This is Sal's story
It's about diseases caused by smoking, and if you start this story, read it to the end, but don't start if you're squeamish.
Sal's Dad died angry. And guess what? Most smokers die angry, and Sal said not only was her Dad eaten up by cancer, he was eaten up by vitriol against himself and the tobacco companies.
Before Sal's Dad got caught with one of the predictable diseases caused by smoking, his favorite saying was, "I'll give up smoking when I'm ready." And he did give up... but he wasn't ready.
No way was he ready to give up life, but that goes grimly hand-in-hand with giving up smoking when you have no choice, ready or not.
He wasn't ready to face the long slow decline, the complete takeover of life as he had known it.
Nothing else was important — money, the nearly finished bathroom with the imported Italian tiles, his precious daughter Sal's engagement party, the gardening club trip and lots of other things he had looked forward to.
Sal's Dad agonized and beat himself up over his past decisions. Cell by cell his body died as he re-lived each cigarette by cigarette he had smoked with regret. Many of the diseases caused by smoking have warning signs, but Sal's Dad had just grabbed another cigarette to help relax and cope whenever he had felt out of sorts.
He was not ready for nature's hand. How dare this happen to him. Oh if only, if only...
No smoker is EVER ready. Many famous people who died before their time used their fame and money to campaign and rail against smoking, as they gasped, moaned, screamed, dribbled, oozed and hacked slowly from this world.
The original Marlborough Man — this tough, tanned cowboy riding on his horse, looking healthy, sexy, rich and popular — desperately made a video to help other smokers, as he succumbed to one of the diseases caused by smoking — cancer. But just as desperately, the big tobacco guns destroyed every copy they could find. (There are still a few underground grainy copies left in the US.)
What about sexy Humphrey Bogart, star of many great films and arguably the finest film ever made — "Casa Blanca." His signature line was lighting 2 cigs at once and then passing one to a beautiful woman, saying oh so coolly, "One for me and one for my chick." He died of lung cancer aged 56 at the height of his career and life.
Smoking diseases got to handsome Yul Brunner before he was ready too, and he passionately implored young people not to start, as he struggled to the end.
Ayn Rand, highly intelligent, famous author and founder of Objectivism, was quoted as the world's most rational woman leader from the late 50's to early 70's. In her day it was so cool to smoke that she declared she distrusted people who didn't smoke! Lung cancer claimed her early in 1982.
Can you see today's "beautiful people," the stars of screen and sport who smoke, struggling in agony, with tubes in where most of their throat used to be, or with legs amputated because of gangrene due to lack of blood flow, or being implored by a nurse or a loved one to keep breathing, as each breath sounds like hail on a roof and their whole chest wants to explode?
Forget about them, can you see yourself if you're a smoker for that matter? The diseases caused by smoking don't care who they claim and when. They don't care if you've got plans for your future.
Every single cigarette is dragging you towards an early, angry and regretful end.
There is nothing more precious than life, which is why you automatically look before you cross the road — to avoid danger.
You can be careful around traffic.
You can be careful what you eat.
But you can't be careful with smoking — you smoke or you don't — no compromises... just bitter regrets, like Sal and Sal's Dad.