Wednesday, January 3, 2007

My smoking daze, a brief history

I'm kinda unusual for a smoker. I didn't start til I was 27 years old.

Oh, I tried it a few times before that, even as a kid when I'd sneak one of my Mom's Winstons and smoke it surreptitiously. But it never took.

For some reason, it took when I was 27. I was married to my first wife at the time. A smoker. We were sitting on the couch, watching TV, when I grabbed her pack of Merit Menthol Ultra Lights.

She said don't do it.

I said I wanted to.

She said I'd regret it.

I said I wanted to.

It was off to the races after that.

I smoked up to three packs a day for a while. In those days you could smoke almost anywhere, including the newsroom.

I quit several times, sometimes for long stretches at a time.

This last relapse occurred some 4 years ago during a particularly troublesome time -- when I got fired by the Houston Chronicle for writing a blog under the pseudonym of Banjo Jones. I'd never been fired before. Not only that, but the media, from The Houston Press to The New York Times to American Journalism Review, was writing about it! Now that's pressure, so it was back to Smoke City for me. I'm not sure how it helped, but if you have a smoker's brain, you're convinced it does.

So now I'm quitting again, hopefully for good this time.


Fear of death, basically.

Oh, I'll die, just like all of you, I know that. But I may not die early of some dread disease like emphysema or lung cancer if I get rid of these cigs once and for all. But I could be wrong.

So far so good so far.

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