Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wanna Smoke?

Good afternoon, dear reader

For 20 years or so, I was a smoker.  At times, I was a very heavy smoker...2 packs a day type stuff.  But, for the most part, I was a 1/2 a pack a day kinda guy.  Yup, my fingers had a yellow tinge, my pillow was stained with the nicotine that bled out of my pores at night, dentists despised my teeth (although they loved the bills I had to pay for them to try make my whites pearly), and for 11 years, my wife complained about kissing an ashtray.  Yes, dear reader....I was a smoker.

Almost 3 years ago, I made the decision to quit smoking.  I had just finished spending over $70 on a carton, and it suddenly struck me what a waste of money that was.  Along with the fact that I'd been experiencing quite a bit of chest pains and shortness of breath, the signs were pointing towards quitting.  So, I told myself that when the carton (plus 2 packs of American smokes) were gone...that was it.  I was done.  And sure last smoke was on a Monday morning around 11AM...right after a staff meeting.  I remember that moment very well.  It's the sort of thing one doesn't forget...kind of like 'where were you when Kennedy was shot'.  (I was a a mere wish in my father's brain, but I digress).

And here we are....almost 3 years later.  And you're wondering why i'm bringing up smoking now.  Let me try paint you a picture, dear reader.  On a sunny Friday morning, the grass is still wet with dew, or maybe it was a bit of rain from the night before.  I'm standing on the fairway of the 7th hole.  Ok,'s actually the fairway of the 3rd hole, but I'm playing the drive was a bit askew.  I'm golfing with 2 nephews and a good friend....mere hours before a wedding.  The air is crisp...the 4 of us wend our way through the fairways and greens (not always our own!!).  We've pretty much got the course to ourselves.  Our laughter (and the odd curse because of a bad shot) fills the air...we're having a grand time.  We were alone...but now, on the 7th hole, we are joined by a videographer.  Apparently, this is part of the whole wedding thing.  You see, one of the golfers is the groom, one is the best man, and two are groomsmen.  Perfect time to get the silliness on video.

Have I lost you yet, dear reader?  Continue reading.  A couple of the people present light up cigars.  Now, I'm not a huge fan of the smell of cigarette smoke, but on this beautiful morning, the smell of a freshly lit cigar was intoxicating.  Wow.  We are so relaxed, having some fun, being (dare I admit it?) a bit silly.  And there it was, like a weight pressing down on me.  My whole psyche was feeling the pressure....I was finding it hard to breathe.  Got it figured out yet, dear reader?  I was craving a smoke...desperately.  Oh, I'd had a nic fit before....heck, it hasn't even been 3 years since I'd quit.  But this one....this was bad.  I wasn't sure I was going to get through this one.

Are you a smoker, dear reader?  An ex-smoker?  If you are, you'll know what I'm talking about.  As a smoker, there is an easy cure to this phenomenon....have a smoke.  As an ex-smoker, it is much more difficult.  Every ex-smoker has their own method of dealing with this craving.  I just take a real deep breath, and hope like mad that it goes away.  (Notice I didn't mention the reformed smokers?  They are the ones who look down their noses at the lowly peons that dare to smoke in their illustrious presence, and claim that only losers smoke.  Totally forgetting that their last smoke was mere months ago.  Nope, I'm not mentioning the reformed smokers...they frost my apricots.)

Well, dear reader.  I survived the scare.  It was close.  I'm sure I could have cajoled one of the smokers to hook me up and light me up.  At the time, I actually imagined that I would even enjoy it.  Looking back, I think I would have coughed and hacked out a lung, leaving a quivering jelly-like mass on the 7th green or maybe on the 8th tee box.  Looking back, I think I would have turned a horrid shade of green.  Looking back, I don't think I would have enjoyed it.

Wanna smoke, dear reader?  I sure don't.


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