I made the decision to quit with a lead time of less than seven seconds. One minute, I was puffing jauntily away on a cigarette and then suddenly I had quit.
I know, that sounds about as authentic as an Italian owned sushi bar, but that’s how it went down. I’m still not entirely sure what came over me. I mean, I liked smoking. I had more fun smoking than I did playing with puppies. I had more fun smoking than I did when I was making sandcastles at the beach as a stress-free kid. And I fucking loved my sandcastles. Bastard waves.
So, that moment to declare my quit-i-ness was like announcing I had given up ever feeling amazing again.
Why? A high school friend had just passed away in a horrible road accident that wasn’t his fault. And here I was sucking down fags like there was no tomorrow. Which there wouldn’t be, if I’d kept on my merry nicotine way. I was killing myself voluntarily. Smoking is the longest suicide in history, but it doesn’t make it any better.
It also cost me a lot of money. I could have afforded the rent on a small European principality if it weren’t for my darbing habit. Actually, not only could I have afforded the rent but also a nice pair of ceremonial pantaloons for the state dinners I would obviously be required to attend in said European principality.
So I quit. And I was immediately consumed with rage and an overwhelming desire to start gnawing on my ironing board. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to quit in the past. Sometimes against my will, sometimes on a ridiculous whim at three in the afternoon. On all occasions I politely discarded the thin veneer of civility which, like duct tape, often held me together and unleashed upon the world my inner Rancor.
That ‘feeling’ is ever so hard to describe. It’s a combination of OH MY HELL I HAVE TO EAT EVERYTHING and such blind, sputtering rage that you could power several cities with it, were you in the possession of jumper cables and an adequate socket.
It’s the kind of feeling you get when you walk into an egg store with the sole intention of baking numerous cakes which require many eggs and the egg store has a big sign on it that says ‘sorry, we are out of eggs’ and you are overcome with fury because holy hell, this is an egg store what else does an egg store DO?
And your head feels like it is constantly in a vice. There is a very visceral accompaniment of pain. You are actually distracted from any worldly thing or conversation because the screaming white noise in your head, calling out for nicotine, is all you can concentrate on. It’s like you’re the only person in the world who can hear a constant stream of microphone feedback at a tribute performance for the 22nd-in-line understudies of a Korn tribute band.
People will try and cheer you up by, perhaps bringing you an assortment of baked goods with edible fairies on top and you will unhinge your jaw before swallowing everything, including a table leg, and then scream at them for not bringing enough.