The beauty of quitting is, now that I’ve quit, I can have one, ’cause I’ve quit.

A few years back I quit smoking cigarettes.  It was a good thing.  It was the smart thing to do.  I had already slowed to the pace of the occasional smoker, only with friends and only a night or two a week.  So when my wife to be asked me to cut the habit for good, I was fine with it.  It wasn’t the first time I had quit.  The college I went to had anti-smoking policies, so during the semesters I was nicotine free.  I’ve never had what I would consider an addiction: the hardest part of not smoking was feeling a bit awkward when hanging out with my still-smoking friends.  It was the fidgeting of my fingers that just felt empty, not a nervous need for a smoke.

I distinctly remember one of the times that I quit (don’t judge, most quit at least twice).  I had over half a pack left, but I had decided to drop it, at least for the time being.  I walked out of a grocery store and lit up my “last” one.  I looked down in the pack and saw all those lovely white sticks, those eleven or twelve perfectly recessed filters and wonderfully scripted blue type elegantly letting the reader know that the bit of heaven they are about to enjoy is a Parliament.

Now being the cheap person that I am, I couldn’t throw them away.  That had been my intention, but now that the moment of truth was upon me, the trashcan at my right hand, I couldn’t do it.  I know you’re probably thinking that I was just having second thoughts about quitting, but that really wasn’t it.  I couldn’t just throw them away.  I spent four bucks on that pack, and I wasn’t about to chuck it in the trash.

Then came the moment of redemption.  I saw a homeless guy sitting on a bench just down the way a bit.  He was next to an ashtray and was digging around in it a bit.  Perfect!  I give him the pack, he’s happy, I’m happy, and I get to hear his story for a bit.  I’ve always enjoyed talking to homeless people.  I got some of the best advice I’ve ever received from a man who lived in a park.  Best of all, I don’t have to throw the cigarettes away.

I walk up to him, feeling very cool and with it, and I pull out this smooth line: Hey man, do me a favor.  Can you take this pack off me?  I really gotta quit, you know?  He looks up at me, then down at the pack.  He looks back up at me with a pained expression as if I had just asked him to swallow a medium-sized cactus. “Yeah, I don’t smoke that brand.”

Seriously?

“Seriously.”

All this while he’s digging in the ashtray.  Talk about brand loyalty.  I walked back to my car, more than a little confused.  Did that just happen?  My cigarettes just got snubbed by a guy digging around for butts in an ashtray.

Then I started to wonder: what brand does this guy smoke?  I’ve got to try them.  They’ve got to be incredible.  I went back to find him, but he was already gone.

I don’t know what happened to that half pack.  It doesn’t really matter, I guess.

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8 responses to “The beauty of quitting is, now that I’ve quit, I can have one, ’cause I’ve quit.

  1. That was an interesting little anecdote. I’ve realized that what I like best about your blog is your excellent writing. Every post is a pleasure to read, but now, I too really want to know what brand he smoked!

  2. You described that to a tee. I’ve been trying to quit for years. I’ve relished many “last” cigarettes. There’s this other voice you share your head with finds all different ways to justify buying a pack . I’ll buy one, pull out 6 or so and leave the pack at the ashtray in front of a building, all the while my brain is making calculations (“take 7 out and smoke one now and it’ll be like you only smoked 6 today”). weirdness. if you’ve quit again congrats- don’t ever go back. every time i quit – it only takes one and then i’m back full force.

  3. I had a lot of last cigarrettes over around 20 years.

    I am a non-smoker now. I went from a 30 a day smoker to zero in one day. I used the power of positive thinking which can be learnt in a few days for the purposes of stopping smoking. Once you have stopped smoking using this method, you realise how powerful positive thinking really is. So you are left being an ex-smoker and a positive thinker.

    I’ve actually written an ebook on this. Using my method, I just felt liberated and positive from day 1. You can read the first 2 chapters of my ebook on my site for free

    http://www.positive-thinking-stop-smoking.com

  4. I have been smoke free for 6 1/2 days now. I stopped because my boss was trying. He was on day three and useing a patch. I felt using a patch was cheating and he was a panzy. So I did it to show him what a wus he was. I know mean, but if you really want to quit, do it. No excuses! 3 days of hell and you have it out of you system. using a patch just draws out the quitting process.

  5. I am curious to find out what blog system you have been utilizing?
    I’m experiencing some small security problems with my latest site and I would like to find something more safe. Do you have any solutions?

  6. In fact when someone doesn’t be aware of afterward its up to other viewers that they will help, so here it happens.

  7. Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward
    this post to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a very
    good read. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Very good blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the
    same topics discussed in this article? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get advice from other
    knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any
    recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!

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