Dear Phillip Morris, It’s not you, it’s me . . .

I love blaming my habit on Hemingway.

He’d get drunk before tending to the fertile crop of words inside his brilliantly tortured brain, and he’d chase his inebriation with a box of Cuban cigars. A writer’s emergency kit, if you will.

Of course, he did end up blowing that brilliant brain across a wall, so . . . yanno.

On April 22nd, I decided to vanquish his ghost. Not the alcoholic part, since I’ve never had the intestinal fortitude to abide by such a religion as that. I order a third martini with a pillow. Definition: Lightweight.

Nah, the smokes. I replaced them with some Tao. Since Taoism doesn’t blow its brains out, except maybe to achieve enlightenment. And I can live with that.

Anyways . . . my top five better habits.

Chess- This game requires the patience of a sapling. And time? Well, it’s a pretty big deal for a smoker, considering as how we always seem to find the three to five minutes with which to partake. Time is rendered an inconsequential heap of ash. Whereas with chess, time gains weight in substantive increments. Much better.

Juggling– When I felt the urge to light up a few weeks back, I broke out my juggling balls and re-learned an old hobby. I invested three to five minutes (average smoking time) to this.

Tennis– When I was smoking, I adopted a bullshit philosophy that the cardio benefits of tennis (It’s the sporting equivalent of a Super-food) were my carbon monoxide credits; its purchase lessening the effects of using my body as a toxic dumping ground. In the six weeks since, I’ve come to understand the misheard lyrics to this torch song. My improved concentration has led to an overall improvement in my game which led to . .  drum roll, por favor . . . a win over my daughter this afternoon! Amazing what your neurotransmitters can accomplish when they’re not Jonesing for a cig break, huh?

Reconnecting with my Inner Sweet Tooth– Since giving up the smokes, my pantry looks as if it has been commandeered by Oompa Loompas. Tootsie Roll Pops, Hershey’s Dark, Luigi’s Ice Pops, Chocolate Covered Altoids, York peppermint patties . . .

Okay, it’s not advisable to replace smoking with sugar comas. The point is, this new addiction possesses more constructive denouements than chasing a cigarette with a drink or vice versa. After the first week and change of sugar overload, I realized that I needed to readjust. So I added honey and fruits into the equation and in so doing, moderated my candy allowance. Smokes don’t work like that.

Vegetarian Summer– The vegetarian women of my life are my inspiration for this one. My girlfriend introduced me to my new protein crush- Quinoa- and my daughter has reminded me that food is to be celebrated, not mutilated.

Hey Papa? Don’t preach.


12 thoughts on “Dear Phillip Morris, It’s not you, it’s me . . .

  1. You are so “hideous” Cayman! Way to go beating your daughter! Woohoo! You reminded me of something funny. I was downstairs with my kids several years ago and found my old la crosse balls. I never played la crosse. I started juggling and had forgotten that I knew how! College in Madison, Wisconsin… 🙂

  2. So, we have a Tao tennis playing, part time juggler, neo-Chessric, vegetarian. Your 3 dimensionality has taken on new light my dear. Proud of your discipline to quit smoking…now you stink no more and your pretty teeth shine (not to mention your skin won’t turn blue with age now)! Quinoa? Before I became a vegetarian I would have told you that was a relative species to a Koala Bear. Tastes pretty good, huh? Now tell me if Tempeh tastes like chicken.

    Hemingway, God rest his soul, I also dearly enjoy reading. Hills Like White Elephants-my unusual favorite.

    • Now I am eating quinoa with everything. And yes, I like tempeh, even if I don’t think it tastes like chicken. I am currently reading “The Sadness of the Samurai” and really liking it.

  3. This past February will mark 25 years smoke free–I made the promise part of my wedding vow, but it took me a few years to accomplish it. As far as Quinoa: keep those wise women around! Apparently their love for you runs deep.

    • Congratulations on a very important anniversary, Petal. I made the promise part of my wedding vow as well. Only problem was, I didn’t stick to it. I did very well through most of my marriage, but would partake now and again.

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