This is my first post for this year and I was thinking about starting it off with a meaningful pledge—something like “From now on, I will no longer swear and use the name of God in vain” or “Today, I will become a vegetarian.” Unfortunately, such decisions are beyond my abilities, and the most I can do is to talk about old things that I will probably continue doing this year—such as smoking.
While many of my friends have heroically chose to effectively quit nicotine come 2010, unleashing a flood of Facebook status and Twitter updates on how splendidly they are getting along, I realized that I cannot “jump in the bandwagon.” I simply do not have any urgent reasons to shun cigarettes, at least not yet.
I remember this time I went to the hospital for a checkup and I had to wait in the lobby where there was a huge poster of what a smoker’s dead body would look like. The corpse, which must have been a human being once, was split open to display tar-blackened lungs and red, swollen innards which suspiciously resembled cuts of processed meat. Think rotten CDO or Pampanga’s Best. The main point of the poster of course was to scare and warn smokers that their internal organs would look disgusting, but other than mild surprise, it failed to elicit any sense of alarm in me. I know that by the time some doctor would cut me open like that, I would be too dead to care about how horrible my pancreas looks.
While on the topic of being dead, I cannot understand how some well-meaning people can believe that smokers will quit if they brought home the point that “smoking is dangerous for your health.” Sure, smoking is dangerous. But people do things that are equally dangerous and they do it all the time—like crossing a busy street without looking sideways, eating at fast-food restaurants, joining progressive groups, exercising the right to vote, and, excuse me, falling in love. Tell a regular person to stop eating at Jollibee and he will tell you to get a life.
Then there’s this argument by one officemate that we will call Helga. I am not sure how popular this case is among quitters and would-be quitters, but according to Helga, and to some health experts, cigarettes are bad for the skin and hair and that nicotine makes you look old and smell awful. I think I told her that if I had been a girl or if I had terrific looks to worry about, I would be concerned. But luckily, I was spared in both counts.
And so at the end of the day, the dawn of the decade, I am here in front of the computer, opening a fresh pack of menthol cigarettes. I light a stick and reach for my disposable lighter. I take a deep drag from the cigarette and let the smoke escape my mouth slowly in thin wisps and thick blobs. A sudden thought occurs to me. Nothing tastes and feels as good as one’s own stubbornness.
Happy New Year, you people.
PS. Due to boredom and the lack of better things to do, I have picked up my literary pen again and wrote my first story in many months. It’s ambitious and I was hoping someone would confirm my suspicions. Click here to read the thing or click on the link there on the sidebar.