So it was like magic, Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford came miraculously to my hand and though I have not a minute to read anything non-work-related the book sort of just inadvertently fell open for me to read the perfect letter, it was like the fruit falling into your hands in Milton's Eden before the Fall. (The collection's edited by Peter Y. Sussman, who has some nice bits of the letters up at his website.)
I've always had a thing for Jessica Mitford, but reading this letter was comically like reading something written by myself--my alternate self--not that you would want often or always to be reading something written by your alternate self, but in this case it was absolutely delightful, and I am irresponsibly going to type in the whole letter instead of grading papers (those who know me will find it peculiarly apt--don't worry, I'm not going to take up smoking again):
April 20, 1985
I believe you said that I should ring you on Friday? Instead, I'm writing on Saturday. Somehow I rather hate to telephone doctors for fear they are in the midst of curing somebody from a DIRE DISEASE, or setting broken legs etc., hence might find it a dull distraction to hear from a self-indulgent old soul who hasn't the brains or the will-power to give up smoking....
In a way, just writing to you the other day with FULL CONFESSION may have been Step #1, i.e. a splash of determination.
On Wednesday, 17 April, I went & fetched the disgusting chewing gum & pills from Chimes.
On Thurs, 18th April I started doing all that, ditto Fri. 19th & today, Sat. 20.
Now here's the amazing thing: I was fully expecting to be a quivering mass of misery (like last time, only perhaps worse), unable to work, concentrate etc. So it came as a delightful surprise that it wasn't a BIT like that; in fact it's now Day 3, and actually I'm feeling perfectly OK, qutie ordinary & not in any agony.
A couple of observations: The fall from grace was rather gradual, not precipitate. Started with the odd puff from somebody's cig. at a party. Then--oh dear--Bob had brought home from Mexico a little package of cigars, which I smoked up. Wishing to replace them (as I hadn't asked him for them) I bought a few more--and, alas, smoked those. Next I found these really heavenly things called Sherman's Cigarettellos which I hid (I am sorry to say) behind a shelf of Bibles & prayer-books, thinking that's the LAST place anyone would look. I was having approx. 10 of these delicious treats a day--vs. about 30 a day in the dear, dead old days of Chesterfields.
Needless to say, the incredible kindness of Bob and Dinky over the original horrors of quitting--not to mention other friends, & even the nice lady at the liquor store who was my source for CHESTERFIELDS & who said "Good for you!" when I told her I'd quit--were a bit of a knife in the heart, when I became a CLOSET SMOKER.
I do think that the lifesaver for the hopeless, abject addict may be that absolutely horrible chewing gum.
I've had about six a day--the literature says "Do not take more than 30 a day"--not bloody likely!
I've also had about 2 a day of those pills you ordered; but those seem to have no effect whatsoever.
End of MEDICAL REPORT.
Thanks VERY much for bothering about all this, Decca