Monday, November 5, 2012

Day Two

I am in the process of attempting to quit smoking. Note that I say "in the process" and "attempting". I've been down this road before. To date my success rate has been, you guessed it, zero.

I once quit for six months. Ruined that by going to an establishment in the panhandle of Florida where they served adult beverages and the staff included a number of ecdysiasts. Smoking in bars was allowed back in those days.

I went with my wife's brother-in-law (Smitty, of Uncle Smitty's Hamsters fame). The conversation we had (after a few beverages containing hops) went something like this.

<To Set the Scene: Envision low level lighting, lots of noise (both "musical" and verbal) and lots of tobacco smoke in the air>

Me: Smitty, give me a cigarette.

Smitty: No. You haven't smoked in six months. Your wife might kill me if I give you a cigarette.

Me: Okay, Smitty, let me explain this to you. My wife might kill you if you give me a cigarette. On the other hand, I will kill you if you don't give me a cigarette.

Smitty: <Thinking for a moment...>

Me: <Tapping fingers on the bar...>

Smitty: I need to go to the bathroom. Watch my stuff...

With that, Smitty got up and left for the Men's Room. Leaving his cigarettes and lighter on the bar. In my keeping. Smitty was (and still is) a very smart guy. You see, by leaving his cigarettes on the bar, unattended by himself, he has given himself plausible deniability.

"What? You took one of my cigarettes? Your wife is gonna kill you!"

Clever guy. In this manner Smitty has protected himself from my wife killing him. And put the onus on me. Where it clearly belonged.

But I digress...

Much as I hate to do so, I must give partial credit for this latest attempt to cease and desist smoking to Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Mabus. He of the edict that the Navy Exchange shall charge prices for tobacco products similar to that available on the local economy. Which, while not putting cigarettes beyond my ability to afford them, did price them well beyond my willingness to pay for them. In other words, SECNAV was the straw which broke the camel's back.

Now there has been a vast murmuring crowd which has been on my back for a number of months to quit smoking. Whilst I know well the perils of smoking and the hazards to one's health, I have been reluctant to give up the bad habit for a number of (admittedly lame) reasons:

1) I can't quit now. Not with all this traveling for work and its attendant stress.

2) But I enjoy smoking.

3) I'm still young, there's plenty of time yet in which to quit.

4) My grandfather smoked until the day he died. At the age of 81.

5) My Dad didn't quit until he was in his late 50's. He lived to be 82.

Etc. Etc. As I said, lame excuses all.

So what were the things that really motivated me to really attempt to quit once and for all? (Note that these are not in any particular order.)

1) My grandchildren. Blog-buddy Tuna remarked once that his Mom had died from lung cancer. It really pissed him off that his daughter could not really remember her grandmother. I now have three grandchildren. I am, hands down, the goofiest SOB in the entire family. How can I deprive them of knowing (and fully appreciating) their grandfather's goofiness and semi-sophisticated sense of humor? I want the chance to act up and perhaps semi-embarrass them at their weddings!

2) My wife. She used to smoke. She just up and quit one day. I asked her if she wanted a cigarette one morning and she said "No, I quit." When I asked her "since when?", she responded with "since today". The lady has amazing willpower. When she sets her mind to something, it just happens. She has her mind on my quitting. Therefore I must quit. While her willpower is truly awe-inspiring, her wrath is also amazing and terrifying to behold. I do not wish to face said wrath. No thank you.

3) My Mom. Enough said. After all, what lad does not wish to please his mother?

4) My kids. They give me crap about smoking from time to time. And as I get older, I realize that they are a lot smarter than me. By several orders of magnitude. So perhaps it is time for me to start listening to them. The student becomes the teacher and all that. But they're right, God Bless 'em.

So this is day two of the Old AF Sarge's Smoking Cessation Campaign.

I mean to fight it out on this line if it takes all winter.

We shall see. But so far, so good. Two days and I haven't had a cigarette. And I have neither killed anybody nor yelled at anybody.

Perhaps this time, it'll stick.


Day Three is well underway. No cigarettes have been smoked. No one has been harmed by my nicotine-withdrawal symptoms.

This is hard.

Carry on...


  1. :) Don't forget to ask for help- from higher and maybe even some nicorette. Make a plan though, for what to do when you come across other smokers, stressful situations, etc. Best of luck. I know you can do it.

    1. Thanks Tuna. Appreciate it. I have an open comms channel to Sky Six and know that many are pulling for me. I. Am. Going. To. Make. This. Work.

    2. Do that Nicorette thang. I quit ciggies five years ago but I'm still chewing that damned gum, with my doctor's approval. "Better than smoking," sez he... and then she (I changed doctors). I'm still addicted to nicotine; I just changed delivery systems. ;-)

    3. That's one thing I'm trying to avoid (the change in nicotine delivery systems that is). I just keep telling myself "Damnit! I can do this." Particularly with the support I'm getting round these parts. It's good to have Blog-Buds!

  2. Best of luck. I've been hooked for 41 years, with no more than a two or three day gap at any time. Six months, as you once did, would seem a double lifetime to me. I'm saying a prayer for you.

    1. Appreciate it Suldog. I've been smoking (with that one break) for approximately 36 years. I just decided (for reasons cited in my post) that enough was enough. I certainly can use the prayers!

  3. Congratulations! To quit smoking is one of the hardest tasks ever! I have smoke been free since '76,it was definitely a struggle. There's a million good reasons to stop and still our brain tells us ' go ahead one puff won't hurt'...But it wiil hurt , dont believe the lies you tell yourself. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks Greg. It won't be easy but what the heck, I needed a new challenge anyway.

      Groan, this sucks...

      I can do this - I can do this - I can do this - I can do this - I can do this - I can do this

    2. I recall reading about a man who decided to quit once and for all time. He took what he referred to as the "Napoleonic" approach. perhaps you have heard of it. He told everbody he knew that he was quitting, the premise being that his pride wouldn't let him pick the habit back up. it seemed appropriate to tell the writer of 'Chant du Depart' ...Keep up the good work!

    3. The "Napoleonic" approach? Beautiful, outstanding. That's perfect (or "parfait", if you will).

      Vive l'Empereur!

  4. My wife. She used to smoke. She just up and quit one day.

    True story: my ex- beat herself up mercilessly for her inability to quit while she was pregnant with SN3 (this bein' 15 years ago). That said, we shared a cigarette on the way to the delivery room and she took her very last drag as the valet parking guy drove our car away from the hospital entrance. She never smoked another cigarette and I always wondered just how in the Hell she did that. I, OTOH, continued to smoke and that was one of the many reasons our marriage ended... everything I did was wrong.

    1. Oh brother I hear ya on that. There are days when everything I do is graded as an epic fail by my "better half". But I hang in there, because every now I then I get an "OK-3". Hell I can't imagine who else would put up with either of us after all the years we've been together!

  5. Dad,
    Just wanted to say I love you and thank you for trying this.
    If it helps-I promise not to place a picture of us in the cigarette pack-I recall you telling me (quite fondly) that it would increase your rate of smoking.
    If this even slightly increases our chances of keeping you here forever-then I will do whatever is necessary to help you through this.
    I love you and Keep it up!
    Also---physical proof that I read your blog!
    Love, "The Nuke"

    1. OMG sweetie! Here you've commented on my blog and I just noticed it. You so have to get a picture in there for when you comment. I would (of course) have some suggestions. Just so you know. I'm now on DAY TWELVE!

      Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you "The Nuke", my oldest daughter.

      Someone of whom I am most proud. The picture of the kids to put in the cigarette pack? True story!


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