Thank You For Smokingon Oct 23 in Blog Post by johnhornor
Full disclosure: I used to be a heavy smoker. Back in the 90s all the way to 2003, I’d smoke a pack a day of… of… shit, I’m forgetting my brand. Well, it was either Marlboro or Camel Ultra-lights. I guess I wasn’t too picky. Anyway, the morning coughs and always being tired got to me. I spend years occasionally chewing Nicorette gum, slapping patches on my arms, or whatnot. That stuff never worked. I had to smoke myself into a corner and truly want to quit. When I got to that point, I put them down and never picked them back up again – at least so far. Without gum or the patches. So there. I’ve won the battle so many of you have yet to fight. Hardest thing I’ve ever done.
But recently I’ve been having dreams where I’m smoking again. And in the dreams, it’s pleasurable and I feel this intense guilt, yet it’s wonderful. Like it’s weed and coke and sherm and sex and candy all wrapped in a rolling-paper and I’m puffing down all that goodness . I woke up feeling guilty, like I’d actually been smoking.
So, my old college buddy came back into town and invited me out for a drink. In Arkansas, you can still smoke everywhere, mostly. It’s up to the restaurant or bar to choose what it wants to do. A lot of venues and eateries are going smokeless. But there’s also the old campaigners, the obstinate hold-outs, who’re gonna smoke and promote smoking until the very end. Fine. I think people should be able to choose to do whatever they want as long as it’s not hurting anyone else. But second hand smoke… that’s kinda walking a line there.
The bar’s called Pizza D’Action. Yeah, cute name. It’s a dive, but I spent a lot of time there in my twenties. Pizza D. Pizza Sleaze. The place smells like a raccoon raided a dumpster, rolled in shit, and then spontaneously combusted. So my buddy comes into town, invites me to the old watering hole, and I go down and visit him, and…I swear to god… in a bar full of a hundred people, I am the only one not smoking. So I drink. The air in there is thick enough to slice like bread.
And here’s my friend, Big Pirn we call him (long story), a great guy, but at 41 he’s still living the exact same life he lived at 23 when he graduated from college. Making money, living single, drinking maybe not every night but whenever he wants, staying up late, and… wait for it… smoking.
“I want kids, Jakes.” (I’m revealing something to you here. All my friends call me Jakes. I merit plurality.)
“The hell you do.”
Gives me this slightly irritated look, takes a drag on his smoke, and says, “You don’t remember, I used to give tennis lessons to four and five year olds.”
“What? In your teens?”
“So? What does that have to do with anything?”
“Shows I’m good with kids.”
“Being good with kids for a while on a tennis court isn’t the same as having kids.”
He takes a long drag on the smoke and gives me another one of those half-nervous, half-curdled glances, like I’m pissing in his porridge.
Finally, (because I’m like this and will say stupid things) I say, “Dave, you don’t want kids. If you wanted kids, you wouldn’t live like you do. Okay? You wouldn’t smoke, you’d be at church or some shit, wooing mother-material, and not here at this bar huffing on a smoke and guzzling beer. And you’re a lifetime away from the tennis courts.” We’re both portly, so I patted my own stomach, instead of his, just to make sure we stay friends. “Kids equal sacrifice. You’re not even willing to change your lifestyle enough to have a girlfriend. And it takes two to tango. Or do you want to adopt?”
“Shut up, mom.”
And that was the end of that conversation.
I left about 11pm, got home, and my whole body, the totality of me, every exposed inch of hair and dermis, had a fine, powdery layer of ash. I stunk like cigarette butts that the aforementioned raccoon shat out onto the lawn. I had to strip down immediately in the bathroom, take a shower, wash my hair and beard three times, neti pot my sinuses twice, before I stopped stinking. I washed my clothes, but the next day, I made the mistake of wearing the same shoes I wore to the bar, and I kept getting whiffs of burning raccoon ass and couldn’t understand where it was coming from until I realized it was my skids.
The next morning, I woke up with a sore throat, and coughed up a big wad of greenish-yellow phlegm – a flashback to my smoking days – and thought, Just like old times.
So thank you, Big Pirn, for smoking and reminding me of all the reasons I do not. The smoking dreams are gone.
That is all.