Pay no attention to your smoking mother

I was a good kid.  I rarely got in trouble.  I never broke the rules.  I wasn’t a rebellious teenager in the least.   And though I admit to trying a few of my college roommate’s cigarettes, I can honestly say that I have never smoked.
So why my son asked me the other day if I ever smoked, even when I was younger, I could honestly say, “no, I didn’t,” although I’m not sure he could take me seriously because I had a cigarette hanging out of my mouth.  
“No way I smoked.  That stuff will kill you.  Literally.  Like I’m not even joking, it’s really insane.  Now how does it look when hold it like this?” I asked, moving the thing from the between-the-fingers position to the thumb and index finger hold.
“You look ridiculous, mom.”
And I knew I did, which is exactly the problem.  A role in an upcoming theater production finds me on stage, at a bar, smoking a cigarette while my doofus boyfriend sings a song to me which is all good except that I feel like incredible fool trying to pull off smoking a fake cigarette.  It’s as unnatural as trying to stick my toes in my ears and flying through the air while singing Carmina Burana, which would be more likely than me actually taking up the habit of smoking cigarettes.
But a girl has to practice because there’s a long span of time when I’m there, center stage, not doing anything but listening to him and puffing away on a stage prop.  So that’s exactly what I do. 
There are fake cigarettes all over my house.  I make coffee, I practice smoking.  I work on my computer, I do it with a smoke in my hand.  I fix my hair, there’s a cigarette hanging out of my mouth.  I watch myself in the mirror from the front, from the side.  I’d probably be up to three packs a day if I wasn’t just using the same ones over and over.   
And yet, I’m horrible.  It’s got to be one of the nerdiest, most pathetic things I’ve ever done in my life, but I’m really okay with it.  Being able to truthfully tell my children that I have never smoked (as evident by my consistent, terrible practicing) is not such a bad thing.  The CDC reports that at least 16 million Americans suffer from a disease caused by smoking cigarettes, and the American Lung Association states that 90% of all lung cancer is directly caused by smoking.  I like breathing way too much to play with any of those statistics.

I think I’ll stick to the stage cigarettes, and hope my children follow my lead and keep the smoking to bar scenes.

Originally written 6/7/14


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