This week’s song is a bit tricky to explain… So let me try to explain the inspiration behind it, maybe that makes more sense. All along I promised myself not to preach to you guys, except about the music business stuff of course 😉 So I’ll try to just stick to the facts here. There was a wonderful anti smoking campaign in Ireland in the past year, where Gerry Collins after being diagnosed with throat cancer with his family shared his story. The story touched me a lot and inspired me to write this song. But Gerry’s story is his story and you can check it out HERE. Gerry Collins and the family did something very brave by telling the story. So I don’t want to be writing his story, it is not my place to be doing that. He did it better than anybody else. He did it so well, that the song just fell out of me after watching the short film.
So instead, I thought I’ll share with you a story of the day I started and stopped smoking. Many are going to be horrified about this story and how irresponsible my father was, but if you read the full story you’ll understand why I am almost thankful for what he did.I was four years of age. My father was a long haul truck driver. We were on a ferry from Helsinki to Gdansk. In my eyes we were taking our first steps on a great adventure. We would be on the road for two weeks. Just me and my dad driving this great big truck. He was my hero. Anyway, the ferry sails of the Helsinki harbour and makes its way south across the Baltic sea. The trip took two nights back in those days. We were sitting in the truck drivers’ table in the dining room on the ship, which even back in those days my mom would call a rust bucket. My dad was a smoker, a heavy one back in those days. There was a packet of cigarettes on the table and I was playing with them. At some stage I proceeded to put one in my mouth and pretended to be my father. A fellow truck driver asked my dad could he light the cigarette and see what would happen. Oddly enough my dad said, go ahead and I started to puff on my very first cigarette at four years of age… I puffed away about one-fourth of the cigarette and dumped it in the ashtray. It did not taste good, I wanted a packet of red North Star, the same brand my dad smoked. So my dad got up and asked the other truck drivers to watch over me for a minute, as he headed to the ship’s shop. If you thought my father’s parenting skills were about to get any better, you would be mistaken. He could not find North Red, so what he brought me was a box of Hofnar Lilliput cigars… Hey they came in a metal box and they had a joker on the cover, surely they were for kids… So I proceeded to smoke them. I’d only get through about one-fourth and then put them in the ashtray. I can’t really remember all the details, but I would guessed my dad would have finished them. I went through most of the box, puffing away happily. The truck drivers had their beers and I felt like a big boy.
Once you get past the islands outside Helsinki you are on open sea. The Baltic sea is no ocean, but it can get very rough from time to time. We had a cabin with four bunk beds. I can’t remember much of the night… Except the fact that I did not feel well… In all fairness, when I was a kid, I suffered from sea sickness a bit, but I think that was only a small part of it. The next morning I woke up on the floor with my dad. He had made a bed for us there after I had got sick on all four of the bunk beds. It was a night I will not forget, that’s for sure. A Few days later we made a deal with my dad that we would not tell my mother about what happened… I’m not sure which one of us was more scared of the consequences 😀 But hey I was four years old… Two weeks later we got home walked in from the door and I ran to my mom shouting “Mommy Mommy, dad forced me to smoke!”
But here’s the strange thing. Something happened that night. Throughout my teenage years when most of us start to smoke, it never appealed to me. I never saw it as something cool… In fact the only thing I could see was a pool of brown vomit… Was my father irresponsible? Sure! Would this one night kill me? Well… 35 years later, not so far anyway. I think the passive smoke I was exposed to while my dad smoked was actually much more irresponsible, but those were different times…
So there you go, this weeks song “Daddy’s Girl” is a subtle reminder of the fact that if you do smoke, the consequences might affect not just you, but your loved ones as well. Please share this post, it is an important one.
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get two of his free songs go HERE and click Download