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Sunday, July 15, 2018

DAY 011 -- "Once Upon A Toke"


Once upon a disease, “weekends off” meant time to clean the gutters, edge the lawn, burn the burgers, head to Lowe’s to buy that broken weedwhacker replacement whirligig thingie-dingie, or to pretend I’m a new breed of visio-chemist who finds artsy-fartsy photo profundity in my stacked medicine bottle skyline … or … forget all that and instead search for  brave new ways to make play & leisure the driving albeit short-lived forces and payoffs for the week’s labors.

Yes, now, thanks to rascal Rad Chemo, I must work hard at play. I must catch-up on all those domestic fall-behinds we tend to leave for the weekend, then force myself to relax above all else and to stop thinking of weekends as more than just “two days without treatments.”

One bit of culture commentary, then I’m off with Diane to jump in the lake. Today in a not so random observation:

Smoking has changed, as we all know.  Now forbidden in restaurants, bars, public buildings, hospitals and in many places the great outdoors.

I’m not saying that my adult lifetime of smoking gave me this lung cancer, but if that link in my life was a court case, I’d be a witness for the prosecution. True enough, people do succumb from cancers with no apparent cause, but that’s where the defense falls flat. Look at the numbers.

“Hypocrite! Bluenose!” you might level at me, and I might deserve it, but my point is not to point the finger at anyone else. I’ve always thought that the answer to litter is not to pick up everyone’s trash, but rather to not throw any yourself.

Play that logic out to the end, and you’ll see it solves the problem for all of us.

But, I do have a new not-so-random sensitivity or two, post-lung cancer onset:

--- Once upon a toke, I couldn’t sit at a computer (typewriter in the early days) without a butt going. Now, I can’t imagine it.



--- I see groups of people huddled here & there at some employs, usually now gathering around a dumpster or a “designated smoking” area, but even those are becoming rare. I never noticed them before, even when I was in them.

--- I’m remembering ashtrays at the nurse’s station in the hospitals (that’s how long I’ve been in the trenches, and I mean the latter kindly).

--- I remember as a boy, sneaking a pack of Newports from my mother’s purse, climbing out my window on the roof and lighting up. First thing she said when I came back downstairs: “Did you enjoy your smoke?” I thought she was a genius.

When I spot a pride of puffers these days, I’m sad. First because I’m now hyper-tuned into the odor, and it’s what hits my senses first. I’m coming up on four years out quitting smoking, and I can now smell a smoker across the street. And, when any smoker who passes by me isn’t smoking, I smell it on them.

Egads. That’s how I smelled all those years? Ugh. Ughier. Ughiest. And, I’m sad because I now know (yes, even though I KNEW all those years) the tolls of tobacco. But, if I can come to the end of it, anyone can.

Diane just snapped this pic of a live hawk in a dead pine tree, and if I had to make a blanket statement (again, watch the profundity) on my life, brain, body and smoking … somehow this image works.

Great weekend, everyone. Good luck fixing your whackers!


More as we go, El



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