February 13, 2007
Hazardous to Your Health

While the site was down, I discovered that acquaintenances of mine -- well, one colleague, anyway -- have been checking back to see if I've still successfully managed to quit smoking. If that's what you're here for, Gentle Reader, then thank you for your interest and I'm pleased to inform you that after six weeks, I haven't touched the stuff, and I haven't missed it either.

It's amazing to remember how impossible it seemed, for years, to kick the habit, and then one day I made a New Year's resolution, went cold turkey, and just like that it was all over. Now I'm wondering how many other apparently impenetrable barriers I can burst through with no effort at all. I'd been playing around with the idea of quitting for a long time, telling everyone that I'd given it up while schnorring from everyone in sight, so much that I was straining friendships and offending strangers. I especially liked Tom Waits' line to Iggy Pop in Coffee and Cigarettes: "Since I quit, I can have one." Well, I've really quit now, and I won't be having another one.

Even after six weeks, I still occasionally get a hacking cough that feels like it's coming up out of the innermost innards of my lungs, only a little bit once in a while, but I know that cough well and I know just what it is. The crap is still coming up; from which I surmise, obviously, that the crap is still in there. It wouldn't surprise me if it's still in there for years, toxins and carcinogens that will probably be plaguing me for much longer than the two or three years that I was smoking.

That stuff is nasty, as I've found out during the past year or so. Two people I knew, maybe not very closely but well enough to know that they were wonderfully kind men, died of lung cancer during that time. In both cases, the illness proceeded shockingly quickly, just a matter of weeks from initial diagnosis until the brutal end.

I was thinking back today about what got me started. There were many different causes, but really one event pushed me over the edge into addiction, a few years ago when I was shocked and stressed out after my worst-ever experience of being lied to by someone I had trusted; and the consequences of the lie were right there in my day-to-day life for months. Not only did I have to deal with the pain of betrayal, I also felt like a goddamned idiot, because the evidence of her predeliction to lie and cheat had been right before my eyes for years, but I thought ... well, I thought it would be different with me, for some reason. I had believed it all without question, and felt like a world-class moron for it. I've quit smoking now, years later, but my willingness to trust people, which took a debilitating blow back then, has hardly recovered at all.

So, Gentle Reader, if there's any lesson for you to learn from my story, I think it's this: be careful who you trust, because if they've lied before, they might do it again, and they might do it to you, and that can be hazardous to your well-being in more ways than one.

2 comments:

Fortunalty I never started smoking. In my opinion the human souls tends to self destruction in the same way as it try to keep itself alive or even persuits for extension of existence.
der toby - February 15, 2007-12:09
tries :-P
der toby - February 15, 2007-12:09
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