smoke ’em if you got ’em part 2

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if you haven’t read part one of this semi serious series then by all means do so before you read this part.  things might make more sense.  then again as usual, in my case, it may not. 

smoking.  in particular smoking cigarettes.  i used to love that action.  by the time it was over it i was up to at times 3 packs a day.  usually around 2 packs on most days.  the 3rd pack wouldn’t rear it’s ugly head unless there were other things harming my over all health as well. 

i never saw my dad smoke cigarettes.  though i saw him smoke many a cigar and a pipe every now and again.  back when i was under 12 and and after my first foray into smoking cigarettes and when i was on a jones for a smoke, if nothing was available, i’d break out my dad’s old pipe paraphernalia.  pipe smoking has a lot of that associated with it.  paraphernalia.  pipes.  pipe racks.  tobacco pouches.  pipe cleaners.  pipe filters.  lots of stuff.

over the years i’d pretty much cleaned out dad’s old pipe tobacco from the old forgotten seal skin pouches.  yeah, seal skin.  oops.  come on, it was the 50’s and he’d had the stuff since the 40’s or earlier.  grow up.  so where was i?  ok.  the real stuff had been gleaned and cleaned.  i was hurtin’ a for smoke.  bad.  nothing available.  no butts in the trash or ashtrays.  what’s a poor boy to do?  why, pipe filters, of course.  duh.

dad had a bunch of them.  i hadn’t tried smoking any yet but there came the time when i did.  yeah, i smoked pipe filters.  just a stone cold under 12 year old smoke addict.  smoke was my crack.  my crystal meth.  i had it bad and i wasn’t even a teenager.  yet.  the pipe filters?  well, i’ll tell ya.  once you got past the nasty harshness of them they soothed the addiction beast.  that’s all that mattered.  what can i say?

i suppose one of the things that ruined my baseball career was my smoking.  i’d already given up on football.  too much pain and i wasn’t quite big enough.  basketball is another story for another time.  anyways, i was well into high school and we were down at the beach.  where else?  on a one week vacation.  my folks had rented a nice place down in newport beach.  i was allowed to bring a friend along.  i invited my best friend at the time and one of the friends involved in the cigarette machine caper from part one. 

at the time i had a t-shirt from a local high school. it wasn’t from my high school but the one just north of de onta.  any ways it was a nice t-shirt and it said ‘ulo varsity football’ on the front.  i wore it a lot that week.  if we weren’t out in the ocean surfing or body surfing we were wandering around looking for babes and smokes.  in either order. 

you will of course recall i have homeless blood in me from some damn place or another.  i or we were not above picking a nice butt up off the street and smoking it.  someone from around de onta or ulo must have seen us or me out on balboa blvd picking cigarettes out of the gutter and lighting them up.  jesus, a bad enough action back in the early 60’s but wearing a high school varsity football t-shirt while doing such seemingly bad action must have broke the camels (no pun intended) back.  my life as any sort of high school athlete was over from that point on.  i was labeled a smoker and soon to acquire the drinker label well.  fine with me.  where’s the babes? 

my smoking nadir was probably in the army.  the phrase ‘smoke ’em if you got ’em’ comes from the military and there’s always lots of standing around waiting in the military so when given the opportunity to smoke.  you did.    

i was up in ft ord in the wintertime and you needed gloves.  which of course the army provided.  nice ones.  once you were finished with your smoke you never ever put it out on the ground and left it there like some sort of stupid civilian.  no sir, no way.  first off, if someone saw you do that they would make your life miserable.  very miserable.  plus, we had enough police calls or picking up litter duties as it was. 

when i was finished with a smoke i’d pinch off the ember with my gloved hands and the butt would go in my field jacket pocket.  i’d empty out my pockets when i got around to it.  after basic training i did my first army school at ft ord as well.  a fellow soldier and friend was from sacramento and he invited to go home with him one weekend.  hell, yeah.  let’s get out of here.  i guess the jacket reeked after a couple months of sticking stinky smoked cigarette filters in my field jacket pockets.  it had never been washed.  we got to his parents home and after the initial greetings were over his mom made me give her my jacket.  then she threw it in the washing machine.

here’s a few more old ads for you.




4 thoughts on “smoke ’em if you got ’em part 2

    Cheryl Crittenden Timmons said:
    April 2, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Very funny! I can just see you in that ulo shirt picking up butts from the ground. Could that have been Upland? Where did that “o” come from? Glad you gave up that nasty habit? I know I am. Enough other stuff killing us!

    johnhauge responded:
    April 2, 2011 at 8:37 am

    every day i’m glad i gave up smoking. i did enough as a kid! ‘ulo’ was the mexican gang tag in upland, like de onta and cuca. it stood for ‘upland los olivos’, the fed housing project in upland. a rather nasty place in the old days. they’ve cleaned it up considerably and it’s a pretty nice place to live now a days. thanks, cheryl.

    Cheryl Crittenden Timmons said:
    April 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I should have known that…I remember Los Olivos, but guess I never knew the gang tag thing. Yes, a very funny story and I’m hoping theres more where that came from! Thanks, John

    johnhauge responded:
    April 3, 2011 at 4:30 am

    thanks, again cheryl.

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