I purchased my first pack of cigarettes from a store down the street from my home (when you could still sell cigs to teenager). The ones I had been smoking up until that point were acquired from the stash of a friend’s mom. They were Rothman’s—and though I was new to the habit, I knew these cigarettes did not define me as the kind of smoker I wanted to be. To me they said, “I hate my life and I want my lungs to pay the price.” I needed to find a brand the represented me. A brand that said, “I’m cool with an edgy wit.”
There was a lot to understand about what the brand of cigarettes you smoked said about you. I generally came see things in the following judge-y way. Keep in mind, this was the 80s.
- du MAURIER – Intellectuals really into progressive rock bands like King Crimson and Genesis.
- Benson and Hedges – People who consider themselves eccentric.
- Player’s Special Blend – Anyone smoking Player’s Special Blend without a doubt stole them as convenience stores use to display a rack of this brand right there on the counter–for your stealing convenience. Even a non-smoker would be tempted to nick a pack.
- Export A Gold – Metal heads in testicle-crushing jeans.
- Export A Green – Aging, sour waitresses at the motel restaurant.
- Export A Blue – Future sex offenders.
- McDonald Menthol – People who liked to keep their smoker’s breath minty fresh.
- Home Rollies – Tree planters and cheapskates.
I haven’t smoked in over well over a decade now. I ended my smoking years puffing away on “Benson and Hedges Peppermint Chai Super Ultra Light Clean Burning Less Cancer Causing King Size” or something along those lines. Like coffee, cigarettes had grown convoluted and difficult to order. You would just be thankful you got something in ballpark of what you wanted. I quit for the obvious reasons: health and cost. Also quit because I realized that smoking had jumped the shark. I wanted out.
Over the years, I switched between brands and learned that it didn’t matter what kind you smoked. The fact that you smoked said it all. Puffing away on carcinogenic sticks said, “I’m a fucking idiot.”