Three years and three days ago I quit smoking.  It wasn’t my idea at the time, but the old ticker decided it was going to call a strike on Saint Patrick’s Day, and believe me, it’s no fun choosing between a cigarette and an ambulance. Besides, I’m a Welsh Jew, and that doesn’t bode well on an Irish holiday. I remember being splayed out on the floor, feeling like a trio of hippos were sumo wrestling on my chest and wishing they had trimmed their toenails. I had my cell phone in one hand and a cigarette in the other, and in my condition I tried smoking the cell phone. Let me tell you, it’s hard as hell trying to keep a cell phone lit. Eventually I gave up and tried to dial 911 with the cigarette, but as you can imagine it takes a steady hand to punch all those numbers in without tobacco flying everywhere. When the cardiologist saw me in the Emergency Room with the news that I was having a massive heart attack, he told me the next time I smoked a cigarette it would kill me. To this day I marvel at how he knew I was a smoker. Must have been all that tobacco in my ear. As much as I want to prove him wrong, you won’t catch me having another one. At least not today. We recovering cigarette addicts have to take it one day at a time.

I’ve always said that in the distant future, historians will note that tobacco was the most addictive substance known to man in the 20th century. They will also note that Facebook put tobacco to shame in the 21st century.  Whoever can figure out how to roll Facebook up and smoke it, he or she would be the wealthiest person in the history of modern civilization.  Hey, that’s an idea. Look, if I can puff on a burning cell phone, smoking Facebook can’t be much more difficult. For now, though, cigarettes rule the roost when it comes to addiction. I read a story years ago about a rehab for heroin addicts in New York City that tried telling the residents they couldn’t smoke while in the program. The counselors’ bodies have yet to be found.

When I smoked I had my priorities set thusly: cigarettes and then everything else. I’m serious. The only thing I valued as much as smoking was breathing, and that was only because it was the mechanism that aided my habit. I built my entire life around cigarettes, and even had a set of rules designed to maximize my smoking experience. First and foremost, Rule Number One was this: Never, ever, under any circumstance run out of cigarettes. If I only had one cancer stick to my name I would guard it zealously until I was able to obtain more. I once went two weeks without smoking because I had one cigarette left. The other rules dealt with making choices about where and when I could and could not smoke. For example, it is almost impossible to smoke while sleeping. Note I said almost.  It is ok to smoke in church, as long as you don’t exhale. Smoking during a wedding is generally frowned upon, and makes it more difficult to recite the vows or kiss your bride.  Also, it is not a good idea to light a cigarette while on pure oxygen. If you don’t believe me try it yourself. It’s liable to make you want to give up oxygen.

I’m celebrating three years of being an ex-smoker. If I ever have the opportunity to get a new heart, I guarantee you I’ll smoke one three miles long. It better have a user-friendly keypad, too. 

About jaytharding
Christian Mystic-in-training, burgeoning Apologist, Writer, Poet, Philosopher, all-purpose curmudgeon Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 11 Corinthians 5:17

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