2006-01-05

Quitter

This lady at work is quitting smoking.
She's done it, like 8 times before, but this time she seems to really mean it.
She’s going the only way to go – cold turkey. That is, of course, subject to discussion but my experience and observation proved that if you don’t want to do it, don’t buy it. Obviously, I wish the same theory applied to Cheetos but that's a whole different post and to my knowledge, none of my friends is trying to quit Cheetos by cutting back.

She's not chewing any drugged up gum or duct-taping a couple of patches to her shoulder-blades like a desperate badge of participation.

She's just quitting.
No wait - Quitting.
I capitalize it because Quitting smoking should be given the respect that it’s due and treated as a proper noun, even though 'quitting' is kind of a sad little verb, when you think about it.

I feel awful for her.
I've had to Quit too and believe you me... it's wrenching.
Especially when you are Quitting something that you love implicitly.
I love smoking.
There, I said it.
I would light up with absolute, utter impunity if it wasn't disgusting in terms of how you smell and how your food tastes. I seriously would smoke and smoke and smoke if it was 1955.
In fact, on my 70th birthday, I intend to start smoking.
March 7, 2044, if you need to know – all I want is a carton of American Spirit Yellows and pretty ashtray. At her announcement of having Quit, I shared with her my plan to start back up in the distant future.

Before she Quit, I would see her smoking and offer an envious look and a wish that I could join her. She’d look at me like I was a war hero asking for another tour of duty.
“Wow. You Quit and you can stand here and not be, like, freaking out in a nic fit?”
“I’m going to start again when I’m 70.”
“Wow. You know. You might not even want to start again.”
“Oh no. I’m going to smoke when I’m old. I love it too much to forsake it for the rest of my time alive.”
“Well why did you Quit if you love it so much?”
“Vanity.”
At 70, I won’t care about the ovaries and the wrinkles will already own me. What else will I have to do at 70 besides smoke? All things being equal, I should be pretty hearty at 70 and still able to do some exercising.
The only thing that will change is that I should be able to light up, guilt-free.
But for now, I care too much about the way I look and it’s been this way for years. I feel like I saved myself from a sentence of walnuty skin, a creepy raspy voice, and that super-sexy rattling cough that marks a true hero.

Smokers are heros these days. They battle not only the disease and deterioration of 'yore, but also the hatred and exhile of society at large. I feel for them and as a future smoker, I take my hat off to those who are willing to risk their lives and their self-esteem to tread where I will not.

And I'm not kidding. I do view smokers as lucky to be so dumb in the Information Age. But more than that, I REVEL in the fact that I Quit smoking in time for people to be stunned by my actual age.
I swear to god, this is a timely and true story - last night at the dog park, I was discussing youth with this guy who's got a dog that's one of Rosie’s buddies. He said something about how I ‘wouldn't know’ because I'm not old enough.
Luckily, I came-to right as he was poised to begin chest-compressions so he helped me up off of the dog-pee soaked ground and he was like, "What? What'd I say?"
I was like, "Dude. I'm 31."
He then fell backwards and while he didn’t lose consciousness, he did twist his ankle on the way down. When he was able to hobble up to standing again he said, "But you're beautiful."
.
.
.
It turned into a good joke at least because I'm going to go ahead and believe that there's not a single bike-riding, dog-park-going, Jewish guy in Tucson, AZ who would be surprised that a 31 year old would be pretty.
Plus he turned this intense eggplant color and embarrassment usually belies a true misspeak - like if you were to say that it's althogether surprising for a 31 year old woman would be beautiful.
I l-o-v-e it when my point gets proven for me and considering that I’d been telling this chick for 2 days that the ONLY reason I don’t chain smoke is because I want to be pretty, this timing was not lost on me.

But Quitting.
I've totally been brought back to Quitting by this chick at work and I really, really feel for her.
It's weird... nicotine is such a powerful drug and not many people acknowledge it as such.
And then they give it up.

I think that when the tunnel vision, the shaking, the nausea, and the sensitivity to even dim light passes, is about the time that you realize that ‘lo and behold! Smoking is not good for you. It may be a comforting best friend during the long lonely nights of an Illinois winter, or in this case, during the hallucinogen that is the swamp of an Arizona August. It may be the One Thing that keeps you going each day. It may be the Only Friend on a long drive or that shoulder to cry on during the episode of Friends where Ross totally cheats on Rachel.
But it will make you ugly in the long run and, ummmm… no, plastic surgery techniques are not a reliable alternative.

So Mary – Keep On Keepin’ On – you got the drug part over with and now it’s just the habit.
I find that if you select a start date for stopping the Quit, you’ll be much happier and feel an honest sense of comfort that someday, you’ll totally be able to smoke with impunity.

Also, in the words of Waylon Jennings, paraphrased of course, a craving only lasts 7 seconds no matter if it’s coke or smoke or pizza.

So dig that, Hon, and if that fails to inspire you, just look at my ageless skin and know that no one would ever know how much I smoked back in the day.
This Magic Kingdom of Pretty can also be yours if you Quit for about 45 years.

arizonasarah at 9:38 a.m.

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