It was early April 2005. I had just been canned from my newspaper job in southwest Minnesota and was heading to the ShopKo store in my hometown to pick up an ink cartridge for my computer printer now that I was gonna need to print off a bunch of resumes in search of a new job. I pulled into a parking stall and as I looked towards the front of the store, I was amazed to observe a couple very young teenage girls who from a distance certainly looked as though they were smoking. As I got closer, it became increasingly clear that my eyes were not playing tricks on me, and the girls looked no older than 14. The first girl was a decently attractive brunette who would have been impressive enough on her own, but the second girl completely upstaged her….an adorable long-haired blond who was the absolute picture of middle school innocence.
By 2005, public sightings of girls this young smoking had become incredibly rare, and I was stumbling right into a classic. As I was approaching the front of the store, an SUV pulled up and stopped in front of the girls. I looked behind the wheel to see a balding, stereotypical middle-aged father figure driving, and even though I didn’t see her, it looked like mom was in the passenger seat. The rear door of the SUV was opened by the brunette girl and I could hear her lipping off to the parents. I didn’t get the context of it but got the sense she was showing off for her friend and generally being a bratty 14-year-old. The blond cutie was grinning, having apparently overheard the other girl’s comments, and hovered behind the SUV while taking a final quickie drag from her cigarette before tossing the two-thirds smoked butt into a small snowbank next to the curb and then got inside the SUV with the friend. All evidence suggested the parents were not smokers, and as I watched the SUV pull away, I couldn’t help get off on how stinky the two girls must have been after climbing inside.
As I walked by, I looked at the still-smoldering Marlboro Red laying in the snow. This sighting definitely helped take the sting off of paying $40 for an ink cartridge for my printer a few minutes later.