survival / Addiction /
My neighbor just walked by, cigarette hanging from her face. My neighbor on the other side was never without a cigarette hanging from her face. East and west, I’m sandwiched among nicotine fiends. But my western neighbor won’t ever have another, ’cause she went really west: she’s dead! Age fifty! Skinny as the AIDS guy in Dallas Buyers Club.
My neighbor last mentioned, Leah, had a daughter, skinny as the AIDS guy in Dallas Buyers Club, might as well have the cigarette sewn to her lip, bouncing against the cell phone.
In high school I hung my king-size Chesterfield from my lower lip. What a jerk: a jerk among jerks: jerks galore. We were all fixed on Bogart. God bless Brando for not obscuring his mug with butts.
Off to college we found that also fixed on Bogart was Jean Paul Belmondo:
Breathless! Belmondo models himself before a street mirror. Smoke, smoke, smoke, he thumbs his lower lip …
The French want cancer almost as avidly as they want to be wine-hazed. Belmondo’s still alive though, lookin’ fabulous! I’m still alive, however I look. Don’t know how. We certainly didn’t try to live long, or be healthy: sane, normal, natural …)
My east neighbor, I can’t tell how skinny she is. All I can see, besides the cigarette, besides hair gathered and falling to her waist, is that she dresses herself in redneck men’s cloths. I love long hair, but hers is utterly without style. Hint of Cherokee, or Seminole. I don’t have a pic, but speaking of conspicuously redneck women, I just got an urge to show one so definitively ugly, she’s beautiful.
Maybe Dale Dickey is my smokin’ neighbor’s second cousin thrice-removed.
Speaking of cigarettes, I sure am aware of cancer chips getting cashed at a rate to match the most dire warnings I ever heard. My beloved is 83 … and 1/2. She lost her husband a few years before I met her: to cancer, of course, the big C. She had smoked too. We all smoked once upon a time: the people who didn’t weren’t smart, they were regarded as idiots! But Dan’s death was horrible: horrible for Jan too (the horrible I care about). Except now calls come in every other week if not every other hour: So-and-So is in the hospital, So-and-So’s funeral is on Friday … So-and-So had a really hard end.
We were so cool, we were so smooth. If we weren’t following Bogart, we were following FDR. My mother was.
That’s how we’ll end the Great Depression: we’ll all chain smoke! Once upon a time Carnegie got all our money, then Rockerfella: now let’s give everything to Reynolds, Morris, and Lorillard.
Fortunately for my mother, everything got her before the big C did. But nature is hard on our heels, all of us, and we can’t say we weren’t warned.
2015 08 24 Here I am, hot August day, my desk right by the front window, only now the redneck girl with the cigarette in her face is directly in front of me, to the south. Her motorhome just pulled in yesterday. This one is upsetting me because she’s young, slender, blond, kind of cute: or, might be, without the cigarette. 1954 we all smoked, but this isn’t 1954.
This girl’s got a mobile phone sewn to her ear. 1954 my best friend, Dick, never without the Chesterfield king, pretended he had a cell phone mounted on his dashboard. He drove around Rockville Centre pretending he was important: big man, on the phone all day. I don’t think he lived ten years past high school. He was also fascinated with needles! He showed me his kit, I don’t think I ever spoke to him again.