When I Quit Smoking

I’m not going to sit here and tell you how much of a bad-ass I was in High School because I don’t want to lie on this blog.

My bad-assness on a scale of 1-10 wouldn’t even register it’s so low. Unless you count the one time I cut class and couldn’t even enjoy it because I was so nervous I would get into trouble from a concerned parent that happened to pass the Burger King near my school.

::puts glasses on::

Okay, I was a little bad-ass.

My bad-assness was pretty much limited to the following though:

1. Stealing
2. Smoking cigarettes
3. Making it home in time for curfew

The stealing, as you all know now, was dumb and faded away pretty quickly, but I did continue to smoke because that fucking camel was so damn cool. A camel playing pool? I was like a fat kid at an all-you-can-eat buffet and, actually, many times I WAS a fat kid at an all-you-can-eat buffet and, in fact, I’m now a fat adult pushing fat kids out of the way at an all-you-can-eat-buffet.

Where was I? I got distracted by food…

Oh yeah!

A camel playing pool with all these ladies around him? That’s so cool! Now I want cancer like that pool playing camel who doesn’t understand how amazingly unique he is.

I took up smoking when I was, I think, around the age of 13. I can remember the day vividly.

Six of us decided that we wanted to try smoking so we convinced some person to buy us a pack of Newport cigarettes – we were serious about smoking – and this person, who clearly didn’t mind allowing us to be “Alive With Pleasure” – what a horrible tagline for a product that is as effective in causing cancer as hand sanitizer is with killing germs – bought them for us and away we went to hide behind a building because we didn’t want to be caught smoking by, well, any human being.

For anyone who has never smoked it’s a strange experience. If you want to try it without all the carcinogens go ahead and Google, “how do you waterboard someone” and follow those instructions. It’s like breathing in dust, choking, coughing violently, and then recomposing yourself to solidify the ruse that you are, in fact, cool.

Repeat the above steps until your body adjusts, accepts, and craves (for life) the chemical mixture that is equivalent to rat poison.

Your move, body.

After making the conscience decision to limit the length of my life, I began my journey of total bad-assery and started smoking – wait for it – about one pack every two weeks.

There was a moment where I considered quitting. My friend and I were hanging out one night and while he was smoking something far more illegal than I was, I decided to smoke a few cigarettes while he finished “weeding” – his words, not mine. He took longer than expected so I made up my mind to smoke two Newport 100 cigarettes back-to-back. 100, to keep it short, means it’s longer than a traditional cigarette, Newport – in this case – means it’s basically like going to a tar pit and breathing in the fumes. After I finished both cigarettes I got lightheaded and knew something was wrong. My friend and I made our way by foot to the local bowling alley where I immediately ran straight to the bathroom and literally threw up a fist sized ball of whatever was in my stomach at that moment.

That didn’t stop me from setting my addiction in cement though. There’s just something about being a bad-ass from the 1950’s that really captivated me.

Luckily for my addiction I was completely ignorant to the fact that my mother had a firm grasp on my smoking habits. My parents are cool though, they allowed my sister and I to live our lives and, from what I know, didn’t snoop around our rooms looking for diaries of mine.

Often times I would come home from a party at a friends house smelling like an old chimney sweep from the 1920’s. I would give my mom a hug and kiss goodnight and she would ask, “are you smoking?” I would then reply, “No. My friends were and we were sitting in a small circle where everyone blew the smoke directly on me.”

Eventually that lie wore off and I admitted to my mother that I did indeed pick up smoking and she admitted that she certainly didn’t think I was any cooler.

Damn.

My whole family smoked so my mom sat me down and discussed the dangers of smoking and why she was so disappointed that I joined the tradition – I think a cigarette is on our family crest. We had multiple talks about this and she made her argument and the jury, that is my lungs and brain and heart and EVERY VITAL ORGAN, sided with her, the defense had lost and been sentenced to life.

And today, 12/31/2014, at midnight – so I guess really 1/1/2015 – marks the 14 year anniversary of the day I quit smoking. I took some time to myself and smoked my last cigarette in my friends backyard. At this point I moved on from Newports for the less harsh, smooth blend of Parliament Lights – I wanted “The Perfect Recess” from cancer. I took my last drag and LITERALLY stomped out smoking. I miss it from time-to-time but now I celebrate two things on New Years Eve.

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