Bob Groeneveld has been sharing his Odd Thoughts with Langley readers for the past four decades, give or take a few months.

Bob Groeneveld has been sharing his Odd Thoughts with Langley readers for the past four decades, give or take a few months.

Odd Thoughts: Pain doesn’t just vapourize in the end

Vaping is just a new version of stupid for today’s kids.

By Bob Groeneveld

.

I was barely a teenager when I smoked my first cigarette… tobacco, that is.

Before that, my friends and I had tried smoking the dried florets of a plant that we called by a now definitively unpolitically correct name that I shall not repeat here.

The plant was a large woody shrub that grew along the roadside and had, to my knowledge, absolutely no medicinal or other value. We only smoked it – rolled in paper culled from chicken feed sacks (don’t ask!) – because it smouldered like real tobacco when you sucked air through it.

It tasted like campfire smoke, and the only reason I’m pretty sure that it did us no serious harm is because I’m still alive today.

Kids do stupid things.

That’s why, as soon as I could get hold of a real cigarette, I smoked it, just like nearly all of my big brothers did.

My dad had already quit smoking for several years by that time. And it was the same reason that gave him the strength to kick his decades-long habit that eventually gave me the strength to stand firm against my addiction of, by then, a decade and a half.

One day when we were walking the fenceline of the farm together, I pulled out one of my smokes and lit up, as I normally did. This time, without any air of judgment or recrimination, he simply told me why he had finally quit.

Before I started smoking, I hadn’t seen pictures of blackened, shrivelled lungs that had been preserved in large jars after being removed from dead smokers. I was already addicted by the time I saw them, usually shown side-by-side with photos of healthy pink lungs of non-smokers… who were also dead, I would wryly remark to myself.

It wasn’t till after I was addicted that I heard and read stories of the horrible ways that smokers tend to die, slowly choking on emphysema, wasting away with lung cancer – or the host of other cancers now linked to tobacco smoking.

None of that deterred me. That’s how addiction works.

It was my life, ergo, my decision.

Dad cut through all that crap. Yes, it was my decision – but it was not just my life.

He had quit because he realized that the people around him would suffer along with him through an agonizing death.

“All of you would be in pain because of me,” he said. “And more, because you will keep hurting after I’m dead.”

It wasn’t long after that that I made my first serious attempt to stop smoking. It would take several tries over the next two years before I finally succeeded.

All kids go through their own version of stupid before they grow up.

Now we’re all beginning to see and hear the devastating consequences of vaping.

But the kids won’t stop because of that… not until they realize that the pain will continue after they can’t feel it anymore.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The RCMP was called to a condo complex in Langley City in the early hours of Jan. 18, 2021, for a shooting. (Shane Mackichan/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Our View: Too many shootings as gang war continues

We need to ask what more we could be doing to stop the endless gang wars

A lawsuit over three stormwater floods of a building over the past year has been launched against Langley City. (Langley Advance Times file)
Flooded apartment building sparks lawsuit against Langley City

A downtown landlord claims a lack of storm sewer upgrades is negligence

Abbotsford’s Willow Video location will be closing at the end of the month. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Abbotsford’s Willow Video closing

Video game, movie retailer closing up shop after more than 20 years

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Ralliers gather in front of the Cityviews Village apartment building in Maple Ridge to protest attempts to evict low-income tenants by the building owner. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)
Tenants protest pressure tactics by new landlord at Maple Ridge apartment building

Protest held in front of Cityviews Village on 223 St. Tuesday to rally against low-income evictions

Most Read