Death in the Family

john garfield
John Garfield

My wife's first cousin Sonia died last week, not quite 60 years old after battling cancer. Sonia worked for much of her life in her father's bar and although she never smoked herself, she breathed others' smoke. I suppose Sonia will be classified as a non-smoker who died of lung cancer although that would not be quite accurate.

I am opposed to the government passing laws to protect idiots who want to injure themselves. That is, if you want to smoke it should be legal, just not around other people. New Jersey's ban on smoking in bars and restaurants was the subject of post number 3 of this blog. If your smoke didn't impact my health directly I wouldn't care less.

I have a similar attitude regarding seat belts. I would be opposed to the seat belt law, you want to die go die, except for one thing. Usually the idiot who is not seat-belted dies because he gets thrown in front of another car and gets run over. I do not want your carcass flying in front of me and endangering my life, thank you.

Same goes for drunk driving. If you could guarantee me that you would only injure yourself and your own property, then go drive and drink all you want, otherwise I am sorry, the government and society have a right to tell you that it's a criminal offense. But steering a play toy vehicle while drunk in your own home where you cannot injure anyone is still legal. The same goes for marijuana and other drugs. If you don't hurt anyone else go at it my friend. Most people do not realize that heroin is less harmful to your body than cigarettes are.

me at 19
Me at 19
Sadly, New Jersey's ban on smoking in public places came too late for Sonia.

Except for my wife's relatives, which she has plenty of, and my own mother and father, I have been to the funeral of only one other relative of mine, ever, back in 1952 when I was seven years old: My uncle Jacob Julius Garfinkle who you may know as the actor John Garfield. In my entire life I have only met two other relatives on my father's side, a grand-aunt in Paris and a distant cousin in Jerusalem who put me up for a short while when I first came to study in Israel.

When I was younger (age 19) I was told I had some resemblance to my uncle.

Here are some modern day celebrities that have some resemblance to my photo from 1964:

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