Started smoking yet? Or quit?

It started so well. My parents told me to join the International Order of Good Templars at around eight years. All my friends were there already, so I did as I was told.

OK, we had lots of fun. But I had no idea what the deeper meaning of it all was. No-one told us.

I grew up and moved and found that a beer or two could be nice. Still not knowing that I wasn’t supposed to. Until I met people from my childhood and asked them to come with me to the pub. “Sorry, can’t do, we are IOGT members” they said. “So am I” I said. “Why can’t you? No money? I pay!” A little late to discover what the IOGT was all about. Perhaps.

Then moved to Stockholm for schools and work and then, traveled all over the world. Old Eastern Germany was worst - very often a couple of Schnaps and beers in the morning. But the Westerners were also good drinkers. Not to speak about the French. But their days started with a Côte du Rhone or several. Back then, a Dry Martini was the standard drink whenever colleagues met in the US. And I met with many.

It was only several years into retirement that the (Russian) doctor told me that “Yorr livverr is kaputt” and told me stop drinking alcohol. You shall always do what the doctor says. So, I did.

That is when I started smoking instead.

End of story.

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My parents didn’t know what they were getting me into when the sent me to camp one year. I might have been 11. It was much more of a “bible” camp than they were told. So on the first morning everyone gathered for bible studies and I sat there with that book I’d never opened before. Page 1…
We were joined by a counselor (who was actually a minister, I learned later.) After discussing a few topics with the class, I was hearing things that didn’t make sense. I hadn’t read this book, but I’d read many others, and I started to argue. At last, he asked “how old is the world?” For the answer I gave, I was asked to leave the class, but not the camp. I had a free hour with a huge playground and two other heathens like me to play with. We got the better deal!

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I had to look up what IOGT was… it’s not that abstainers live longer… life just seems so much longer… :grin: