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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Quit!

New Year's Day is only two days away. Have you made your resolution yet? If you haven't, not only has the top resolutions usually attempted, but also has resources listed as an added help. One of my coworkers is going to learn how to knit and another is going to try to be nicer to people. I've decided to quit smoking (again). In addition to the myriad of health benefits quitting provides, I'll also be rid of the disgusting nature of smoking itself. The smell, the taste, the feel of a light coating of nicotine on the skin... Need further illustration? In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell wrote, "He put a cigarette in his mouth. Half the tobacco promptly fell out on to his tongue, a bitter dust which was difficult to spit out again." Granted, in the dystopian world of Oceania cigarettes aren't the only things guaranteed to turn your stomach, but the idea of a wad of tobacco lying on my tongue makes me shudder!

There's a grand description of smoking in another one of my favorite books, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. In this grueling realm of gulags, cigarettes are just as scarce as in Orwell's vision. Solzhenitsyn writes
He took from it a pinch of factory-cut tobacco, put it on Shukhov's palm, sized it up, and added a few wisps. Just enough for rolling one cigarette, not a scrap more.
Shukhov had newspaper of his own. He tore a bit off, rolled his cigarette, picked up a hot ember that had landed between the foreman's feet, took a long drag, another long drag, and felt a sort of dizziness all over his body, as though drink had gone to his head and his legs.
I am so looking forward to the absence of a sense of desperation that smoking brings! I'm relieved that I've never been so badly off that I've rolled a cigarette in newspaper, but I think that I might have tried it if I had needed to do so. (I told you they were disgusting, didn't I?)
Wish me luck with my nicotine patch, and good luck with your own resolutions! The Reference Staff of the Mississippi Library Commission hopes that you have a beautiful and prosperous 2010 filled with many, many, many trips to the library of your choice!


  1. Although the anti-smoking lobby has been highly successful at waging a jihad on those of us who continue to smoke, I believe the public has lost sight of some of the many advantages of smoking. Nicotine has been proven to boost short-term memory, and even more importantly, numerous medical studies indicate that smokers are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's disease. Just Google it to verify. And for those of you who want to feel good about smoking despite it's social taboo, I recommend watching the indisputable masterpiece Casablanca to see the proper ways to look cool while smoking.

  2. Elisabeth, in your effort in quitting I recomend you call the Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-Quit Now. My wife is a counselor over there and using a program like theirs (or some others) is statistically shown to really help improve the odds of quiting effectively.


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