Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Quitting smoking is easy. I know. I've done it nine times. Of course I had to start back smoking eight times to get to the ninth, which finally took. I've been smokeless now for thirty years. Still, occasionally, when I smell cigarette smoke, especially outdoors, I'm tempted to find a cigarette and light up. I haven't...yet. I try to stay vigilant. I already know that I'm easily seduced by a life seen through a haze of smoke.
The first time I quit was when I went to Air Force basic training in the Seventies. I threw out my Pall Malls and bought a pack of nicotine chewing gum at the airport before I got on the bus to Lackland Air Force Base. I figured the gum would give me the edge I needed. That's what the ads said, anyway. I had the gum in my locker for our first inspection as basic recruits. The drill sergeant doing the inspection saw the gum and decided to make an issue. He picked it up and turned to me.
You trying to quit?” he asked.
Yes, Sir.”
He got right in my face at that point, so that our noses were almost touching.
Then just $@#&%!? quit, Dumbass.”
He took my gum, and I just $@#&%!? quit. It turned out to be pretty good advice, even though it only lasted for six months or so. Every time I quit after that, including the last time when quitting finally took, I did it without any chemical assistance.
The second last time I quit, I used the buddy system with my friend, Trish. We both quit the same night and vowed to be each other's support system. The idea was to be on call 24/7 to talk each other out of smoking.
Now Trish was kind of a beauty. She was also a trust fund child, and not much use to herself or anyone else. She had the haircut of a sixty year old woman and the mind of a six year old girl. She was spoiled rotten. She use to pay me $80 a month to balance her checkbook because she couldn't focus on one thing long enough to do it herself. Among all her friends, I was the only one who knew how much she spent on therapy every week. The eighty bucks paid for my cigarette habit.
This plan was doomed from the start. Trish lasted about nine hours. She went by a convenience store and bought a pack of cigarettes the next morning. The only testament to her resolve was that she didn't open the cigarettes until she got to my place. She didn't come over to get herself talked out of smoking. She came over looking for affirmation of her smoking. I helped her smoke that pack of cigarettes. I'm not proud. We all have our weaknesses. Like I said, Trish was kind of a beauty.
The last time I quit, the time that quitting worked for me, I quit with my step-son. He was six at the time. He wanted to quit sucking his thumb. I wanted to quit smoking for his mama's sake. She is allergic to cigarette smoke, and since she was and remains the love of my life, it seemed prudent to give up the Kools that had become my preferred brand.
We made a pact and went cold turkey one fine and sunny morning. I haven't had a cigarette since, nor has my step-son sucked his thumb. He does smoke though. He's tried to quit multiple times. Maybe one day he'll find a way that works for him. I hope so. Meanwhile, every so often, when I really, really think I'd like to smoke a cigarette, I will suck my thumb instead.


  1. its really hard to quit
    i quit for three years picked up one and didnt look back crazy how easy it is to slip back into it

  2. I know. Almost every time I quit I convinced myself that I was over it and could smoke just one. Then after I'd smoked a pack of someone else's I'd have to buy a pack to pay them back. Then I'd tell myself as long as I'm buying a pack I might as well buy my own brand. After that little mental exercise I'd be smoking more than I was before I quit.

  3. Yay for you! I feel more strongly about smoking than most, as I work part-time for M.D. Anderson Cancer Center down in Houston at different times during the year. The thumb? Harmless!

  4. I love the description of Trish. Hilarious. I feel like I know her. This whole thing is very funny. Glad I found you. I'll be back for more.

  5. Just found your blog, courtesy of Studio 30+. Read your latest two posts and enjoyed myself. THANKS. Will definitely be back to read your archives (and your new posts) as time permits. Glad to see you aren't doing these daily or I'll never catch up. :)

    And oh, I also managed to kick my pack-a-day quarter of a century habit, but I used a gum/patch system I kludged together. Smoke-free? Yeah. Still addicted? Heck, yeah -- just learned not to smoke. Pretty much explains why the most militant anti-smokers are ex-smokers... addicts every one, whether they'll admit to it or not.

    Toodles. -eldon

  6. Thanks, Christina. I have a lot of 'Trish the Dish' stories. This is the first one I've put up on the blog. Vapid and self-absorbed as she could be, she actually was a pretty good friend. Thankfully we never dated. I'm sure that would have been a disaster.

  7. Thanks for the read and comment, Eldon. Glad you enjoyed yourself here. I try to only put up engaging content, so if I don't have anything to say, I usually won't say it. Not a 'norm' I've noticed.

  8. Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Jonah, and so true. I guess that's just part of the Google effect -- I know they didn't cause it, but they sure have done a heck of a job defining how the Web works.

    On the flip side, I like to think that the reason my blog has no readers is because of my sporadic, inconsistent posting schedule, and not because my stuff sucks. :)

  9. Hi, Eldon

    I visited Braintropolis and left a comment on you 1% post. Seems like we have a lot of stuff in common (99th percentile and not smiling for starters, although my reasons are not so dramatic as yours) Anyway I just wanted to assure you that your stuff does not suck, and encourage any readers of mine who enjoy drawing larger conclusions from the personal experiences of 1 percenters to give you a read.

  10. I got my first electronic cigarette kit at VaporFi, and I think its the best kit.


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