Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Smoking cigarettes

I wholly endorse Inigo Thomas's Slate diary entry about smoking, particularly this paragraph, which echoes something my narrator says in Heredity:

You know that when you do give up smoking, you'll think about cigarettes for the rest of your life: There's no such thing as an ex-smoker, just a smoker not smoking (which for a smoker may be the hardest, simplest idea to comprehend). A couple of years ago, in a nonsmoking phase, a friend of mine commended me on breaking the habit. "I haven't stopped smoking," I replied indignantly. "I'm a smoker not smoking: That's all."

(That's him speaking, not my narrator.)

I am a smoker not smoking. I am also a smoker not smoking who has smoked six (yes, that's three x two) cigarettes in the last month after not smoking a single cigarette since August, when I realized not only that my chronic bronchitis had become mortifyingly embarrassing but that while I didn't care if I ended up a sixty-five-year-old with lung cancer, I would have an awful lot of explaining to do as an upper-middle-class thirty-some-year-old toting around an oxygen tank for my emphysema. The first two cigarettes I smoked in early May under quite peculiar circumstances that involved me drinking beer and baking 100 luridly iced cupcakes at 1am at home alone in my apartment after a former beau (then and now an out-of-towner) left his pack of cigarettes behind when he went out on the town for the night with another old friend. He was staying with me in theory but still hadn't gotten home when I left at noon the next day (to go and get ready for the cupcake-related party). Both the cigarettes and the visit were quite enjoyable. As was the party. The cupcakes in particular were a great hit.

I am in a frivolous mood today because at around 3:15 this afternoon I printed out the final final draft of the last chapter of my novel. Then I fedexed it to my agent. So all is well.


  1. Strictly speaking, it was 96 cupcakes, not 100, since you make them in trays of 2 x 12.

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