A bunch of us kids were in the back of Pete Leisure’s old truck. The old truck hadn’t run for years and was sitting there rusting in his junkyard on Dolman Street. It was one of those construction trucks that had the wood framing on back with green canvas stretched over it.
Almost all of the kids in the back of the truck except me were related to Pete Leisure in some way or another. One of them had brought an alcohol lamp to light up the back of the truck and light cigarettes. The reason that we were in the old truck in the first place was to sneak smokes.
During the course of our smoking activity, one of the kids knocked over the alcohol lamp and the truck went up in flames. With the old, dried canvas the truck went up pretty quickly. The next night we were all called in to see Pete. We were all kind of nervous because he had the reputation of being in the local Mafioso.
I quit smoking when I moved away from the old neighborhood, but when I was in my early twenties I started up again when I began managing restaurants. I’ve quit several times. It’s one of the hardest things that I’ve tried to do.
One time I met an old farmer named John. He was related to my girlfriend and we visited him on his farm. He was a large man, in his sixties, and wore old blue jean overalls. We sat at his kitchen table with him and his wife and talked.
He told us that he had lung cancer and didn’t have very long to live. They had recently found a grapefruit-sized tumor in his lungs and another large one that had spread to his brain. His head was shaven and you could still see where they had removed part of his skull.
He poured us coffee out of a Thermos that was on the table and rolled a cigarette. He said that the doctors no longer cared if he smoked. It wouldn’t make a difference anyway.
The latest news on the smoking front is that lung cancer caused by smoking is different genetically than that which is in non-smokers.
According to Medical News Today: ” Researchers in Canada found that the genomes of lung cancer tumors in smokers had different DNA alterations to lung tumors in never smokers, suggesting that the disease could be different in the two groups.”
The researchers studied the lung cancer tumors and surrounding tissue of both groups: those who got cancer from smoking and those who got lung cancer who had never smoked cigarettes, and found differences in the genetic makeup.
They said that they now want to study other types of lung tumors, like those made by asbestos exposure, to see if they are genetically different as well.