Thursday, November 03, 2005

Marlboro man

Walking the dog last night for her final bladder respite, I found myself wondering why in the hell I continue to smoke (even as little as I do) when I have every reason in the world to drop the filthy fucking habit entirely.

For the record, I’m down to one cigarette a day on said walk, the only exception coming on Sunday nights at the veritable football frenzy at a local pub when I allow myself the ‘luxury’ of choking down as many as I would like to accompany the two bolshoi pints of lager I indulge in on this little evening of sensory overload…and it’s really nice.

But here’s the thing: my grandmother on my mom’s side has lung cancer. This saint of a woman who, along with my grandfather, played such an important part in who I am and how I got here, gave up the cancer convention a lifetime ago. But because of the years (decades?) that she did indulge, she was stricken…and it tears me up just like it does the rest of our family. If this thing can take out the family matriarch, what chance do we (me and the other family smokers) stand?

Now, if this was the only incentive to quit, and it is a strong reason to spur one on to dump the damn things, great...but it’s not my lone motive. I’m going to be a dad. Hell, I’m already someone’s dad! He or she just has yet to make the grand entrance from my wife’s womb. And as scary as that notion of fatherhood can be and is, it’s also without question, the greatest thing I’ve ever been a part of. Well I mean, my wife Wendy Lu, she’s doing all the work of actually growing the baby, but I put it in there, I talk to it, I pat the budding Buddha belly and I’m counting the days until we meet face to face…that’s got to count for something, right?

For the record, I don’t smoke around Wendy Lu. No way, no how, no sir. I actually find myself reacting violently if someone at one of Kiev’s eateries has the audacity to light up even in the remote vicinity of my bride’s ballooning belly and baby to be. But the thing is, I want to be here awhile. I want to make certain that I not only watch this kid grow up, but also that I'm a very active participant in all the trouble he or she is going to get into.

I actually gave the damn things up a couple of months before making the jump across the pond. They were just too damned expensive anymore. Hell, in Denver circa 2003 I was dropping nearly 3 bucks per pack. But after walking by kiosk after kiosk day after day hocking the deadly wares for 4 hryvnia, the equivalent of 80 cents, well…my cheapness and my craving won out.

It’s an interesting smoking culture because unlike the States, everybody still lights up. There are a handful of non-smoking restaurants and that’s helped, but enough with the excuses. It’s not the money or the culture or the restaurants or the beer…it’s just that I like to smoke sometimes. Those little things we like to do, those that get us into trouble, those are the ones that turn out to be the hardest to put down. But…

That baby, my wife, and the lessons I’m still learning from my grandmother…that’s got to count for something, right?

what have we done with innocence?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great writing.........

9:50 PM  

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