Friday, August 07, 2009

Thank You For Smoking by Christopher Buckley (Harper Perennial 1994)

The Captain snorted into his snifter. "You know, your generation of tobacco men - and women, I'm always forgetting to add 'and women' - think they have it harder than any generation who came before. You think it all began in nineteen fifty-two. Well, puh!"
"It's been going on for almost five hundred years. Does the name Rodrigo de Jerez mean anything to you?" Nick shook his head. "No, I suppose it doesn't. I suppose they don't teach history in the schools anymore, just attitude. Well, for your information, sir, Rodrigo de Jerez went ashore with Christopher Columbus. And he watched the natives 'drink smoke', as he put it, with their pipes. He brought tobacco back to the Old World with him. Sang its praises high to the frescoed ceilings. Do you know what happened to him? The Spanish Inquisition put him in jail for it. They said it was a 'devilish habit'. You think you have it bad having to deal with the Federal Tobacco Commission? How would you like to have to state your case before the Spanish Inquisition?"
"Well . . . ."
"You bet you would not. Remember that name, Rodrigo de Jerez. You're walking in his footsteps. He was the first tobacco spokesman.. I sppose he, too, found it 'challenging.'"
"Uh . . . "

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