Mama A and I are big fans of Madmen, the dramatic series about an ad agency in New York in the early 1960's. The new season starts in August and we can't wait. There's currently fun promotion on the AMC Madmen website that allows you to Madmen Yourself. You can see my evil-eye-patch-marketing-twin avatar in this post, complete with a cigarette and a martini.
One of the main characters, Don Draper, isn't the poster-father-husband of goodness and light. Far from it. He's a complicated and dark character that makes for good dramatic fiction, and so his character isn't supposed to be a role for fathers - then or now.
But man, I miss the smoking. Yep, didn't I tell you? I was a smoker for almost 20 years. Loved it, especially when drinking. The alcohol accentuated the burning flow of smoke-filled nicotine to head, heart and lungs - setting every cell afire.
In fact, the first thing I did every morning was light up. Two cigarettes from the get go before anything else. I looked forward to the smack many times throughout the day.
There's a very cool song by K's Choice called "I'm not an addict" and part of the repetitive chorus goes:
It's not a habit, it's cool
I feel alive
If you don't have it you're on the other side
I'm not an addict (maybe that's a lie).
Yes, it is a lie. I don't miss smoking. I miss the way nicotine lit me up like a neon sign while calming me at the same time. It's the drug I miss.
You don't choose to smoke once you've started. One cigarette and then a pack and you're on the hook for more. You're hooked on the smack, simple as that.
You don't choose to smoke once you've started. The only choice you have is not to smoke. Addiction is selfish that way. (Learned that from Nicotine Anonymous.)
When we were in Illinois a couple of weeks ago, it seemed as though we passed a cigarette "emporium" every few blocks. Exaggerating, yes, but still there were many. In fact we passed the "Cigarette Emporium" whose sign said:
We like smokers!
Of course you do, silly.
My official quit date was September 22, 2002, and although I've fallen down a few times since, I'm sticking to that date. (And thank goodness I had Mama A for "forceful" moral support.)
According to the American Heart Association, cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. It accounts for more than 440,000 of the more than 2.4 million annual deaths.
Some may consider that a great way to thin out the herd, but I'd prefer car accidents to addictive carcinogens. Colour me crazy (the British way).
Check out the website thetruth.com. You've probably seen the controversial commercials and the site doesn't disappoint.
A fun factoid from thetruth.com: In 1978, one tobacco executive said that "unhappiness causes cancer."
Wow. It's pretty clear where they're coming from.
According to the New York Times, in 1998, one tobacco executive said, "Nobody knows what you’d turn to if you didn’t smoke. Maybe you’d beat your wife."
Please. Cigarettes got nothing on domestic violence.
This year was the third year I ran the local race Wharf to Wharf. It's a 10K and every mile before and after that race, or any other race I may run, is a mile run for my life, my wife and my child.
Like I said, addiction is selfish and non-discriminatory. Fellow daddies (and mommies) out there who still smoke or battle with addiction of any kind, get help and let yourself be helped.
The only choice you have is not to do it. You've got your families and futures counting on you.