Little Boys Shouldn't Smoke
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Inhale exhale smoke until you start to bake
So smoke a lot you’re on the spot
You may have a stroke
Puff and puff and puff
Little boys shouldn’t smoke
Before he made movies like The Girl Can’t Help It Frank Tashlin created some wonderful early Warner Brothers cartoons like the hilariously nightmarish Wholly Smokes.
Why the Hell I started smoking cigarettes again I’ve forgotten.
That I put up with Charles’ cigarette smoking was a sign from the very beginning of how instantly smitten I was with him. Ordinarily smoking meant I wouldn’t even meet you for coffee.
Naturally I wanted Charles to quit. Sometimes I’d pick up his pack of Carltons and say that if he was going to smoke I guess I might as well do so myself. He’d just laugh and - rightly - tell me to not talk like a fool. Some drunken evening I must’ve finally lit one. And another. And I must have liked them: soon I was buying packs of them.
As our relationship became hellish I doubtlessly smoked more and more. Again I was a cigarette addict. And the stress of being in love with someone addicted to cigarettes, marijuana, heroin, opiates and eventually crack cocaine stripped me of the wherewithal to quit.
After we parted I thought it would be easy to push cigarette out of my life. They aren’t sublime: they are expensive and pointless, deadly and foolish.
But even when Charles wasn’t living with me anymore I continued to pick up the pieces for him as best as I could. That is: he continued to make my days difficult. My smoking irked Alex. Her response was perfectly fair: I’d promised to quit. The promise was honestly made: I didn’t know my own weakness. And that relationship wasn’t always easy either.
I tried Welbutrin. The drug made me paranoid. I remember the day I ran out of the house because I was overcome with nameless dread of nothing in particular.
I tried myriads of strategies. Sometimes I seemed to win. Until something upset me. I don’t know if the quick boost in dopamine was at the root of that: a mild diminution in worry.
Smoking had become an intolerable burden. In the last several months the effect on my breathing was worrisome. And I could afford it. Each month is a struggle to make the mortgage payment. My cigarettes were one of my major expenses.
But I didn’t stop trying. At least twice a month I’d try to quit. I’d last a day or four.
Finally came the time when I tried to quit and succeeded. At least it seems that I have. I hope so.