Friday, January 16, 2009

My Old Brand

Or rather the brand I began with. Cue up lotsa wistful sighs here. And a hack or two.

The biggest bennie about Luckies (and Camels) was you could carry the pack rolled up in in the sleeve of your tee shirt, like all the Kool Kidz did. Think Brando in The Wild One. Or maybe Fonzie. I'm not even sure if Fonzie smoked on teevee. But I'm sure he... the character, that is... did in Real Life. All those guys did.

h/t: Lileks


  1. My dad was his high school's version of "The Fonz", circa 1949. He carried Lucky Strikes in his tee shirt sleeve.

  2. I tried to be cool for a few weeks in sixth grade, ran with the cool kids, puffed on cigarettes...until I actually inhaled once and found myself on the ground, looking up at the mocking faces of the losers I thought were so cool. I've never touched a cigarette since. Unlike Clinton, I admit to inhaling!

  3. I used to carry Luckies in my flight jacket pocket. Because they fit, and it was an homage to the fliers of the 40's and 50's.

    The fun part was when someone would come up to me and ask to bum a smoke, and I would proudly whip out my Lucky Strikes and say, "Sure, have some of MY brand".

    Usually, the jones'ing inquisitor would meekly say, "no thanks, not my brand".

    My response would be to question his manhood and orientation. Only Men, Smoke a Man's cigarette. The other brands being mere imitators of Virgina Slims, butched up.

    P.S. I tried to smoke once. About puked when I inhaled and never considered trying it again!

  4. Kris: Funny how times change, eh? I can't remember ANY of my parents friends NOT smoking when I was a child. The house was a total pit the "morning after" one of their parties, what with overflowing ashtrays, stale smoke, yadda, yadda. Amazing, now that I think back on it.

    Christina: I SERIOUSLY wish I had of reacted the way you did the first time I inhaled. But I did so in private and went through about half a pack before I finally mastered the "art." As my Ol' Man used to say: "It's hard to be cool and smart at the same time..."

    DC: That's a GREAT story! I stayed with Luckies for quite a while before I moved on to Cowboy Killers or some such. I was doing American Spirits when I quit.

  5. I can picture my dad with a pack rolled up in a t-shirt sleeve. However, never saw him do this. He just sorta seemed like the greaser type in high school from the stories I have heard (ditching school to hang out in a bar, etc).

    The movie that comes to my mind is The Outsiders. But I don't picture Fonzie smoking. He was just too...goofy. Too busy with the hair and the chicks.

  6. virgil xenophon18 January, 2009 11:30

    As late as 1975 I bumped into Bruce Springsteen in a local dive nightclub after one of his concerts in New Orleans--had the jeans, white T-shirt and the cigs rolled up in the left sleeve--typically true to his "blue-collar" image.

  7. Jenny: Ah... I could make some mileage out of the various teen sub-cultures back in your Dad's and my day. But I probably won't go there... too much has already been done in this space by others, and probably much BETTER, as well.

    Virgil: Thanks for dropping by! Seeing Springsteen in a dive bar musta been REALLY cool back then. I was in Japan at the time, and some friends from Noo Joisey introduced him to me about then. As with most guys, I think his early stuff is by FAR the best.


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