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March 31, 2005

To smoke, or not?


How in the world can I be expected to write without cigarettes? The way it works, you know, is compose a graph or two...have a smoke and think about what comes next...two graphs, cigarette...two graphs, cigarette...

So, you say, please shut up the whining and have the cigarette, so maybe this will get more interesting.

Can't. Not going to cave this soon. Just had a birthday, you see, and my present to myself was a vow to quit smoking.

I'm tired of the hacking cough. Tired of seeing the crud the hacking cough produces. Tired of being winded at the top of even a short flight of steps. Tired of the disapproval in my kids' eyes. Tired of listening to my doc tell me I'm killing myself. Tired of the expense.

Given all that, ditching cigarettes sure should be easy -- except that, well, I love them. Always have, from when I got started at age 15 (it was a time-and-place thing) to now. There's just innumerable moments in life that seem so much better with a cigarette.

Despite the love affair, I have tried to quit several times over the years. Once, I even went 13 years and two months without a single one. That was Jan. 1, 1983-March 1, 1996. In retrospect, a great period -- nights uninterrupted by coughing fits, stairs something to dash lightly up, any nice day reason enough for a 30-100 mile ride on the bicycle.


Like they say, one day at a time, and one day I blew it. Sitting in a bar, having beers with friends and, out of nowhere, the thought: "I think I'll have a cigarette." Dang, it was good.

So was the one I had a couple of days later. And the two I had a couple of days after that. It took about a month to get back past the pack-a-day level. That was nine years ago.

And now my lungs always hurt again.

I never take the steps if there's an elevator around.

I haven't been on a bike ride for two years.

It's time, past time, to ditch one of the great loves my life. If I can.

Anyway, I promise not to burden you with more on the subject -- win, lose or draw. But today the struggle is all consuming, and there's a deadline and so...

John Beydler is news editor at Quad Cities Online. email: johnbeyd@qconline.com.

Posted by jcb at March 31, 2005 02:46 PM