I’m a quitter.
I quit smoking nine years ago today, one of the best things I've ever done. I still recall my very first ciggie. I was 17, had just graduated high school, moved out and got a full-time job, working the assembly line in a factory on the night shift. Back then, folks smoked in the regular break room; no smoking sections or need to “take it outside". It happened in my 1972 Dodge Colt, driving home from work. I packed down the leaves with several slaps of the pack to my palm. The crinkle of gold foil. The "schwooot" sound when the flint scraped the metal wheel of my disposable Bic. The interior of the car glowed as I lit the tip of a Marlboro Light 100 and drew in deep…then hacked and choked like a fat guy with a chicken wing stuck in his pipe. I kept going until the choking eased.
I smoked until I was 32 years old. Fifteen years. I now detest the smell of smoke, the mess of floaty gray ashes and sight of a dirty ashtray. If I'm at a concert or club, come home in the wee hours and smell smoke in my hair, I have to wash it out before going to bed. Given that my vanity has grown with my age, I breathe a now-clean sigh of relief that I didn’t continue the damage to my skin, teeth and lips. Oh yea, and my heart and lungs.