Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Depressing the new press man

A STRANGE MEMORY LINK HAPPENED TODAY involving smoking, and the former secretary general of the United Nations Kofi Annan, and one of the most painful moments of my teen years.
Back in my cadet/junior reporter days, smoking was the badge of a real man, as Hollywood – the big screen - showed.
If what I saw on a cinema screen could be adapted to 18-year-old me, it certainly was.
Clothes, hair-style, the way we reporter's talked (as Hollywood dictated), and as much as any of it, smoking.
As a young man, Kofi Annan witnessed smoking embarrassment when an employee entered the office of his very strict father.


The worker was smoking. Seeing the employer’s expression, the clerk tried to hide his cigarette in a pocket … and his trousers began smouldering.
In my encounter with a generation clash over young men smoking, this madly keen young reporter stood in his new boss’s office.
What should a reporter wear, how should he act? Back then, Hollywood set the standards.
I must wear a suit, with the shirt collar undone and the knot of the tie down a few inches, just like in the movies.
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at


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