Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Update on the Addiction Process Pt.1

I quit buying cigarettes again. That's twice.

The first time I quit was less a "quit" and more a lifelong policy never to buy them. For myself, at least! I had bought 2 packs for myself in my life (extenuating circumstances requiring a bit of chain-smoking), but I'd probably purchased about 12, 13 packs for other people, over the course of years of life. Generally they'd hand me the money for it: I was less "buying them," and more "picking them up." But in more than a few cases at least (packs! Not cases. Wait, they call them "cartons" - that clarification was unnecessary) I would buy a pack sans recompense for a friend who'd bummed their share of butts at me. That would be the only time I'd smoke, you see: in the capacity of a bum.

Which was a very good plan! No chance of addiction at that point. You can't get addicted that way; at least, you'd have to be a whole hell of a lot more charming than me. And make no mistake: I'm charming, in my own brash and hapless way. People would tap me on the shoulder, "you coming outside?" - and I'd come outside, and they'd bum one at me for the company. It was a nice exchange. People in a minor personal crisis know I give good ear, to say nothing of my generously opinionated remarks! These were probably not technically "advice," but people would take it under advisement and generally found it helpful. I always liked being helpful - and a smoke to go with it? Luxurious. But more often, no crisis was involved. The smoker just wanted to bring me out amongst the smoke and other smokers, as a general value-added social variable. I can speak amusingly when I'm talking to no purpose!

Not to toot my own horn or anything (much.) (HONK!) I'm not claiming to be universally loved and admired, or socially-indispensable in any way. It's more than likely people liked to have me around to laugh at. And I'm aware - "at," not necessarily "with!" Many of the observations I come out with are patently ludicrous. Fit for nothing but incredulous hilarity, and no particular credit to the speaker's intellect or sense of humor (incomprehensible absurdity rarely is). But I have never minded being laughed at for those kinds of remarks. Firstly, because I can't see the harm in being a cause of laughter whether the laughter be at me, with myself as the object of humor, or with me, with the laugher and I joining in a shared understanding of the world's comic, often darkly-comic aspect. Secondly, and more importantly, because I balance my foolish remarks with others: people seem frequently struck with what I say as beautiful or deep, and it must be worth the one to occasionally get the other. I myself don't seem to be able to judge the difference. In my head, a thought always seems pretty plausible, pretty safe to venture. I can't tell if it's nonsense or not until I hear my own words taking vaporous shape on the air. Only then can I appreciate what I've heard myself say. Jeez, with the needlessly-detailed neurotically-existential introspection! Can you tell I've been reading Ed Poe lately? How middle-school.

I'm really not that type. In person I'm far more like what I'm like when I've been reading Twain.

In any case, judging from their actions at least, people seemed to enjoy bumming smokes at me to help ease their tobacco-related temporary exiles, and I have always been more than OK with helping them with their habit. But I had my personal "no-buy" rule, to keep me from developing a habit of my own. I think I've even talked about that here before. I'll put the 'addiction' tag on this post, it may come up.

Anyway, all that changed in this past September, when (cued by a minor personal crisis of my own, which hardly matters now) I decided the time for the "no buy" rule had passed. You know what? This story is pretty long already. THE END


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