21 November 2009
Cigarettes Are To Me What Nicky Arnstein was to Fanny Brice
Stopping smoking. It has NEVER EVER been this difficult. I have a free counselor at the NYC Stop Smoking program (dial 311) , and he was trying to help.
"Hi, this is Mark. What is the problem?"
"Mark", I said, "I love smoking. I just do. Smoking is great. And all the cool kids do it."
"Terry", he said, as everyone always has, and always will,.."It is very very unhealthy.Terry, smoking is bad for you. Smoking kills."
"Yes, Mark. I think I heard that somewhere. But what do you DO?When you feel you want a cigarettte more than you CARE about that remaining 40 years you'd have otheriwse?
Mark breathed in and out stentoriously. I suddenly thought, "Oh my God! He's smoking!!"
He wasn't though. He was thinking of new ways to make me unhappy.
"Kerry..." "Kerry, did you get the Help Booklet, that had all the drawings of cigaretts on it? The Quit Book. With the, like, the drawing of a pack on it."
"Well, did it help?"
I paused. "Well, Mark, to be honest...not."
Mark: "Mary, why not?"
Peri: "Because, Mark. I smoked it."
He wasn't sure I was kidding. Frankly, neither was I. Mark sounded like, if he'd ever smoked, it was because all the other kids were doing it. Not becuse it was cool and made you look French and outrageous. He sounded like...well, he sounded like a quitter to me, pal. Nobody likes a quitter. "I don't CARE if these Newports are making you ill. You get in there and inhale, young man!"
Anyway, as my ol'Southern pal Cracka Jay used to say about this great aunt, a former burly-Q dancer and singer who always wore a beehive, a caftan and purple eyeliner:
"My Aun' Selma, she dint smoke fa nicotine. She smoke fa ........styyyyyle."
Well, don't smoke, kids, and don't do drugs. You'll have a long, insanely boring life, which will seem TWICE as long because you're not drinking or doing drugs,and people will mock you behind your back because you're self-righteous and pompous, but it's worth it.-Offhand, I can't remember why, though.