Your comments about this column are welcome ~ e-mail Frank at
The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
 by Frank Shortt
2013 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
          I do not use tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana. It seems sensible to me to be a Teetotaler in respect to addictive substances. This has been my way of life for the past, over forty years.
          In the beginning, it was not so, as I began smoking tobacco at an early age, probably six or seven years old. My brother and I, along with a neighbor lad happened upon a very ancient pack of Old Gold non-filter cigarettes. These cigarettes had lain idle in an abandoned mining shack for about ten years so one can imagine the potency of that tobacco. We all three became violently ill as a result of smoking these relics of the past. My mother called us ‘Tobacco Worms’ for a long time thereafter, probably due to the pallor of our skins after that ordeal. She showed no pity on us, whatsoever. Such was life in rural Appalachia, fifty or so years ago, where drinking alcohol and smoking was as normal as drinking water.
          After my first encounter with smoking tobacco it was not uncommon for me to smoke corn silks, rabbit tobacco rolled up in brown paper from a grocery bag, hollow sticks, and dried smoke vine which thrives in the hollows of Appalachia. I also chewed tobacco, dipped snuff, getting the fix in any way possible.
          When one has an addictive personality, it does not take long for that person to find the substance of choice to become addicted to. We all probably have one of those in our family. Soon that person takes on a different persona due to his addiction. Some families are deprived of daily necessities due to this addiction. The one addicted will spend every cent he earns on his or her particular addiction. Their families are supported by public welfare of some kind, the unwary taxpayer having to foot the bill.
          I once had an uncle who would slave in the coal mine all week loading coal. He was very well liked, was one of the best coal loaders, and was his own worst enemy. As soon as he received his paycheck, off he would go to the nearest beer joint or bootlegger, whichever was handiest, and spend every cent of his hard-earned wages on cheap homebrew and beer. He soon lost his wonderful wife, his health, and would usually end up sleeping outside because he could not make it home. He died at thirty-six because he could not conquer his addiction and related problems.
          I smoked tobacco and drank alcohol until I was almost thirty years of age. My deliverance from these substances was nothing short of a miracle. Some folks are not as fortunate. These are the folks we see on the medians of avenues with ‘homeless’ signs, sleeping on the creek banks in makeshift dwellings, or filling up our public mental and medical facilities. These all have good, law-abiding relatives who love them and have sacrificed much for their rehabilitation.
          The human body is composed of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. Trace amounts of fluorine is present for the express purpose of hardening the enamel on ones teeth. We must notice that there is not one mention of nicotine, alcohol, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol , which marijuana consists of. Why would we thinking human beings want to introduce foreign chemicals into our system?
          Every addict that I have encountered, and I encountered plenty in the education field, began his addiction by an innocent encounter with an addictive substance. His body, not consisting of the chemical introduced, reacted violently and one would think that this person would cut a wide angle around that substance thereafter.
          This is, unfortunately, not so with the addictive personality. This person has a need to pursue the substance until it becomes a part of his very being. The end result is a ‘monkey on one’s back’. Sometimes that person starts out with a weaker version of the addictive substance. Gradually, that one substance is not strong enough. The ‘fix’ becomes stronger and stronger until it consumes the addicted one.    
This is when the person is found in an alleyway or creek bank, having taken his own life by the very thing that became a part of him.
          Should all drugs be legalized? This is a question hounding politicians in every state. Does legalizing an addictive substance make it more readily available to the consumer? Not necessarily. The only thing that it insures is that the substance in question meets certain qualifications as to its purity.
          Nicotine is the most abused drug of choice. It is available on every street corner. It is also one of the hardest substances to overcome. Countless billions are spent yearly on dissuasion tactics, cancer treatment caused by, and ways to quit it. There does not seem to be any end to it.
          Marijuana, although still illegal in large amounts, is readily available in every large city. The effect of smoking Marijuana creates the same symptoms in the human body as tobacco. It is the smoke that contains the tar. Anytime that smoke is inhaled into the human body it leaves a residue on the lungs. This builds up over time blocking the normal breathing process. Voila! This causes COPD, lung cancer, and a long treatment, if treatment is possible, or a slow and painful death. Not to mention the huge cost to society or ones loving family.
Education begins at home. How can a mother or father not notice that one of their children is acting a little different lately? How many are paying attention to the friends that their child associates with? How many are monitoring the movies and games that their child encounters? How many are spending ‘quality time’ with their child? Isn’t it important to insure that our children are not developing addictions that will affect their entire life? How many are using addictive substances in front of their children and then expect their children to abstain?
Wake up America! Your child’s future rests solely in your hands. If you are not a friend to your child, he will find a friend, and that friend might not be the person you want them to be. I say again, Wake up America!