Every November we teachers were obligated to commemorate the Great American Smokeout.
So being the dramatic writer and actor that I am, I wrote and “performed” the following, hoping they would see the ridiculousness of sucking smoke into one’s lungs for the sake of…what?
Once upon a time, soon after fire was discovered, a cave man came upon some green leaves growing in a field.
They were green and luscious looking so he picked a few and took them back to his cave. “Gorg!” He said to his cave mates, which meant,
“Looky what I found!”
“What is it?” They asked.
“Don’t know,” He replied.
“What should we do with it?” they wondered.
What else? Let’s eat it!
So they put it in their salad.
The next morning the only cave man left alive was the one who didn’t eat the salad.
He assessed the situation.
“Must not be good thing to eat,” he surmised.
Later on, after cleaning his cave, he went to see if he could find some new cave mates. He chanced upon the field growing those beautiful green leaves, where he saw his next cave neighbors picking the lovely green tobacco leaves.
“Don’t eat!” He yelled.
The people stood up and looked up at him.
“Whaaaa?” They asked.
“It will make you die, lickety split!” He told them.
“Then what should we do with this lovely harvest?” they asked, pointing to the great pile of leaves.
“Let’s think of a use for it”, he replied, because cave people were quite thrifty, and liked to use all of the things they discovered.
They thought and thought and they paced about and rubbed their cave man chins, until finally the one named Grub said,
“I’ve got it!” And he stopped pacing and raised his pointy finger into the air authoritatively.
“Let’s put it out in the sun and let it dry up and get all brown and wrinkly!”
“Whaaa?” They asked in unison.
They really meant, “Why?” But that question hadn’t been invented yet.
“Don’t know,” he replied in cave-man language, “but at least it won’t look delicious like turnip greens!”
“Then what will we do with it?”
“Then! He said pacing excitedly, “We’ll tear it all up and smash it till it’s small.”
Then we’ll um, um, (thinking) ROLL it up in really thin paper, and and, and, then we’ll um, um, (more thinking) have a little round stick of it!!” He was really getting into this now.
“Whaaaa?” They asked again.
Then we’ll LIGHT ONE END OF THE STICK ON FIRE!”
“That’s it! That’s what we’ll do with it!” He exclaimed banging his big caveman fist into his big caveman palm.
“Whaaaaa?” the others shouted getting caught up in the Grub’s excitement.
“Then we’ll um…” and here he paused not really sure what to say next, but everyone was looking at him so expectantly he knew he had to come up with a colossal idea.
He continued to walk back and forth, dragging his knuckles on the ground in typical caveman style.
Suddenly he stopped and faced his trusting friends and neighbors.
“THEN we’ll put the end that’s NOT on fire into our mouths and SUCK the smoke into our lungs.
What a great idea! (Here I usually looked like a demented, Steve Martin in his early days.)
And so they did and they coughed and choked, but they didn’t die. …That day.