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National Editorials & Columns

Put that in your pipe and smoke it

One of the earliest memories from my repressed childhood involves convincing my 33-year-old parents to quit smoking.

At age 5 I distinctly remember bouncing down the stairs, hopping in my mother’s lap with puppy dog eyes and pleading with her to stop smoking cigarettes.

In retrospect sucking down a few cancer sticks was probably the only relief my parents got from the hustle and the bustle of respectively working and raising kids full time. And not just any kid, either.

We’re talking about me here. By the time I was a toddler I had already successfully destroyed numerous pieces of furniture and caused more than a fair share of gray hairs.

My imposing father quit cold turkey. He never smoked another cigarette after that. The man has an iron will not known to the general populace of humanity and one that can’t be explained by modern-day science.

My dad started chewing whatever he could get his hands on in order to quit. He chewed everything from bubble gum to nails.

Years later I asked him if it was hard to quit smoking. He gave me a stern gaze and said, as if it was just that easy, “If you want to quit smoking, just quit.” I swear my dad could kick a heroin addiction if he needed to and not even break a sweat.

My mom on the other hand went kicking and screaming. Aside from my charming good looks and obsessive compulsive tendencies, I genetically inherited my mother’s addictive personality. It took dear old mum a bit longer to finally quit. I guess my father never enlightened her with his Zen-like attitude toward overcoming addiction.

At the time my parents were 33, and little did I know the subtle gears of life and irony were already churning back then. To what end? I started smoking in high school, which killed my track and field career, and I’ve been an avid smoker since. I always told myself I would quit when I was 33, just like my parents.

There’s just one small problem.

I turn 34 in October, which just so happens to be National Quit Smoking Month. By my count, that leaves just over six weeks to pull of the miracle of finally quitting my nasty, unhealthy habit — for good this time.

Oh, I’ve quit smoking before, but I’ve quit quitting more often than that. You feel me? Are there no truer words than that of Mark Twain? It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it a thousand times.

I love pointing out hypocrites. I hate becoming one. Thankfully for me, I hate considering myself a hypocrite more than my love for tobacco, nicotine and oral fixations. I mean, in theory I do.

They have me smoking one of those electronic cigarettes. Out with the old and in with the new, that sorta thing. I’m what you call a 21st-century smoker now. It’s the only option I would consider.

I’m not interested in cold turkey, unless it’s actual cold turkey instead of the metaphorical kind. Hypnotism? Don’t be ridiculous. It will take more than a “spell” from a magician to get me to quit. Those nicotine patches?

No thank you. I would be too tempted to place it over my eye. What about those pills? I’m about as interested in that as I would be a suppository. (A suppository aimed at helping a smoker quit should be called Butt Kicker. Patent pending.)

This electric cigarette I have is pretty legit and so far it really seems to be helping with my cravings of wanting to rip everyone’s head off in a four-block radius.

The only problem with the e-cig is there are so many different flavors. Yeah, that’s what people who are trying to quit smoking need — more enticing flavors of nicotine to smoke. The amount of flavored cigarette filters available on the open market puts the entire Jelly Belly franchise to shame.

Hopefully I’ll be able to finally quit, but for the first time in my life I really want to. Honestly, I’m not blowing smoke.

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