Beetle Bailey’s former smoker, Private Rocky, evokes my late sister’s memory

Back on May 12th, 2016, a Beetle Bailey comic strip appeared in the daily St. Louis Post-Dispatch that caught my eye and I added it to the newspaper pile on my office floor. That’s where it stayed until I recently did some office cleaning. The strip featured Private Rocky, described on-line as follows:

Camp Swampy’s long-haired, disgruntled social dissident; a former biker gang member and rebel-without-a-clue, introduced to the “BEETLE BAILEY” comic strip in 1958. This dude probably got into the US Army via a court order, where he was told, “Join up, or go to prison!” Definitely, he was a malcontent from “the wrong side of the tracks.” 

beetlebailey-rocky-smoking-cartoon

Beetle Bailey – By Mort and Greg Walker, St. Louis Post-Dispatch 5-12-2016

In this particular strip, Rocky is reminiscing from the days before he quit smoking and in the strip it’s funny. But it reminded me of a very unpleasant personal encounter with a cigar smoker after I had asked him to quit smoking in an airport area signed “No Smoking.”  Ironically, at the time I was flying to see my non-smoking sister living in England dying of lung cancer.

The above strip has awakened my memory of that devastating personal event, since I loved and revered my sister and only sibling enormously. Afterwards I wrote a personal account of the event, thinking I might submit it for publication, but I never did. I’ve lost the original computer file but below is a copy of the printed version for anyone interested. (And my apologies in advance for the five page length.)

lung-ca-statistics-be-damned-1988lung-ca-statistics-be-damned-1988_2alung-ca-statistics-be-damned-1988_3lung-ca-statistics-be-damned-1988_4lung-ca-statistics-be-damned-1988_5

One response to “Beetle Bailey’s former smoker, Private Rocky, evokes my late sister’s memory

  1. Martin, Your sisters ‘ story brought tears to my eyes even after all of these years.

    Our strong efforts to stop indoor smoking is a tribute to your sister’s memory. You have saved lives through your efforts. You are a good man.

    mogasp reply: Hans, you’re a staunch mogasp supporter and great friend, and your comment means a lot to me. Thank you!

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