My Cigarette History is…Different 12/1/18

By Richard E. Bleil, Ph.D.

Mom came out to visit me in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. One day, she tells me that she wants to “pop out” to Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills. She figured we could run out, vischronoit, and come back.

Uh, no. If you don’t know about South Dakota, it’s about a 5 hour drive from one side of the state to the other. As the nation was expanding westward, there was an impetus to annex the country as quickly as possible to prevent another nation from developing the west coast. The laws required a certain minimum number of people for land to be annexed as states, so as you go west, the states become larger.

Anyway, back to the story. On the drive, mom was very quiet. Guys reading this know what it means when a woman (yes, even your mom) is a little too quiet. In my mind, I started thinking of the past day or two, trying to figure out what I did wrong, and for what I should apologize. Finding nothing, I asked the question all guys in this situation ask. “Are you okay?”

“I think it’s my fault that you were so small when you were born,” she replied.

Yes, I was a tiny baby. Born chronologically on time, I weighed four pounds and five ounces. Frankly, though, I was just glad it wasn’t anything that I did. Still, did I hear her right?


“I smoked when I was pregnant with you,” she explained. “That’s why you were so small when you were born.”

Where did this come from? I guess it doesn’t matter, I wanted to reassure her. “It’s okay, mom. I’m fine. Everything turned out fine. I’m an adult, no harm no foul. Besides, we know more about tobacco today than we did back then.”

“What’s tobacco got to do with it?”


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