The sign of a truly dedicated athlete is the smoke in his hand!
As you read this, I am not at work and I am somewhat uncomfortable. Today I am attempting to quit smoking.
Before I say anything else, let me give reassurance to those of you who want it. I’m not quitting because I’ve been told I must. I didn’t go to a doctor and hear him say, "Quit now or you’re going to die!" No, I’m quitting because I want to be a non-smoker. I’m tired of being slave to a weed.
I enjoy smoking, for the most part. That’s why it’s going to make me uncomfortable to quit. Cigarettes are my reward when I’ve accomplished something good, and they are my solace when something doesn’t go right. When I want to relax or take a break, cigarettes provide my excuse. A smoke is my aide when involved in strenuous mental activity (not a common occurrence within my head, as you know, but still...)
It's going to be hard to never again look like this...
I am deadly tired, though, of carrying cigarettes wherever I go, and planning ahead to make sure that I have enough cigarettes to last me through whatever I’m going to do. I’m sick of going to a sporting event, or a movie, or a concert, or some other place where smoking is not allowed, and intermittently ruining my enjoyment of the event by wondering how long I have to wait until it ends and I can have my next smoke. I hate going out to dinner - with friends or family who are unfailingly solicitous of my behavior, by the way – and sucking down a hurried last dose of nicotine before entering the restaurant, and then lighting up as soon as I get out the door afterwards (or, even worse, excusing myself from the table, between finishing my entrée and ordering dessert, in order to go out and suck on a cancer stick.)
Mostly, I want to quit because it has become more of a pain in the ass for me to continue than I would like it to be. For instance, MY WIFE and I have a vacation planned for October. We will be flying to Chicago, and staying a week. And you know what really sucks about airline travel, aside from everything else about airline travel? Not smoking. And it’s not just the inability to have a cigarette while on the flight. That I can generally deal with since it is a delineated period, supposedly beginning at a scheduled time and ending at a scheduled time (although we all know that isn’t always the case.) As long as I know I’m going to be sealed inside of a tin can for a certain length of time, I can usually make my peace with that. But, damn, ever since 9/11 there’s an indeterminate eon before the damn flight when you can’t smoke, too, since you have to get to the airport two hours earlier, to subject yourself to various scans and searches, and if you really feel the need to go outside and have a smoke, rather than sit like a lump in the airport waiting area for two hours, you have to subject yourself to searches all over again, and the security folks look at you as though you have personally insulted them each additional time you come through and I’m not interested in tempting them to do a strip search. Then, at the other end of the journey, no cigarettes until after you claim your baggage. And, believe me when I tell you, I’ve left my luggage at the mercy of thieves, more than once, by ducking outdoors to have a smoke before getting my bags. Anyway, big-time pain in the ass. And that’s the sort of thing that makes quitting a less-onerous pain in the ass, for me, now.
(Admitting that rankles me. That’s because there are a certain amount of do-gooder busybodies out there who have spent their puckered lives making folks like me more miserable in the hope that the misery inflicted by them would accumulate to a point where I would consider quitting less of a pain. If there’s one overwhelming reason for me to continue smoking, it’s to prove those sorts of assholes utterly and completely wrong, and if it took my contracting cancer and emphysema to do so, so be it.
OK, that’s idiotic, but it truly pisses me off that any interfering and overly-officious state-sponsored dickweed might take my quitting to mean that his persistence in tormenting me worked to modify my behavior. Fair warning: If anyone from the government takes credit for my quitting, I’ll mutilate him.)
Anyway, that’s what I’m doing today (and tomorrow, and over the weekend.) I’ll be back to work on Monday, and I’ll have kept a diary of my non-smoking experience. It should be chock full of invective, obscenities, and other fun things.
Soon, with that.
So handsome and sophisticated! Will you still recognize me?