Saturday, June 28, 2008

Smoker's Droop is So Scary It Makes Me Want to Smoke

Allow me a moment of full disclosure: I used to smoke.

Not because it was sexy, or cool looking, or a great way to spark up idle conversation outside a bar with a prospective evening encounter (all of which is true) but because I genuinely loved the taste, the feel, the je ne sais quoi of it all.

The smooth flavor from a newly opened pack of Reds making contact with your lips...the first drag you take while watching your cigarette illuminate the night sky...and the almost wistful feeling one has having reached the butt end of one, only to long for the alluring taste of yet another one...ahhh.

Yet for all intensive purposes, I lacked the credentials to be a fully fledged member of the Marlboro mafia. My parents didn't smoke, most of my friends didn't smoke, I didn't grow up in a neighborhood of smokers and spent most of my childhood disgusted by even the slightest whiff of secondhand smoke. Christ, even my first few girlfriends hated smokers (which is probably why I picked up the habit of compulsive chaining in dark alleyways and abandoned garages).

I was not the prototypical young smoker enticed by the inherent aesthetic allure. I genuinely just loved their texture, their taste.

Which is why it's strange for me to feel sad about commemorating the one year anniversary of my last cigarette. It's like paying respects to an old friend,(coupled with the anxiousness of having one's libido go cold turkey for seemingly eternity) if your old friend wasn't dead but actually alive and always in front of you, yet unable to hear or feel you (sort of like Patrick Swayze in "Ghost" sans the awkward Whoopi-Demi kiss).

Unlike my fellow smoking brethren, I never truly got to enjoy a "public" smoking life, always hiding my compulsive smoking shame under shrouds of hypocritical admonishment. I even joined and eventually became a leader of an anti-smoking youth group, preaching the Good anti-Philip Morris Word at various elementary/high schools and going so far as filming a crappy school commercial (though admittedly my intentions for joining the group were more female inspired than altruistic- God, that girl was fine).

But then the cliched cavalcade of health problems emerged: wheezing, heart palpitations, coughing up blood, the inability to endure more than four minutes of foreplay without feeling like I'd run the New York marathon; it was as if my beloved cancer sticks were conspiring to kill me in one flailing swoop.

And so it is today I celebrate my emancipation from the tyranny of my beloved smokes, watching smoking passersby with a lustful eye and reminiscing about memories of smoke filled melancholy mornings and naughty nicotine nights.

To commemorate the occasion (and convince myself not to knock on Mr. Marlboro's door), here's a series of ads from Australia's Action on Smoking and Health, which effectively attempts to strike the fear of impotence or the condition "smoker's droop" into the hearts (and groins) of Aussie smokers:

All you smokers out there- light up one for me, please? (God, even secondhand smoke is starting to smell good).

0 painful displays of affection:

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