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.” 


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.)


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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