Letter From Milo: Smoke Out

August 6th, 2018

Okay. Here we go again. I’m trying to quit smoking for the 300th time. I’ve got all my shit with me – Nicorette gum, Tootsie Pops, sugarless chewing gum, literature from the alarmists at the American Heart and Lung associations, and a hotline number to call when the urge to smoke comes over me.

How hard can it be to quit smoking? I’ve given up a lot of other vices. I don’t use drugs anymore. I gave up hard liquor, although I do enjoy a glass or two of wine on occasion. I quit gambling. I gave up having crazy, acrobatic, and unprotected sex with supermodels. Matter of fact, now that I think about it, smoking is one of my only remaining vices.

So, how hard can it be to quit? For me, it’s close to impossible. I’ve tried acupuncture and laser treatments. The laser thing, in my opinion, was a rip-off. It cost more than $300 and I was smoking again half an hour after I walked out of the clinic.

I tried acupuncture about 20 years ago and it worked – for three weeks. I was smoke-free, on my way to a healthy life style. I was planning to join a health club, lift weights, and run marathons. I was going to become a better person, a Milo 2.0. The world was going to be my oyster.

Then, darn the luck, I had an attack of kidney stones. For those who have never been afflicted by kidney stones, consider yourselves lucky. It is one of the most painful conditions you can imagine. The only thing doctors can do is make you comfortable, and that means keeping you doped up on Demerol and running IV liquids through your system until you piss the damn stones out.

So, there I was at Illinois Masonic Hospital (as it was then known,) blissfully under the influence of a primo opiate, when I noticed that my attending nurse had a pack of cigarettes in her pocket. Of course, I bummed one, then talked her into buying me a pack of Marlboro Lights. I doubt Florence Nightingale would have approved.

I’ve tried to quit a couple of times since then but never lasted more than a few days. But this time – this time – I’m going to do it. For one thing, cigarettes are just getting way too expensive. At more than $8 a pack, I’m spending over fifty bucks a week. And the city and state are planning to raise the cigarette tax again in a month or two.

Another reason I’m going to quit is that my Wife and Kids are driving me crazy. They won’t let up. They’re on my case every day.

Wife: “Didn’t you feel like an idiot at the Ivcich‘s last night, going out on the porch and smoking those stupid cigarettes. It was freezing.”

Me: “It was pretty cold, heh heh.”

Daughter #1: “We don’t want you to die, Dad. Please stop.”

Daughter #2: “Nobody else smokes. It’s like totally embarrassing.”

Wife: “Plus you reek of smoke and you get those big bags under your eyes.”

Me: “What bags?”

Daughter #1: “More like suitcases.”

Daughter #2: “Duffle bags, actually.”

Me: “Very funny. Haven’t you kids got something to do, like homework?”

Wife: “Everybody’s just very concerned. It’s not like you’re a kid anymore.”

Me: “Let me get this straight. You’re telling me that I’m old, I stink, and I’m ugly. Is that what you’re telling me?”

Wife: “Kind of, yeah.”

Me: “Well, shit, honey. I already knew that.”

I don’t have great hopes about quitting. I know myself too well. But I have to give it a serious try, if only to have some peace and quiet at home. Still, when I think about it, it would be nice to get back in shape, lift some weights, do a little running. You never know, those nymphomaniac supermodels might come calling again. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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