Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I first started smoking around 1983. I remember that my running buddy at the time, Abel, and I had gone to the drive in with some friends, and were sitting in the back of someone's pick up, drinking beer and talking. We always parked two or three rows behind the last car so we wouldn't disturb anyone. Anyway, it was summer, and the mosquitoes were horrible. I puffed a few smokes to keep the bugs away. A few weeks later, I started working at HEB on the night shift. Since I was also going to school at the time, I yawned a lot, so I kept smoking to keep awake while commuting to school.

The first time I quit smoking was in 1984. I was an exchange student in Japan at Nagasaki Wesleyan Junior College, now University. As the jet liner landed at Nagasaki airport, I smoked the last cigarette I had carried with me. (This was in the days when you could smoke on planes.) I managed a couple of days, since I didn't know where to buy smokes. Then my roommate John found a little store that sold them, and I started again. It was easy to smoke in Japan. It was a smoker's kind of place. I smoked Cabin 85s, and would occaisionally find Marlboro or Winston at Seiyu Department Store. They were more expensive, but smoother. It made all those "American Cigarette" comments in war movies understandable.

After I graduated From Schreiner College, now University, I moved to Austin and went to grad school at UT. I worked part-time for RJ Reynolds tobacco company while in school, then full time for them for five years. When I quit RJR, I moved home and continued to smoke until October 1995, when I decided I had had enough!

I smoked an occasional cigar, but otherwise, didn't smoke again until 2003. That year, sitting around after Oktoberfest, finishing up a keg, I started smoking again. I had bought a pack of Camels Mediums, because the year before, I had bummed a couple of smokes from one of the beer vendors.

Before I knew it I was back up to a pack a day, and I decided to quit. So in May or June of 2004, I quit.

In October, our server crashed. Being responsible for getting it repaired, one day after work, I picked up a pack of smokes.

Well, I've decided that once more, I have had enough. I finished my last four cigarettes yesterday, spacing them out during the day. Today is the first day I've gone without. I even had to cut out drinking for the first few days to help keep the urges at bay. When I drink, I want to smoke.

So keep your fingers crossed for me. I might need it.


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