It took me until about age 14 before my size caught up to my classmates. Whether this was the reason my nicknames as a child included “The Little Kid” and “Small Fry”, I don’t really know.
What I do know is I was a bit of a bookworm and recluse. So when my Mom and Dad discovered that I was learning how to smoke at age five from my older, more experienced seven-year-old friend, they were a bit shocked.
Patty and I were cautious. One day we would sneak and split a smoke from Mom’s pack, the next day her mother’s, the following day my Dad’s, then her father’s and rotate it. I’m not sure how many successful rotations we managed, however, I do know that hidden in the bushes down by the Ottawa River, I was learning to inhale. Patty showed the way.
Then came that fateful day when Mom busted me. She plunked me into the big red velvety chair, lit up one of Dad’s big fat cigars and gave it to me. My Dad came in from work to discover me coughing, sputtering and green. Furious, he challenged Mom on the tactic. She asked me, “Small Fry, what do you think of that?” confident of her cure.
I quietly responded, determined to demonstrate my resolve, “Not bad but I do like the cigarettes better.”
Nonetheless, the only other cigarette I smoked in my life was in Grade Seven but that’s a story for another day.
Today, I want to share Fleischer’s cartoon “Small Fry” released in 1939 that speaks to me. Enjoy it and I think you’ll see why.