There's been high drama here today.
Yesterday my eldest asked me if I had ever smoked. I told him that I had tried it at university. I didn't tell him about the odd spliff I'd shared before then with some of the delightfully dodgy but ultimately overly odd for comfort friends I'd had in my mid-teens. Or the laced 'brownies' cooked for me by university friends who lived out in the sticks which I munched whilst watching The Blues Brothers movie - surreal stuff when high!
I am not a natural smoker, and when I did try smoking ordinary fags I just had a very strong image of nasty dirty smoke going into my lovely pristine lungs and fouling them up. It was easily enough to dissuade me from persisting with my trial. That and the cost...
I asked him if he'd been approached to smoke and he told me that he hadn't. It turns out that indeed he hadn't but his girl friend had. She has a girl in her class who is redoing the year, so probably seems to be older and more sophisticated. This girl, F, smokes at weekends and when she can - don't know if her parents know, or where she gets the money from, mind.
She offered a cigarette to my eldest's friend J, who accepted. My eldest was horrified and told her he wouldn't be her boy friend if she smoked. It seems that she promised she wouldn't smoke again.
I come home today to find my eldest in a state because he had been with the girls on their way out down the road, but had turned round and come back again when F offered another fag to J who accepted, despite her promise. Hence high drama.
Over lunch we had his mobile phone ringing, him answering, getting irate and hanging up on J or her sister. In the end I told him to let them talk and stop hanging up as it was not calming him down but just working him up more. He ended the conversation by telling his friend J that she had one last chance to keep her promise or he wouldn't be her boy friend any more.
This turning school-kid smokers into social and personal pariahs seems to me to be a good tactic, and I congratulated my eldest on his action. These kids depend on peer approval so if it's withdrawn because they are indulging in socially unacceptable behaviour, it might well encourage them to stop. Unless they are in one of those really annoying phases where they want to do everything to rebel against as many people as possible, even formerly close friends.
I think I'll just keep quiet about the time I shared a Cuban cigar with Russian and Cuban friends in Texas having got plastered on vodka and rum... ahem...