The Ecphorizer

Nick, Nick, Nick that Nicotine
Bill Harvey

Issue #25 (September 1983)

God gave men two hands, one for a drink and one for a smoke

I have just gone through many, many days of sheer unadulterated torture. Several weeks back, I put out a cigar, and in spite of tingling nerves, bitten fingernails, waking up in the night screaming and little unbidden whimpers passing my lips, I've not lit another cigar. I'm fine. I've not

'...I have a martini in this hand, and NOTHING in the other hand...'

had a cigar in three months. At least, not physically. I've dreamed of, conjured up, lusted after, coveted and wished for a cigar. At least for the first several days.

[quoteright]As a matter of fact, for the first several days, it took all of the self control that I could muster to merely refrain from mugging the nearest smoker for his nicotine. There are many people walking the face of the city, smoking their various concoctions of herbage, who have absolutely no idea how close they came to a severe episode of hit-and-run molestation.

I managed to restrain myself.

Ann is very proud of me. I had been smoking for only about two years, and for that entire time, she had been sending little subtle hints to me about smoking. She has never smoked. She thinks it's easy to quit. She thinks that all you have to do is not put them in your mouth. So, she's been dropping little hints. She had my names put on the Heart Association's list. She hid my matches. (I bought a BIC). She hid my BIC. She came into the room wearing a clothespin on her nose (spring type). As time wore on, she became a little less subtle. Once, she crawled across the living room floor, threw open the front door and fell through it, gasping, wheezing, and choking. I was naturally concerned. "WHAT'S WRONG!??!!?" "Oh, nothing, dear." A long, level, eloquent gaze at my cigar.

Then there was the time in the very nice restaurant when I reached into my pocket and got a cigar in one hand, and my BIC in the other. She screamed at the top of her lungs, "NO! NO! Not that! Anything but that!" and ran out of the place, knocking over a table and a bus boy on the way. It was her turn to buy, too!

It is not easy to quit. I remember a friend, named George, who quit. George liked nothing better than to go home after a hard day at the office, sit down with a Martini in one hand and cigarette in the other, and just relax. He described the process to me about a week after he quit,

"I go home at night and sit down, and I have a Martini in this hand, and NOTHING in the other hand..." then he would whimper quietly and roll into a fetal ball.

I've had a lot of support from my friends. On the other hand, some of my friends are the reason that I smoked as long as I did. I have a fatal character flaw. If someone tells me that I can't do something, I'll move heaven and earth to prove that I can. I have met some pretty militant nonsmokers who have informed me that I was really stupid to smoke, and besides, I was bothering them. Oh, yeah? Anyway, it looks like I'm going to make it. The interval between pains is becoming longer and longer. The cramps are almost gone and my hair is starting to grow back. Everywhere, that is, except on the top of my head. Don't worry, though. I'm not going to be one of those holier-than-thou non-smokers who can't stand to see a person enjoy a good smoke. If you want to smoke, that's your privilege. Why, just the other day, I...'scuse me a minute ...You! HEY, YOU! yeah, YOU! You mind puttin' out that damn cigarette before you burn a hole in my story? Nasty, filthy habit! Now, as I was saying ....

Bill Harvey, ignoring our offers of free fame, has been demanding enormous royalties for this month's article on cigarettes.  What this country needs is a good five-cent author.

More Articles by Bill Harvey

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