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primal screaming

Have you ever wanted to stage a parent strike? Or maybe just run away? Leave the house for ten, twelve hours and not tell anyone where you're going? Sell your children into servitude? Drink an entire bottle of Jack Daniels? Ram your car into the back of the car in front of you in traffic over and over again? Stab an obnoxious stranger in the eye with an icepick? Kick your husband in the balls? Kill a telemarketer, slowly and painfully?



No you do not. You want to go dust the coffee table, reorganize a cabinet, or write a nasty email. You do not want to smoke and lose the progress you've made in the last week. Nope. You don't.

Ok, so you do...but if you do smoke you know you'll just have to quit again someday and go through all this again, and then you'll be REALLY pissed at yourself for not having stuck it out this time. Now that you've hit the worst of the withdrawal (and you probably have), don't waste all the pain and misery. Smoking won't make it go away for more than a few seconds, then you start slamming yourself all over again.

I know because I've done it a few times before I finally did quit. And nothing pisses me off more than the fact that I had come so close so many times. As the Japanese say, "Gambatte!"

You really will be glad you did.

Do you have an exercise bike, free weights, a punching bag--anything like that in the house? Because now would be a good time to use 'em--imagining the whole time, of course, somebody's head and neck wherever you mash the pedal down/grip the barbell/punch the bag/whatever.

Or throwing a softball somewhere relatively harmless (I know it's cold up there, so outside's no good) like a garage or a basement, that one works well too. I'm a huge fan of throwing things.

Throwing ice cubes into the tub works wonders. The crashing sound is very nice therapy and any leftovers you can just crunch in your mouth.

Do it. I'll light up with you.

C'mon, it's just you and me here. Nobody will know.

Hubris is such a bastard. I'll hate him for that as soon as I quit laughing.

My daddy quit smoking after 35+ years, after watching his mother (smoker for 50+ years) die on the floor, writhing and flopping and gasping like a fish out of water from end-stage emphysema. Her lungs simply could no longer extract oxygen from the air or push carbon dioxide out of her body. She had a bad back and couldn't/wouldn't sleep in a bed, nor would she go to a hospital. We had hospice. I was her primary caregiver, so I was there for the whole ugly ordeal, beginning to end. Words cannot describe the agony she was in, or that we were in from watching her agony, so I won't even try.

Dad quit smoking 6 months later, cold turkey, after he had time to mourn and recover from her death. He was a Chesterfield man, non-filter, and a militant smoker. I can't ever remember him trying to quit...he loved cigarettes, would tell you he loved 'em, and would tell anyone to fuck off if they bitched about his smoking.

It took him a year to get over wanting a cigarette every day. It took him 5 years to get over regular (as in monthly or so) cravings. Now, at 9 years, he still gets a jones every once in a while from the right stimulus. But he doesn't do it because he knows what could happen to him if he does. Not only does he not want that for himself, but he doesn't want it for me. No child should have to watch their parent die like that. Especially not like that.

I share this in case you feel like giving up and quitting quitting. If my old man quit smoking, ANYONE can. And if you can't do it for yourself, stay firm for your kids. It's the grown-up thing to do, IMHO. We start smoking for childish reasons(prestige, to look cool, etc.--it ain't cuz they taste good), so I see quitting as an adult choice.

Funny thing is, I don't hate cigarettes. I wish it was still fun to smoke, like in the days before the PC police grabbed everyone by the crotch, in the same way I wish it was still fun to TAD (Travel Around Drunk;i.e., drink and drive). Ah, the halcyon days when we didn't know shit and if we did we blew it off. But the reality is that the costs of smoking are all out of proportion to the benefits. Especially with long-term smoking. I'll never forget the price my Gram paid. And we along with her. It was a truly horrifying thing to watch.

Hope that...um...helped.


[tickles Michelle to distract her from her cravings]

This sucks. This too, shall pass. And you'll have a nice payday at the end of it, those butts helped me save enough to buy a new truck when I quit.

Sorry you're going through this. It will get better, but not anything like soon enough.

I like the ice cubes in the hot tub trick!

Frank is so right, if you give in and have one, then you'll just want more, and be back where you started - and that will be MUCH worse!

Just go to bed. You'll feel better in the morning.

Sure, you wanna butt. A nice stinkin' piece of dead vegetation burning into your lungs. Hmmmmmmm...the very sense of it drives you wild. Suck it in, slave. Enjoy the aroma of early death. Breathe deep the gathering gloom. A few more hacks and you'll be ready for your casket.

Hello, sister. Smoking sucks. Doesn't it. Go kiss your kids.


First, I'm very sorry about your grandmother. I would just point out a couple of things:

- Because of the young non-smoker deaths I've observed (including my father's), I always think it's worthwhile to mention that not smoking is not a guarantee of long life, healthy old age, or a peaceful death process.
- A small point, but I beg to differ on the blanket statement that we don't start smoking becuase it tastes good. Fuckin' loved the first one I had. And it already had a social stigma attached when I started, so I sure wan't trying to look cool.
- It's for each person to decide whether or not the costs of an activity are out of proportion to the benefits. It's risk assessment, just like when you're deciding whether the thrill of skydiving or riding a motorcycle is worth the risk. Only you, individually, can make the cost/benefit analysis for yourself, since it's impossible to quantify either pleasure or the possiblity of suffering.

That being said, best of luck to Michele. I'll shut up on the subject, hope I didn't offend.

I don't have any relevant experience to offer here so I'll just say again that I know it's really rough, and I'm pulling for you. Hang in there...


First, I'd like to point out that Michele has apparently already decided the costs of smoking outweigh the benefits, or she wouldn't be trying to quit.

Second, I'd like to point out that you kind of did offend. First you post that cutesy little "Just you and me for a quick huff, babe" comment, urging recidivism on this woman who's having a VERY hard time and trying to make light of it. Nice. I know you were being facetious, but still...nice.

Third, you self-righteously assume I don't have sense enough to consider all your other points (such as quitting smoking being no guarantee of long life, etc.) just because I don't take the time and bandwidth to elaborate on everything I think about this issue. You also take my well-meant comment as an opportunity to jump on the soapbox about personal choice. Yep, you offend.

I'm all about personal choice...you apparently didn't read my post completely or you'd have that noticed that I NEVER said it was wrong to smoke and that people shouldn't be allowed to do so. That ain't what I think at all, and even after what I've seen I will in fact defend anyone's right to smoke as long as they're not blowing it deliberately and directly into my face.

I simply stumbled upon this blog while surfing around and replied to a post that called out to me. This lady seemed like she needed a little support, and I thought maybe my horror story or a little different perspective (i.e. "risk assessment") might help her stay on track...forever, hopefully, but even just for a little while longer.

BTW, I know quitting smoking is no guarantee of long life or a peaceful end, but it sure as f#@% can't hurt. Nobody ever died from quitting cigarettes. Or at least the person who quit doesn't die from it. That's not to say that obnoxious strangers and telemarketers don't suffer the ill effects.

Anyways, good luck, Michele. I wish you all the best.

have you thought about joining a gym? No really. It's kind of helpful in a lot of ways. Hell, at $5 a pack, even a pack a day for 7 days, you got a month at Curves.

If you already go to a gym, feel free to disregard my suggestion.


I won't fight with you, I'll just say:

- My first comment was definitely a joke (or cutesy, if you prefer).
- I'm not sure how offering my opinion in exchange for yours is self-righteous, but whatever.

Take care and have a great day.


In the interest of clarifying things still further (sorry you need so much clarification)...I will say that offering your opinion in exchange for mine is not self-righteous. What is self-righteous is pointing out obvious facts (such as (again) "quitting smoking does not insure long life", etc.) as if I were incapable of thinking them up for myself, and also retreating defensively into the tired old smoker's knee-jerk cant of "personal choice" without bothering to tax yourself to pay attention to what I was really saying. I never attacked anyone's right to personal choice...I merely shared an experience and a couple of thoughts. You're the one who took it upon yourself to attempt to poke holes in my "opinions." I wouldn't have even much noticed your first cutesy comment had you not apparently become irritated by my sharing. But whatever.

And that's all from me. Snarky bitch with raw nerve go bye-bye now. I've used up enough time on this little spat. You take care and have a nice day, too.

Again, Michele, good luck. Stay strong. It can be done!

Good, good, you are getting in touch with your feelings. Das ist sehr Gestalt, ja?

(Aside): "Nurse, do you have the sedative ready?"

Just think, M, you will look back at this time and laugh.


OK, I tried to hold my tongue and be nice, I guess that doesn't work.

I didn't assume you didn't understand the points I brought up, I just thought I would bring them up.

I'm not retreating defensively into anything. You felt free to preach on the virtues of not smoking, which is fine. I felt compelled to respond because the story of someone dying because of smoking as an object lesson always makes me think of my father, a non-smoking non-drinking athletic demigod who died at 55 of a dissecting aneurysm after begging for help, alone in a Lowe's parking lot.

I wan't offering a tired cant about personal choice. I found it interesting, however, that you felt comfortable proclaiming that the risks of smoking always outweigh the benefits, and you somehow were able to ascertain the reason all smokers start smoking. That, I think, was a bit self-righteous. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that about an activity you engage in that I don't.

My point was relating to risk assessment. We all take risks and weigh the benefits of the various activities; so long as others are not subjected to it, smoking is just another one of those activities. I'm not surprised that to most people, the risks of smoking would outweigh the benefits. But if you proclaim the certainty of it for all people from the top of Mount Smug, I don't see why it's a problem that I respond.

Now, since I'm pissed, I think I'll go have a nice smoke.

Halo. Plasma Grenade. "Get it off me!"

Relaxing, huh?

Changing the subject to your initial question - my mother ran away from home once. There were five of us kids, and we were being really bad one day. Mom had enough, so she told us she was running away from home and stormed out the front door.

About a half-hour or so later, my Dad came home to five hysterical children. Mom was across the street having a cup of tea with a neighbor.

I won't say we were never bad after that, but it's been over 40 years, and I still remember it clearly.