Best Christmas Ever!

Best Christmas Ever!

I quit smoking cigarettes. Again. I have successfully made it through the first day.

Naturally, I want to punch a newborn baby in its adorable face. I won’t do that though because I’m very anti-baby punching. I’ve always been that way. Personally, I don’t even think you should slap a baby, let alone punch one. I know that might not be a popular opinion, but I don’t care. That’s just how I was raised.

I feel like it though. I would slap the shit out of a hypothetical baby if it crawled up to me right now, all “goo goo, gaa gaa” and shit. I would look this fictitious baby dead in the eyes and say, “Listen to me, fake baby. I’m irritated right now. Why don’t you go bug someone else with your infectious laughter and wild-eyed wonderment?” A baby, of course, does not have the cognitive capacity to engage in conversation with me, so I’d get mad at his silence and hit him. You know, to teach him.  Obviously it’s a him, because I would never hit a non-existent baby girl in her face, even if she instigated the confrontation. Not even in self-defense would I punch a defenseless imaginary baby lady. I’m a special kind of gentleman.

So the quitting smoking thing is kind of a big ol’ bitch bastard though. I have been a smoker on and off for about 30 years. I started at 12 or 13, and have smoked for 3 years, quit for 2 years, smoked for 4 years, quit for 3 years, etc. It’s a vicious cycle.

I remember being six or seven years old and stealing one of my fathers cigarettes. He was in the kitchen, probably making a highball, and his pack of Kools were in the living room. I don’t remember what made me decide take one out of the pack. I had probably just watched a movie or tv show that had some cool people smoking butts. Or maybe the Marlboro Man made me do it. But whatever the reason, I did it. I rushed over to the unattended cigarettes and removed two from the pack, because obviously one wouldn’t be enough. All the while I was listening for Dad’s footsteps to come shuffling back into the room and catch me red-handed. I successfully pulled off the heist and absconded out the back door. With my purloined cancer sticks safely tucked into the pockets of my corduroy, I hastily beat feet into the woods.

I was pretty excited to start being a cooler boy, so I struck a match and lit the smoke. I took far too big of a drag, and instead of inhaling it, I swallowed it. I’m not sure if you’ve ever swallowed smoke, but it is fucking painful. I remember coughing and gagging and feeling like my eyes were going to fall out of my head. This went on for only about forever. After I stopped crying and heaving like a baby girl that I would never punch in the face, I broke both cigarettes and swore to God I would never smoke again. Sorry God. I walked back into my house and my mother started yelling at me about “OH, YOU WANT TO BE A SMOKER?!?!” She handed me the rest of my fathers cigarettes and made me sit on the front stairs of our house and smoke them. So the neighbors could see how cool I was. Like Fonzie, if Fonzie smoked. I got violently ill after that.

I didn’t try smoking again until after my mother passed away.  I was around twelve. That magical age where you think you’re a teenager, but you really aren’t. So you do things that make you seem older. Like smoking or drinking or doing sex on other people or opening a checking account. Most of those things, anyways. Back then a kid could still walk into a store and buy cigarettes. All you had to do was say they were for your mother or father. Or you could just buy them from a cigarette machine. Remember those? Oh, dear sweet cigarette machine, what has become of thee? Outlawed for your convenient deliciousness, you have disappeared from the public eye, but you’ll be forever in my heart. And parts of my lungs and esophagus and trachea.

Smoking was encouraged in those days. You could even smoke in the waiting room at the hospital. Inside the fucking hospital!! They will hit you with a taser if you did that shit today. Seriously, go to your local hospital, sit down in the waiting room, and light up a cigarette. Notice all the looks of horror aimed directly at you. Listen to the people shouting at you. The vicious name calling. What you are doing is not acceptable in a civilized society. But it used to be.

When I was 13 my father found a cigarette filter in the pocket of my jeans while he was doing laundry. He confronted me with the evidence of my transgression. I don’t remember exactly what my defense was, but I think it went something like, “The older boys held me down and beat me up and stuffed pre-smoked cigarettes into my pockets.” I find it’s always best to blame things on the older boys, because no one wants to mess with them.
“Oh, the older boys did it? Well, let’s just forget about it and change the subject to an unrelated matter, then” would be the anticipated reaction.
But Dad wasn’t scared of the older boys, and eventually he got me to confess that I had been smoking. The surprising thing is that he didn’t flip out. He actually gave me permission to smoke.  I was pretty freaked out about by it. I thought it was a trap where I would light up a smoke and he would smack me in the back of the head. But it wasn’t. He told me he had started smoking young, and he always wanted to have a cool kid for a son.  I think I waited for two or three months after that talk before I smoked in front of him. But once I did, it became second nature. Smoking in the house like a fucking madman. I’m pretty sure if my mother was still alive she wouldn’t have approved.

I should have been out on the front steps smoking cigarettes for the whole world to see.

Like that Fonzarelli boy.

29 responses »

  1. twindaddy says:

    I never have and never will. Something about the thought of purposefully inhaling smoke just doesn’t sit right with me. Now liquor on the other hand…

  2. Whenever I see a guy without a jacket or proper head gear shaking and turning purple under the freeway on a frigid night just so he can get that rush? I feel bad. I like to give him a soft banana or a half-eaten fiber bar or maybe some lint-covered milk duds….anything I can find under the front seat of my car because everyone knows you can’t give smokers cash. If I see a chic smoking I just keep driving, because, you know, I’m kind of a bitch that way.

    • Stacie,
      Back in the day, you could give a gentleman who was down on his luck one dollar. With that dollar he could buy a pack of smokes, a steak dinner, comfortable lodging for the night, and maybe even take in a picture show. Nowadays if you give him a dollar, he will probably beat you up for all the rest of your money. Because you can’t buy oxycontin for a dollar.
      Also, you should clean your car. Hahaha!

      • But then I wouldn’t have any offerings for the poor smokers. The lint-covered milk duds stay, mostly because they’re wedged in that track thingy that makes my seat move back and forth. =p

  3. mairedubhtx says:

    I wish you a lot of luck on your journey to quit smoking. I have heard that it’s one of the hardest things a person can do. I have never smoked so I don’t know, but my heart goes out to you.

  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    I am so happy you’ve quit. I like your blog, and I think it would be nice if you stuck around a little longer. But I won’t be recommending you for any babysitting jobs. Not until that urge to punch disappears, anyway. 😉 Good luck!

  5. Thank you Carrie. It’s a filthy habit. It’s also gotten so damn expensive. As far as the babysitting goes, due to my rather public whistle-blower lawsuit against The Babysitters Club, I’m pretty much blackballed from that industry anyways.

  6. free penny press says:

    I smoke and want to quit, just don’t want to punch a
    I don’t like the judgement from others because while I may inhale smoke, I don’t pollute my liver or my body with bad food..
    Do they make a “i’ll be nice while i detox” nicorette patches?

    • They probably have someone working on be nice patches at this very moment. The hardest part about quitting . at least for me, is the mental part. After eating I think, “I’ll have a smoke”. I’m on day 6 now and the urge is still there although it is getting easier to ignore.

  7. joehoover says:

    The only time I can attempt quitting is with major toothache or a massive hangover when I am too sick to smoke. One involves intense paid and a hefty dental bill and the other involves getting smashed and probably having a great time doing so. I think I’ll try quitting tomorrow in that case…

  8. saradraws says:

    My parents let me smoke in the house around 15. They both smoked and knew they couldn’t stop me.
    I’m 15 years (ish) of the junk, though to this day I miss the habit…not the cigarette per se, but the having something to fiddle with while thinking big thoughts or other really important stuff (Pinterest).

  9. I’m glad I never started smoking because I am quite certain I’d be a rabid chainsmoker. Quitting must be a bitch. My dad started smoking when he was about 12, his old man didn’t mind either. He figured it would just make it easier to get cigarettes—just get the kid to go and get them.

    • It’s a nasty habit. My mother used to send me to the store with a note and two dollars and I’d come home with three packs of butts. I think they were 60 cents or so and now they’re $8.50 in Massachusetts.

  10. Adam S says:

    Bill, this was funny as hell. I’m gearing up for the big smoke out, myself. I quit once for three months and never felt better. Smell is something that I never realized I’d lost. The day I started again, I never felt worse. Instantly Dizzy, nauseous, headaches…It’s a filthy fucking habit, and if I could go back in time, I’d make the dumb mini-me do the same thing that your mums made you do on the porch. Maybe I’d make mini-me eat a couple too.

    Btw, they have machines at the casinos here. Guess how much? Ok, I’ll tell you: $12 a pack. Another great reason to quit…

  11. Wow, Bill, times have changed, haven’t they? It’s amazing you could smoke in a hospital. Have you ever tried hypnosis? My brother did and it seemed to work, at least for a while! Maybe it’s worth a try. Best of luck! I enjoyed your story.

    • I’ve never done hypnosis. Every time I have quit, I’ve done it cold turkey. It’s just a matter of remembering I don’t smoke anymore. Hahaha, sometimes that’s hard.

  12. […] Don’t Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em ( […]

  13. SocietyRed says:

    Hats off to you Bill,
    I remember buying smokes for my parents; oh, the good old days. I remember having surgery when I was 21 and smoking right before they rolled me in, but the nurse had to hold it because I was already loopy from the pre-surgery injection. When I was 12 I would wake up in the middle of the night and light up the butts left in the ashtray. What the fuck was I thinking? Oh yeah, that’s right, I wasn’t. Filthy fucking habit is right.
    Keep it up brother!

    • Thanks Red. It’s been 8 days and it’s getting easier. It’s insane to think of how it used to be. I remember my mother taking me to the hospital with an asthma attack, and sitting in the waiting room while she chainsmoked next to me. Good times. Hahaha

  14. vyvacious says:

    I have a friend who thinks smokers are hot in some way. Personally I can’t do it. It’s a deal breaker for me. I’m pretty sensitive in terms of allergies so I’m pretty sure I’d feel like death warmed over if I tried smoking a cigarette.

    Hope this time you actually kick the cigarette addiction. Just curious. What makes me start back up again after so many years off of it?

  15. Val says:

    I packed up smoking twice, the second time for good. And the first time, I was smoking a phenomenally huge amount each day: 80. Yep. 80. I’m not gonna give you the “If I can do it so can you” ‘cos we’re all different. The first time I gave up with no problems. I went back to smoking (deliberately, stupid as that sounds) many years later. Then the second time it took ages to stop properly (I used that gum, which is foul but works. Well, it worked for me anyway) but I did. I won’t smoke again.

    How’re you doing? Still keeping going?

    • Val,
      It’s been 12 days and it gets easier each day. The first week the cravings were pretty bad. But it has definitely improved. You were up to 4 packs a day? At my highest I used to smoke two packs a day, which is a lot. Good for you for quitting. It’s all about willpower.

  16. The Hook says:

    Great blast from the past!

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