Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sunday evening.

As I mentioned the other night, we pulled out the Christmas music & decorations Sunday. The kid zeroed in on the Santa hats, which I bought for a Christmas gig several years ago and which my pick-up bandmates didn't want to keep. He's been wearing his every day, and I won't be surprised if he wears it every day until The Day.

Sunday night I read "The Night Before Christmas" to him in bed. He was very concerned about St. Nick's smoking. He's very aware that his recently-departed grandpa smoked.

I used to be laissez-faire about people smoking, thinking, "They know the risks," but until I saw someone die of lung cancer, the risks remained theoretical to me. We all have to die someday, but vomiting your lung is a gruesome way to go.

The biggest argument against smoking I experienced as a kid involved a physical demonstration of lung capacity. My parents smoked and my mom's good friend DL (whom I mentioned the other night) and her husband didn't. They were visiting -- they had 3 kids around my & my brother's ages -- and my parents and their friends decided to check something out. They all took a deep breath and walked as far as they could go without taking another breath. The non-smokers could go two or three times farther than the smokers. This deeply impressed my 10- or 12-year-old brain, and the funny thing is, nobody else remembers it. My brother doesn't, the L's son who's about my age doesn't, my mom doesn't, my dad didn't, and the L's didn't. I mentioned it to them when they came to Seattle for my wedding -- thanked them for the demonstration. They had no memory of it. I concluded then and their, smoking may or may not kill you (my grandma smoked for 60 or 70 years and made it to 87), but it certainly will mess with your quality of life.

Besides that, it's damned expensive.

So if you smoke -- if you gotta go to Betty Ford clinic to shake it, do what you got to do. If you stop smoking for three months, let me know and I'll bake you a cake. My dad quit twice -- once for a year and another time for 5 years. But he backslid both times.

Best wishes. I'm rooting for you.

* * * *

On a cheerier note, my beloved spouse's birthday on Monday was lovely. Our son was so sweet and enthusiastic about everything, it was impossible to have a bad time. He had the idea of baking a ring in his Mamu's cake and making sure she got it so she would be the Birthday Queen, so he picked out an inexpensive but nice-looking ring with a giraffe-skin pattern at an African import store. I talked him out of picking an obviously plastic ring and encouraged the giraffe-ring choice in part because they said it was made of a cow's horn and I didn't think it would be a problem. I boiled the ring before putting it in the cake, and I marked where I put it so as to steer it toward the Birthday Queen. Unfortunately, it really was plastic, but it mostly held together and only ruined a small portion of the cake, and also fortunately our son let the cat out of the bag and let his Mamu know that there was a ring in the cake, so she was eating carefully. When he realized that he had blown the secret his eyes grew big and he put his finger in front of his lips in the Shhhh position. I know he's my kid and all, but that was pretty fucking adorable. Unfortunately, I failed to pick up on the Queen theme and neglected to arrange for us to make a crown, which he wanted his Mamu to have but didn't say out loud to me, though he did to her. A minor failing -- a crown would have been . . . crowning. It was a nice birthday.

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