I wanted to thank you all for expressing your concerns. Today I'm feeling a little bit better. I hardly ever use this blog to share my personality in an anecdotal fashion, but now is as good a time as any.
Smoking was something that, like many young teenagers, that I picked up out of a desire to want to fit in with my peers. Back then, I was very naive, very sheltered, far more introverted than I am now, and extremely shy. My purity factor was at its highest apex when I was fifteen. Nowadays, it's not so much. Hardly anyone who knows me now can easily comprehend how different I was then. I myself have a hard time reconciling the way I am now versus the way I was back then.
My first job involved sacking groceries and following the examples of the wilder, more worldly, more risk-taking boys, I had a friend steal a pack of cigarettes for me. They were, as I recall, Marlboro Lights. This was back in the day when cigarettes were under $3 a pack. Now they are as much as $4.50, even in this state of relatively low taxes and tobacco-friendly lobbies. Upon a visit to NYC a few years back, I paid $8 a pack, which is enough to make anyone want to quit.
I remember the first time I took a puff on a cigarette. It was like sucking on a burning rope. Still, I was hellbent on figuring out how to perfect this habit. Around midnight, one memorable night, I sneaked out of the house through the downstairs bathroom window. I managed around half a cigarette before I felt so woozy and out of sorts that I found standing upright difficult. I climbed back in the window but in a moment of clumsiness, I lost my balance and in doing so, fell back inside the house, hitting my head on the toilet seat in the process.
If I had the opportunity to address a group of people younger than myself, I would tell them emphatically to not take that first drag on a cigarette. It's like opening Pandora's Box. I shall probably crave cigarettes the rest of my days to some degree or another. Once you start and begin any sort of habit, you seem to be doomed to a lifetime of picking up and setting down the habit. Indeed, I can't say that my days of smoking are over. I often wish they were illegal, cause that would probably be the only means by which I would never be tempted to start again. That, and I'm too lazy to want to go to the trouble to grow my own tobacco.