We’ve heard some wild stories about the great Willie Nelson over the years.
From his (alleged) 9-hour sex marathon, to the true story of how he got his nickname “Shotgun Willie,” to the time his ex-wife tied him up and beat him with a broom, he’s lived a true outlaw life that you usually only read about in books.
While, sure, some of the stories might’ve been embellished slightly or may not be completely and 100% true, they’re believable because that’s who Willie is and why he became an American icon.
But in his 2012 book, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, Willie admitted that he was “barely out of kindergarten” when he started smoking and drinking:
“I had started drinking and smoking by the time I was six years old, so if that was true, I’ve been hell-bound since I was barely out of kindergarten!”
It prompted his next-door neighbor to warn him that he better be careful with the habits he picked up, because it could lead to eternal misery:
“She told me when I was about six-years-old that anyone who drank beer or smoked cigarettes — anyone who used alcohol or tobacco, really — was going to hell.
She really believed that, and for a while I did, too.”
It didn’t take him long to figure out that wasn’t really the case.
And to support his early habits, since he couldn’t go out and get a job to pay for any of it, he would trade the eggs his family had for a pack of cigarettes:
“I would take a dozen eggs from our chicken, walk to the grocery store, and trade the dozen eggs for a pack of Camel cigarettes. I liked the little camel on the package… after all, I was only six.
They were marketing directly to me!”
I mean, he was clearly way too young to be doing any of that, but he’s always been a hell of a businessman it sounds like.
As he got older, he decided to stop smoking altogether, including cigarettes and marijuana, because of health problems and breathing issues. He also noted that many of his closest family members, including his mother, father, stepmother and stepfather, all died after complications from cigarettes.
He even noted that he loved the packaging of the cigarette cartons, saying that “they were marketing directly to me!”
Willie admitted that part of his addiction was just having something to light up and smoke. So naturally, he “rolled up twenty joints [and] replaced the twenty Chesterfields” in his pack of cigarettes, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Though he also said quitting them was extremely difficult, it’s also one of the best decisions he ever made.
Back in 2019, a flurry of press reports came out saying that he had quite smoking weed, and while technically true, he still enjoys his Willie’s Reserve cannabis in other ways.
I mean, I think this one about sums it all up…
“Roll me up and smoke me when I die And if anyone don’t like it, just look ’em in the eye I didn’t come here, and I ain’t leavin’ So don’t sit around and cry Just roll me up and smoke me when I die.”