Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Time To Quit

I guess that Bizarro© cartoon I placed on this morning’s Splash du Jour© has gotten me thinking about it.
Smoking, I mean.
It’s been a real long time since I have had a cigarette.
Over 22 years.
In fact, my last cigarette was inhaled on November 26th, 1984.
For some reason I had slept on the couch that night, and when I awoke the next morning I reached for a cigarette, but I was all out.
And I instantly said to myself, “I’m not buying any more.”
Admittedly, the night before, when I had noticed that I was down to my last ciggy, I said to myself, “Time to quit.” I verbalized a resolution there. But I had no idea I would follow through so determinedly.
That afternoon [the 27th of November] I went to Smitty’s© Restaurant with a friend. A smoker. Was I tempted to light up?

Strangely, not.
And then, when my friend Gord arrived a bit later [Smitty’s was our hangout], he sat at the table next to me, an eye-high partition between us.
Soon, he looked over and asked me for a cigarette, and I told him I had quit.
He laughed.

And then he got up from his seat, went to the vending machine, and purchased a pack.
That he may tempt me, thereby. Test my mettle!
Back at his table, he took one out of his freshly unwrapped pack and tossed it to me, over the wall.
I will never forget how that cigarette rolled, oh so delightfully across my own table, as though nudged along by Satan himself! At the time I would not have been surprised if that cigarette, fueled as it was by Gord’s well-intentioned yet cancerous desires to kill me, would have rolled its way right up my chest and into my mouth, somehow igniting itself along the way!
But I picked it up before it could do any of that, and reaching over the partition, handed it back to Gord, and said,
“Thanks. But, I quit!”

And I have not had one since.
Somehow, I have survived.
My story of quitting so “cold turkeyish” is unusual [uncommon], I know.
I had tried to quit several times [every New Year?] for many many New Years, and could never follow through. Could never do it.
Somehow this time, something clicked.

Dear Hopelessly-Addicted Puddle-Reader, if you smoke, I don’t want to lay a heavy on you, but I do want to encourage you.
Please quit!
Just try it. Try quitting. One more time.

In January of 2007, I flew to Mexico.

Not one person smoked a cigarette during that long flight, from frigidly cold Ottawa to beautifully warm Puerto Vallarta. Of course, smoking’s not allowed!
However, when we landed, HAI CARAMBA!
It was like a small brush fire around the tour buses waiting to take us to our respective resorts. I had to go back INTO the airport terminal for some fresh air!
EVERYONE was smoking outside. Like walking chimneys!
And I remember thinking, “How did you people survive that flight? Shouldn’t it be at least some sort of sign, telling you that you can actually live without filling yourself up with smoke?”

I am well aware that nicotine is powerful. It’s a powerful drug.
But maybe if you could just imagine that you are on a really long airplane ride?
Would that help?
OK, how about this one…. Imagine that you are on a really long airplane ride, and that if you continue to not smoke when it lands, you will SAVE A LOT OF MONEY, and BE MORE HEALTHY and also LIVE WAY LONGER?

Ahhh…. but I said I would not be heavy…..!



Merisi said...

So well said, Cip!
My heart sinks and fills with dread, every time I see one of my brothers smoke. One has stopped, and I am overjoyed. I pray for the others.
It was my dad, who saved me from ever starting to smoke, he impressed on me the reality of how difficult it is to cease smoking, a difficulty he fought with over and over til his 50th birthday. Then he finally managed to quit. Still, throat cancer killed him only ten years later. It says much about the vicious nature of nicotin addiction, that a person so sensitive, if not to say clairvoynt about healthful living long before it become fashionable talking about it, who taught me to eat my organic vegetables (fruits of one of his hobbies, gardening), avoid cured meats and fried foods and Coke, got killed by it.
“Time to quit”, yes, dear smoker who's reading this, if you cannot do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones.

stefanie said...

Good for you Cip fro staying smoke free so long. My dad smoked when I was a kid until I was about 8. I absolutely hated it. When we had science and health in school and learned about smoking and how bad it was I took home pamphlets from the American Lung Association to my dad to then proceeded to tell him he was going to get cancer if he didn't stop. He quit about a year later, cold turkey on a fishing trip and hasn't smoked since. Meanwhile a few years ago my aunt, a heavy smoker for most of her life, managed to quit but it was too late and she died of lung cancer. Here in MN the a state law was recently passed that bans smoking in all bars and restaurants. How nice it is to be able to go out, breath clean air and not come home smelling of other people's cigarettes!