Home > Daily life > Don’t sue me over this

Don’t sue me over this

I haven’t had a drink or a cigarette for years, for decades. I’ve seen relatives die of lung cancer and friends of alcohol-related diseases. I know, really know, how terribly damaging both habits can be. But back in the days — think “Mad Men” — we didn’t know. My evenings were spent in a haze of smoke, with like-minded cohorts— writer friends and such — holding forth on how to remodel a world more to our taste. We enthusiastically supported the Bordeaux and Beaujolais industry and Johnnie Walker was our best friend. No outing, no night on the town, no party, no sad moment, no happy occasion, would have meant anything without a cigarette and a glass of something. I even remember lighting up while standing in ski-lift lines and I wasn’t the only one.

Fast forward to today. I don’t know a single person who smokes (which is good as I can’t stand the slightest whiff of smoke) and friends who come over are content with one glass of white wine, if that. Nowhere is the message that drinking and smoking are highly toxic more strongly enforced than with pregnant women. Innumerable studies warn of the threats to the developing fetus. Still, I remember that in those heady days, all the way to the late eighties, I wasn’t the only one partying. Every one was, including pregnant women. According to today’s wisdom, that would mean entire generations born with terrible health problems and growing up warped in every way but that didn’t happen. My own two sons, born in the seventies, are fit, hale and hearty, despite my smoking and drinking throughout my pregnancies (to my everlasting shame, I must say, and my admission that not having known any better is no excuse.) But they don’t seem to have been affected, and neither do, for the most part, their contemporaries, except for normal wear and tear. I am not advocating that pregnant women adopt a pack-a-day regimen or guzzle vodka, of course not. But you know, I can’t help wonder…

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  1. January 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I’ve long contended that it was better to have smoked and quit than never to have smoked at all. How else could I have experienced the grand, elicit obsession? Understood Gandolph’s reveries? A Hobbit’s hospitality?

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