Did you read the other day that the Aussies are going to ban logos on cigarettes? And no longer will packs of cigarettes there carry any colors. (In Aussieland, that is colours. Or are colours. Never mind.) No color except for drab olive-green. And there will be no images on the packs, either. Except for images of ailing children, rotting teeth, cancerous lungs and such. Along with gentle warnings: “Even touch this package and you will die!”
Understandable, since tobacco certainly causes enormous damage. Mind you, you do have to wonder if your favorite vice is the next target. Think Big Mac in olive-green packaging. Complete with photo of 400-pound blob on one side. And a mirror on the other. All Scotch may be labeled, simply, “Booze” someday. All Bud, Genny, Michelob, Heineken, Coors, Corona and Yuengling will come in bottles marked “Beer.” Imprinted with photos of bellies and car crashes.
Gambling absolutely destroys families and individuals. People get hooked on casino betting, poker, lottery tickets, betting on football. To the point of ruination. I know. My father grew addicted to betting on horses. Spent every nickel in the family, plus all he could borrow. One night, he stopped. Two hours later he killed himself.
And yet, states advertise lottery tickets. With your tax money. They welcome casinos. They try to rescue horse tracks. Tracks which need rescuing because they have lost customers to casinos. Curious, isn’t it?
Back to the smokes. A lot of folks want to ban, absolutely, cigarettes. Yet many of them want to allow, absolutely, marijuana. Which, of course, is a bit of a turnabout. Our culture once worshiped cigarette smoking. In movies and TV shows. At that time the culture detested weed.
We have done the same turnabout with other products. Once we proudly displayed cigarettes in the store. Extra-length, flavored, charcoal-filtered. Winston tastes good. Be a Marlboro man, a rough rider on a horse. Meanwhile we hid the condoms under the counter.
Now we hide the cigarettes under the counter. While we build big displays of condoms. Ribbed, colored – including charcoal. Also extra-length, flavored, glow-in-the-dark. (In Australia that’s flavoured. And the glow-in-the-darks are so you can find them.) These days the slogan is “Trojans taste good, like a chocolate flavored condom should.” And among the offerings are rough-rider studded (Studded!) types. There’s one brand called Proper Attire. What would your grandmother think?
A few years back we sold candy cigarettes to kiddies. And we washed their mouths out if they said the word condom. Or rubber. Today we punish them for talking about cigarettes. And we hand out condoms to them in school.
And while we displayed cigarettes big time in stores, we wrapped sanitary napkins in brown paper. So that nobody could read the logos. Some stores actually hid them under the counter. Women had to mumble “I would like some…some…you know.” I knew. When I waited on them in my father’s grocery store, I knew. When supplies ran low I would tell Dad to order more You-Knows. Today, we advertise Tampons on TV. And we ban cigarettes from TV and wrap them in olive-green to hide the logos. A guy could get confused. “Gimme a pack of … you know.”
Just think what wonderful things are now evil to so many. Beef, dairy products, oil, wealth, success. These days the proud parents whisper “Well, he works in…ahem…business. Yes, and he actually built it himself. We don’t want that to get around, if you know what I mean. And don’t tell anyone that he eats non-organic food.”
As Cole Porter sang, in proper attire: The world has gone mad today, and good’s bad today, and black’s white today, and day’s night today…
And he wrote that a mere 78 years ago.
From Tom ... as in Morgan.
For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows and new TV shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.