As I was driving home today I found myself daydreaming about smoking and how something that was so globally accepted is now an anomaly. At its peak in the 1960’s 40% of the population smoked! Today only 14% of the population smokes and those that do are relegated to smoke out of sight. I was raised by parents that smoked as well as many relatives and never did it occur to me as unusual. Smoking in the home, smoking in the car, smoking in restaurants, and everywhere else was considered normal now that long ago. The most uncomfortable memory I have is one where I was hospitalized, nine months pregnant, and the girl sharing the room with me was smoking as was the nearly 10 friends and family of hers in the room. They were full of excitement as she had literally just had the baby. Meanwhile, I was sitting behind a curtain breathing in the immense smoke in the room, alone, and suffocating. Seems unthinkable now to believe such a story.
This random thought then grew into the thought of the term “secondhand” and the bad rap the word gets based on being most affiliated with smoking. When thinking through other forms of secondhand I could think of another few affiliations that bring about a negative perception:
- Secondhand clothes can be trash or treasure. To the sibling that is getting the older sibling’s clothes; secondhand sucks. To the thrifty shopper at the Goodwill that finds secondhand clothes that still have tags, it is a treasure!
- Secondhand information can be dangerous. Rarely is this information given without alteration. Acting upon secondhand information frequently gets the orator in trouble.