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A BOY WHO MATTERED by Marshall Frank

Announcing the release of my non-fiction book, “A Boy Who Mattered,” Independently published by Frankly Speaking Enterprises through Amazon (KDP).

     In January of this year, my son, Bennett A. Frank, died at the age 58 of from a mixed overdose of three powerful drugs. He had lived a floundering life in and out of dependency, yet he was loved by many including his son, daughter, brother and father. He wasn’t a bad person. He was, simply, a diehard drug addict with a weak constitution.

     While I certainly grieved, like millions before me, I thought it would be worthwhile to share the story of this complicated life with others who are either suffering from powerful addiction, or are emotionally and physically tied to a sufferer. I hope there is something significant that can be learned from Bennett’s struggle by turning a negative into a positive, imparting the highs and lows, struggles and mistakes along the way.  The book is for those who suffer from the disease of addiction, or – equally important — for others in the arena including loved ones, family and friends who struggle as they hopelessly watch a human deteriorate day by day.

     The following paragraph is the

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QUIT SMOKING-ONE MAN’S STORY.

Today, January 14, 2019, is the 36th anniversary of my birth…or should I say, rebirth.  Truth be told, in 1983 it was the date that I stopped smoking cigarettes, forever. Had I not, I would have been long dead by now, and a horrible death at that.

     A year or so prior to then, a doctor-friend shared a diagnosis with me that I had the early stages of emphysema which, in today’s jargon, we call COPD.  I’ll not forget his words. “Marshall, I would rather treat an advanced case of cancer anytime, than a patient dying of emphysema. There is very little I can do to alleviate the suffering.”

     This would be no easy task for a four-pack a day addict like me. Like many folks of the early era, I started in 1955 at age 16 mainly to fit in with friends. It was cool. It was in. Movie stars on and off screen, all smoked. So did famous recording artists. Physicians could be seen on billboard ads recommending Camels or Lucky Strikes. In the 1950s and 60s you were not cool if you didn’t smoke.

     But time marched on. Literature was coming out just how

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GEORGE REINCKE – A BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE

I first met George Gilbert Reincke in 1955, North Miami Beach, Florida. He was 16, I was 15. We were unlikely friends. George was tall and gangly, very serious minded, a natural car mechanic and an expert for his age in following the stock market. He learned that from his father. And, he was a conscientious student.

I was none of those things.

I couldn’t tell the difference between an inner tube and a spark plug, and I thought a stock market is where lots of food and beverages lined the aisles of grocery stores. I didn’t even have a father, he died when I was a baby. I liked baseball and playing the violin, neither of which interested George.

But we hit it off for some reason. He did have a gross sense of humor and a roaring laugh. He laughed when I made jokes and funny faces, or made fun of stupid people. He forever egged me on for more jokes. And he happily adapted to his new nickname: Rinky Dink.

He was funny also, though not because he tried. Simple little flubs turned into uproarious laughter. The laughter itself was contagious. Sometimes, we and our friend, Jim

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DESPITE MISCONCEPTIONS, MARIJUANA STILL HARMFUL

(This article by yours truly, appears in Florida Today Op-Ed page this date.)

Remember when cigarettes were the “in” thing? Teenagers like myself joined millions of kids aiming to be “cool.” Boys carried packs of Lucky Strikes in their t-shirt sleeve. Girls smoked daintily. My mother smoked Kents with the micronite filter because they were “healthier.” She died of cancer at age 55.

Throughout the 1930s to the 1990s, in nearly every scene, movie characters were filmed and photographed with cigarettes dangling from their fingers and lips. Images and billboard ads depicted Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart and scores of other stars glorifying cigarettes as a tool for sexiness. Some medical doctors prostituted themselves by promoting the use of nicotine. Magazine ads were common, many portraying physicians holding a cigarettes saying, “More doctors smoke camels than any other cigarette.”

For nearly a century, no one listened to nay-sayers trying to convince us how nicotine was bad for our health, that it was addictive and potentially lethal. We didn’t listen. We didn’t believe nicotine was addictive. Meanwhile, cigarette companies exploded with profits as they enhanced the content of nicotine. Politicians were barraged with warnings and data, but that didn’t matter so long

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WE’VE TAKEN EQUALITY TOO FAR

(This Op-Ed by yours truly appeared in the June 9 issue of Florida Today)

 

Some folks might call me a bigot, or some other neo-expletive, but I feel we’ve carried this “equality” thing a little too far.

Most of us ascribe to the question, “Why fix something if it’s not broken?” Yet the loudest voices within minority groups have managed to create fixes that were not needed to begin with, all in the name of “diversity” and the pandering for bloc votes.

The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, consisting of 2.3 million and 1.8 million members respectively, are wonderful organizations that have thrived for over 100 years. They teach harmony, unity, survival skills and more. Now, the “diversity police” have altered a fully successful program by merging girls into the Boy Scouts.

Perhaps gender-neutral scouts should all be issued bras and jock straps, equally, so as not to discriminate against one sex or the other. Yes, that’s dumb. So is breaking down organizations that work well.

Then there is the discussion about public restrooms. According to a study issued by Pew Research, 3.8 percent of Americans identify as gay, lesbian or bi-sexual. Of that, 0.6 percent identify

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SUICIDES KILL MORE THAN HOMICIDES

(This Op-Ed by yours truly was published in Florida Today, Monday, May 14, 2018.)

Most folks do not realize that homicide detectives spend more than half their time on the job investigating suicides, accidental deaths and even unexplained natural deaths, not just murder cases. That’s because any of those could be a homicide in disguise.

Sometimes, it hits home. As a Miami-Dade County homicide supervisor in the 1970s, I was routinely reviewing a stack of reports when I came across a suicide case where a 65-year-old man shot himself in the head and left a note: “I don’t want to suffer the cancer.” His name was Joe Strauss. My stepfather’s brother, he was “Uncle” Joe to me.

On another occasion, I visited the morgue to consult with the medical examiner, a frequent occurrence. As I passed by the array of bodies wearing nothing but toe-tags, I noticed a small person lying with a bullet hole in her temple. I gasped. I knew this girl, my wife’s niece, age 11. Alone in the house, she found her dad’s pistol, lay on the bed and elected to die.

Nationally, suicides comprise more than double the number of homicides, 44,965 compared to

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MARIJUANA VERSUS NICOTINE: MYTHS AND REALITIES

I am a recovering drug addict. My drug of choice: Nicotine.

     On January 14, I celebrated my 35th anniversary of freedom from the chains of tobacco misery, smoking four packs of Pall Mall’s every day. I smoked constantly and everywhere, in the office, in elevators, movie theaters and yes, even in the shower with a burning butt on the edge of the commode. Every morning I suffered twenty minutes of wretched coughing jags, only to light up after.

     Nicotine is one of the most addictive and destructive drugs in history. For decades, American culture glorified cigarettes as though part of a sophisticated dress code. It was cool. Practically every movie depicted stars puffing on cigarettes; doctors and celebrities received handsome rewards for endorsing the drug; cigarette companies contributed to political parties while they deliberately enhanced the potency of tobacco to keep people hooked.

     My mother smoked Kents with the “micronite” filter, falling for the propaganda they were healthier than unfiltered. She died of cancer, 1966.

     It was all a lie. It was all about money. Cigarettes represented a multi-billion dollar industry. Naysayers and scientists who tried to tell the truth, who tried to warn, were ignored. They were bad

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