Zoning Out

November 1946

Three doctors–two young, one old–all engaged in a demo of “a new method of using penicillin” because learning never ends. And that class of ’06 meant 1906, of course.

And what we hadn’t learned by the fall of 1946 was that Camel’s catchy T-zone slogan was not exactly accurate. But even if we had known the dangers of tobacco, how successful would it have been to ask veterans fresh off WWII to quit their habit?

Not very.

My whole life, cigarettes have been bad for you, and the T-Zone meant the zone of oily skin on your face, the one in the shape of a T.

A skincare T zone is really only a couple inches higher than Camel’s. And both of them are uppercase T’s. Otherwise, they would have looked more like the crucifix zone.


In 2019, we’re more concerned with different zones, like being friendzoned or saving the ozone layer. Where I live, the weatherman is always warning us of Ozone Action Days.


Those are the days we shouldn’t go outside for more than a few minutes, and not without a hat and long sleeves and SPF 100. And try to limit it to early morning! That’s why neighbors mow at 8am now. That’s why the neighborhood pools sit vacant every summer, and you never see kids playing outside at all. They’ll melt in seconds. In fact, summer is the worst time of year in Austin, and yet Californians move here daily. That’s why every highway is in a construction zone. That’s the T-zone for Texas, where all the pollutants and congestion sits. It never ends.


But the more, the merrier, right? With over 100 folks moving here a day, year after year, decade after decade, there are new people to meet and greet. Now all that’s left is to decide on a buffer zone.


For now, let’s keep everyone in the audience.



Light It Up, But Don’t Inhale

LIFE Century of Change
LIFE Century of Change–Gordon Tenney

Nope, this isn’t like Clinton denying that he ever inhaled. If you can believe it, these business execs were gathered at a meeting to encourage lighting up. It was 1963, the year before the surgeon general’s warning against smoking, and heck, even the president did it.


The cigar manufacturer, Stephano Brothers, taught lessons on how to enjoy a stogie without inhaling, a means of career advancement by sophisticated habit. Sounds like pretense.


Even Ronald Reagan knew the score.


Isn’t it odd how it refers to the “satisfying fragrance” of cigars? Pipe smoke, now that’s a horse of a different color. That smell makes me happy. Cigar smoke, not so much. However, these ladies didn’t seem to mind.


Ads That Almost Changed My Mind, Part II


If it’s toasted, it can’t be that bad.

And what about these couples from a 1929 Camel ad? Don’t they look cozy and warm in the amber glow of a Prohibition-era eatery? If I couldn’t drink, I’d be smoking, too. Enjoy your finery and walking sticks while you got ’em, folks. Nine months ’til Black Tuesday…