Life at its noblest leaves mere happiness far behind; and indeed cannot endure it. Happiness is not the object of life: life has no object: it is an end in itself; and courage consists in the readiness to sacrifice happiness for an intenser quality of life.
~ George Bernard Shaw
A couple weeks ago, I cracked myself up. The incident carried upon its shoulders such hilarity and poignancy that I obviously Twittered about it:
Within an hour or so, I got a direct message from a dear friend that read . . .
Keeping this private out of respect. The biggest fail is that stick. Come on now, B. You are stronger than that.
She later added . . .
You know it’s out of fondness, right? You can do it. I am living proof. I’ll be your cheerleader.
Seriously Brian, quit smoking. I did, and I have the willpower of a dead squirrel.
Ben and I once tried taking the high road of accountability together toward the no-smoking horizon, but we stumbled and returned to the butt. I can only speak for myself here: I just wasn’t ready to kick the habit. I thought it would be fun to try, though. And you all know what happens when you try. Obviously, he has since found the courage to go beyond trying. He’s done it. And I’m so very proud of him for doing so.
I’ve obviously struggled with this. I’ve written about it many times, both here at The Cheek and at bigger and better blogs elsewhere. So much so in fact that you’re probably tired of reading about it. Growing tired of offering your comments of encouragement and praise, knowing that they fall upon ears attached to the weakest, most wishy-washy person on the planet. Perhaps almost as much as I’m growing weary of writing about it. Since that tweet, however, I’ve had a post sliding over the rough surfaces of my mind titled “Seven Minutes,” in which I come clean about all the money and time I’ve wasted lighting ’em up. About how the seven minutes or so that I spend smoking a cigarette are often the most happy yet tortured minutes of any given moment of any given day. I imagined it would be my magnum opus of sorts, like my friend Maggie’s recent post about her struggles with drinking. Only I’m quite certain that I don’t have a magnum opus in me at present. And I’m equally certain that I’m not ready to give up smoking.
So instead, since giveaways seem to be all the rage as-of-late, I’ve decided to give away smoking.
That’s right, Dear Tweaker! A contest in which I give away the tools of my revolting trade. These are the things that one day with score you some fat cash on eBay. Up for grabs:
A fine assortment of Bic lighters, picked up over time at various convenience stores. Some are still flickable, while others have been taking up space in my glove box, having long ago given up their flickability. I made those words up, according to my spell checker, but you can use them if you like.
My favorite Zippo lighter. I bought this back when I first started smoking, so its sentimental value is practically priceless. I haven’t used it for some time. I got tired of trimming the wick and spilling the fuel on my fingertips, so I buried it in my desk drawer. I dug it out just for this momentous occasion. You know you want it . . .
These beauties I gathered from the various corners of my garage. They were tossed aside and subsequently stepped over and upon, hence the tattered appearance. But you’ll find a use for them, I’m sure . . .
I’ll also throw in a few gems from my butt bucket. Not only will you get a selection of these smoked-in-the-garage beauties . . .
. . . I’ll also include a few smoked-on-the-road keepers. But the pièce de résistance is this:
My last box of Camel Turkish Silvers, with one unsmoked cigarette.
This single, Class A cigarette is made of a special blend of rare Turkish tobaccos, “the world’s smoothest, most aromatic leaf,” which, naturally, “gives Turkish Silver its exceptionally mellow flavor and extraordinary smoothness.” These have been my smokes-of-choice for some time now and this one, which can be yours, is dated and signed on the butt by yours truly. (Try signing a smoke, people. This is no small feat!)
But wait! There’s more . . .
You’ll also receive a signed copy of this photo. Originally taken for my Huh? Page, this is, to the best of my knowledge, the only picture of me in which I am smoking. You have to look close, but there’s a cigarette in my right hand, the stream of smoke blending into the snowy background. This is a rare gift, my friend. Sexy, no?!
So there you have it. All this swag can be yours. Or any portion of it. Just leave a comment and tell me what you want. And if I’m feeling generous, and am not overcome with nostalgia, I’ll also include my lap desk. I’m using it right now as I write this post, and it’s riddled with ground-in ashes from days gone by and numerous burn holes from cherries lost.
All this stuff. Remnants of happier times. But happiness is fleeting. Happiness is that stuff you look back on when the end is finally upon you and you realize that one man’s happiness is most often another’s pain. Happiness is easy, but living is “intenser.” It is being willing, and more than able, to give away that which holds you back . . .
Before I forget. One thing that is NOT up for grabs? This tongue-in-cheek gift from a very dear friend:
Ironically, it has never been used. It sits on my desk, next to a Christmas card she sent me. With friends like this, giving it all away just makes so much sense . . .