The Marlboro Man

The Marlboro Man

by Jack Henslee 

Strong young bodies and curious minds
Reflect the memories of sweet sixteen
Life was forever, never thought as short
Trust came natural and heroes never lied.
Into this world came a man never seen
Rugged and handsome, an image of pride.
He offered new pleasures with an outstretched hand,
That was my first vision of the Marlboro Man.

For one brief moment I felt deceived
As the aromatic smoke seared my lungs with pain
Try again, my friends all laughed
Don’t be afraid of the joy you’ll receive.
My head was spinning, I couldn’t focus my brain
But I sure looked cool with that butt in my hand.
It can’t be bad, everyone does it
And no one’s more healthy than the Marlboro Man. 

So much has changed since those early years
Of flip top boxes and macho men.
From a pack a day, then two, sometimes four
I’d cough every morning and fight back the tears,
While lighting another and whistling a hymn.
Yet across the screen rides that symbol so strong,
With millions of followers across the land.
This can’t be the legacy of the Marlboro Man  

The addiction was sweet when I could still breathe
But the days grew numbered as my voice got hoarse.
Sure I was living, but this wasn’t life
Stairs were like mountains, or an obstacle course.
Twenty years of smoking before I would lose
That voice so dear, to the surgeons knife.
The decision was mine, of that there’s no doubt
But the price was never mentioned by the Marlboro Man.

Today I can preach, but you probably won’t listen
To my stories of grief, and lives lost for no reason.
To smoke is a gamble and the odds aren’t too good
For the only way to win is not to die.
The trap is clearly for the innocent and young
Who believe in tomorrow as we all should
But resist the temptation, I know you can
After all, look what happened to the Marlboro Man.