I watched the last half or so of Thank You for Smoking with my son, who’s probably about the same age as the lead character’s son. Toward the end, the lead, Nick Naylor, who lobbies on behalf of Big Tobacco, is being questioned at a senate hearing. He speaks strongly about parental responsibility when it comes to educating kids about the dangers of tobacco; and he says that when his son turns 18, if the son wants to smoke, he (Nick) will buy his son his first pack of cigarettes.
My immediate reaction to that statement was general disgust (although, judging from Nick’s face when he left the hearing room, he may not have been entirely truthful when he said it). How could any parent buy their child cigarettes, even if the child had become an adult?
But then I remembered a promise I’ve made my daughter (and will also extend to my son, should he wish): When she turns 18, if she wants a tattoo (and as of now, she does), I’ll go with her to the tattoo parlor, and I’ll probably get one along with her.
I have the feeling that, for reasons I don’t understand, there are many parents out there who’d prefer to see their kids hooked on nicotine than decorated with permanent ink. And yet,
A 2006 a study done by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that 24% of Americans between 18 and 50 are tattooed; that’s almost one in four. And the survey showed that about 36% of Americans age 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo!
By the time my kids are my age, the non-tattooed are likely to be in a minority. I wonder what my grandchildren will have to do, to be considered daring?