Sunday, February 8, 2009

Evicting the monkey from his loft on my back

I quit smoking today.

Actually, I quit smoking on the 6th, the day after my birthday. Why should I be 25 and a smoker, after all? It's not like I smoked a lot -- there was a point where I was up to a pack a day, but that was maybe two years ago. I was around a half-pack. And over the past two days I've been weaning myself off of them, ignoring urges and becoming increasingly irritable until my girlfriend forced me outside with a Parliament Light and told me not to come back in until I had dosed myself and mellowed out a bit. Four on the 6th, three yesterday.

Today I'm on a patch. I won't say which one, because if it fails I'll say terrible, awful things about it mostly as a result of my own self-loathing and completely devoid of any objective reasoning at all. And the company doesn't deserve a non-objective review, though as for that I'm not really planning on going into detail about the merits of smoking cessation aids. You don't care about that. In fact, I don't expect you, dear reader, to care at all about my smoking habit at all.

I'm supplementing the patch with sunflower seeds to quell my oral fixation, resuming a torrid love affair with the little crunchy pellets that has been on-again-off-again since I was an eight-year old in ridiculously tight Westborough Little League uniform. There's nothing in the world quite as nostalgia-inducing as a cheekful of seeds.

So far so good. I muscled through a couple of early-morning cravings (I have to relearn how to drink coffee without smoking, but I've started tasting coffee again, which, I've come to realize, I adore when served strong and black), and finally slapped on the patch around noon. I've got a little plastic cup half-full of slimy black seed casings, and after the initial clawing itch of the patch subsided, so did my cravings.

They say beer will start tasting better once I've kicked the habit. Dead taste buds regenerate after 10 days, which means that on the 18th (two days before Extreme Beer Fest) I'll have a mouth full of tiny pleasure receptors ready to analyze the biggest, most complex beers the world has to offer. Color me excited.

See, I don't want to brag, but I think I have a pretty damned good palate. Blame my parents, who had no reservations about serving me wine with dinner at the age of 14, true to my father's French (and, more recently, Acadian) roots. I can't imagine beer tasting better than it already does. I hotly await my forays into the brand new world of uninhibited craft beer flavor.

Wish me luck.

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