Since I Started Smoking

October 15, 2017

Yeah. Yes. I hear you, all of you, sighing. I see your shaking heads. I graduated from D.A.R.E. too. I wrote a poem for the program. I used to steal my grandmother's cigarettes from her purse and bury them in our trash can.

 

I mocked people for trying to look *cool* with their paper tubes of fire and tar.

 

Guess what, motherfuckers? Smoking IS cool--but only if you're already cool. It's like a leather jacket. If you rock it, it ups your hottie factor by giving you the appearance of a casual yet reckless punk escaping his past. If you shrug around in it all turtle-style, not so much. To borrow maybe the most popular derisive term from my youth, it makes you a poser.

 

I'm a poser smoker. Here's why.

 

I forget that I am holding actual fire. Hence the occasional flecks of fresh ash singeing my thigh while I puff away, listening to Bob Dylan and feel sorry for myself on the porch. Or when I gesticulate wildly and nearly light up my cardigan sleeve. Or when I spray sparks into my parent's mulch and frantically attempt to stomp away the potential inferno/evidence of my newest vice.

 

In a similar vein, I cannot effectively extinguish butts. I clumsily stub with the flimsy heel of my sandal, often forgetting which surfaces might be flammable, hating myself for staining concrete with streaks of black or hiding butts in leaves that blessedly match their exact shade of tan. In my abiding cheapness, I also refuse to sacrifice any length of ignitable cig, so I will stub out half-smoked ones and stash them back in the box for later. This usually involves bending over while wearing a backpack to press the live flame against the ground, scattering sparks and shreds of tobacco in an attempt to save less than a dollar. I have also been guilty of accidentally dropping smoking butts into grates covering tree roots, which I try to atone for by spitting onto the glowing cherry.

 

Segue into the spitting. Y'all. Spitting is gross and I have judged spitters my whole life. But having ashtray mouth compels me to expel saliva onto every unsuspecting sidewalk and grass patch within range of my poorly-extinguished butt. This includes leaning out the window of my sealed-in back porch to drip onto the alley two stories down. Unfortunately, I cannot consistently hock an efficient loogie. Instead, I end up spraying a thin dribble of shame-mouth onto my favorite articles of denim.

 

Part of the coolness of being a nicotine fiend is also having a DGAF stance as you exhale rich curls of smoke into the wind. But when I've got a lit cig in my hand, any glimpse of an approaching stroller or toddling child douses me in guilt as I try to hide my cancer stick behind my back. I hold smoke in my mouth for long periods within range of other pedestrians, and apologize desperately to unseen bystanders who pass through my plumes.

 

It's gotta stop. Guys. I know. I am so broke, and so aware of the carcinogens. Plus it's almost Chiberia time, and I don't want my expensive-ass parkas reeking of American Spirits. The universe is also sending me signals. My favorite smoke spot is my enclosed back porch, where I can draft my new play longhand, drink cinnamon'd homemade coffee, crank Springsteen into my eardrums, and ash into a mug from a church in Oklahoma that I attended exactly once on Easter (I'm a monster). But this week, my upstairs neighbor very sweetly texted to let me know that my lethal hobby has been drifting into her apartment and triggers MIGRAINES. SO. No more favorite smoke spot.

 

It's legit time to quit. Not just because I'm filling my apnea-afflicted system with tar, or desecrating the planet, or becoming a bad influence to children, or smelling weird despite lots of Purell and gum when I work at a spa, but because I potentially gave my poor sweet neighbor MIGRAINES. I don't known when exactly I'll smoke my last, because addiction is a B and I'm an entitled asshole who likes to excuse my unhealthy behavior by pointing at anything else remotely healthy that I'm doing. "I can smoke! Look at all the dishes I washed!"

 

But It's gonna happen. And then I can breathe easy, with my clean lungs, knowing I won't ever burn my nose again like I did twice last week.

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Yeah. Yes. I hear you, all of you, sighing. I see your shaking heads. I graduated from D.A.R.E. too. I wrote a poem for the program. I used to steal m...

Since I Started Smoking

October 15, 2017

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