Saturday, December 03, 2005

Side Effects

An interesting thing has happened to me on the way to quitting smoking. What? You didn't know that I smoked? How could you not? Everything about me just screams "irresponsible." I started smoking at age 13 with a pack of Marlboro's swiped from the Seventh Street News store by a guy named Clinton. I had swiped a Playboy and we traded. Sometime later I got caught with a pack of cigarettes by my old man and he sat me down in the basement and made me smoke the biggest, greenest cigar you ever saw. You bet I got sick. But that didn't stop me. Smoking was cool.

In high school we had a "smoking area." I kid you not. (Right Portia?) There was an open air quadrangle in the center of the building where kids could smoke themselves stupid. At the same time, it was absolutely forbidden for the school to have Cokes or coffee available to students. Wouldn't want them getting hooked on that caffeine.

By the time I went off and joined the Navy, however, I had really cut back on being a smokestack, primarily because of the lack of funds. But once I discovered that puffers got to take smoke breaks in boot camp, well I was back on the pack. Plus, smokes were only 25 cents! How could you lose? I fell in with some of the "brothers" aboard ship (which was interesting, as I had never had any black friends growing up) and the next thing you know, I'm smoking Kools.

Kools. What's up with that? Those things are strong as hell and the menthol in them is powerful enough to kill an elephant. It's as if I said "Gee, what's absolutely the very worst thing I could stick in my mouth and suck into my lungs? Give me that!" Kools have always been marketed to the black community, and they still are. For a kid who grew up in a lily-white world, becoming addicted to Kools is a ironic kick in the social ass.

So where did I start this? Oh, yeah. I was about to tell you about quitting smoking. I do this a lot. Ms. rdr hates my habit. I hid it from her the best I could while we were dating, and even after we were married I didn't smoke in front of her. I've tried to quit countless times, and inevitably wound up sneaking a butt while walking the dog or taking out the trash. Who was I kidding? Kools stink like hell and the smell clings to everything within a 20 foot radius. But I did my best to accommodate her. I've never smoked in her house and have always promised to quit again "next month."

So here it is, "next month" again and I'm gearing up to take down the beast once more. I know I've tried most of the methods without long term success, but this time it's going to be different. This time I'm using drugs. Surprised? Don't be. I know when I'm licked. If I can't do it straight, then it's high time I let the chemicals take over. I've been taking something called "Wellbutrin" for almost 2 weeks. It's an anti-depressant like Zoloft or Prozac, but it also supposedly reduces the urge in smokers to light up. I've noticed that my smoking enjoyment has really dropped off over time. I still puff a few puffs, but it doesn't give me any pleasure and I stub it out quickly. Next week is the big test where I try to put them down completely. Who knows? Maybe it'll happen this time. I want it to. Very much.

But the interesting part of this whole long ramble is this: the drug has had an effect on my personality like I never expected. Shit that used to drive me crazy just doesn't bother me any more. Not just the little stuff, like a teenager mouthing off or a rude cashier, big stuff. Important stuff. Ted Kennedy sized stuff. I now read the newspaper without swearing. I haven't called anyone an "idiot" in days. I am patient behind the wheel as the old lady in front of me fumbles through her purse for exact change at the toll booth. It's subtle, but amazing. I am exactly the same, except I've stopped being such an asshole. How about that.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I haven't felt the urge to blog recently. I don't know why. Certainly there are things in the news that are blog-worthy. I still recognize the moronic behavior running rampant across the screen. But I don't blow up about it anymore. My sarcasm meter is down in the red zone. I've lost the "edge" to my cynicism. Strange. I don't know where this is a good thing or not, but it is what it is. And if I can smack this monkey off of my back, then a little light blogging will be well worth it.

Wish me luck.


portia said...

YOU CAN DO IT! And I'm right behind you.
Tootsie roll pops can help with oral cravings. As for what to do with your hands, I'm sure you'll think of something....[ducking]

Here's a cool link to a Quit Meter that will keep track of your smoke free stats (money saved, cigs not smoked, etc.) for you. You can even keep track of your buddies who quit too:)

Good luck, my friend.

spd rdr said...

Thanks, Portia.
I'll you know how I'm doing.

Pile On® said...

Oh, I think when you lose the nicotine you will get enough of your edge back that you can entertain us with the occasional post.

I know you have the strenght of character to kick the habit.

I have done it.....twice.

KJ said...

Having never had a bad habit, I cannot relate, but I do think you can do it.

And thus you will do it.

Good luck!

spd rdr said...

"Having never had a bad habit, I cannot relate..."

Well, KJ, having had just about every single bad habit short of being felonious, I can appreciate your unrelatedness.

Thanks for the boost.

Cricket said...

I believe in you spd. You will succeed.
If the drugs don't work, try acupuncture.
I kid you not. It got me off morphine.

Off to finish my Tex Mex feast.


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