Monday, December 17, 2007

Quit It, Woudja?

My name is (fill in your name here,) and I'm a Smoker. (Room replies, "Hello, [your name.]" I hate smoking. It sucks. It sucks the life out of me and my penis. It sucks money out of my wallet. It sucks the scent of Fresh Linen out of my closet. It sucks the new car smell out of my new car. It just plain sucks.

But I can't stop.

My mother died of cancer. My brother has prostate cancer. I will likely have cancer because a) I smoke and b) I worked in the plastics industry for 25 years. By smoking, I increase my risk from "possibly" to "yeah, unh-huh, gonna die a horrible, painful death."

But I can't f*cking stop.

I've tried drugs. Wellbutrin, Almost made me lose my mind - no, wait, it DID make me lose my mind. But I quit. For three days. Three days out of thirty-plus years of smoking.

Cigarettes make me gag. I smoke them anyway. Or, do they smoke me? Yeah, that's it. They are smoking me the way an anti-hero in Miami Vice would smoke a good guy.

A highly-neurotic artist friend of mine says that it's because I hate myself but that I'm in too much denial to actually commit suicide directly. So, I punish myself. Could be. Or it could be that she's barking mad.

It could be that I'm lazy. Each pack is my last, but the timing is never right. Just one more, just one more. Pitiful, actually. Could be that it's part of my "rebel" and "punk" personality. Could be that I'm just a hopeless addict.

My barking-mad artist friend says that everyone has an addicition. I say she has an addiction to sweeping platitudes and generalisations, and to pop psychiatry. F*ck that. How do I quit?

Last year, I joined a local QuitNet campaign. They sent me annoying e-mails that MADE ME WANT TO SMOKE. Now, I work with Germans who are avid smokers. WTF? A friend of a friend just had quad bypass surgery and has been a heavy, Lucky Strike-type smoker for more years than he could remember. A woman I work with, who's had three rounds of chemo, no hair, lost 200 pounds over 18 months (she's looking good for a cancer patient) and a f*cking bone marrow transplant actually says her doctor thinks it's okay for her to smoke 5-6 cigarettes a day rather than endure the stress of quitting. Sound like the good ol' Doc isn't giving you the whole story, babe. Anyway, all of this should make me want to quit even more.

I had a doctor, a cardiologist, when I was in my early 20's. He would examine me and then take me into his office to let me know that my X-rays were okay - for now. I should probably quit smoking, though. On his desk were three or four packs of Pall Malls, some open, and one crumpled pack in an ashtray heaped with butts. You should talk, I thought. The next time I called to make an appointment for an annual check-up, he was dead. Well, duh! I guess he couldn't quit either.

So: I'm at the cusp of a New Year. My mother has taken The Long Vacation, courtesy of the Big C. I think I should get my act together and crumple up my last pack of Mavericks when that last butt is done.

Nah. What then would I have to write about this time next year?