Give It Away, Now

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.

And then, in response to a recent post, a friend-from-across-the-pond named Ben replied . . .

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 . . .

[Flickr photo is by SuperFantastic and is protected]


27 thoughts on “Give It Away, Now

  1. First of all, you got me singing that damn song with your title…and second of all, I am DYING LAUGHING! I love the give aways! I am going to request a lighter. I couldn’t find ONE lighter this morning. I had two in my purse yesterday. I already have a shit ton of cig butts and empty cig boxes. EVERYWHERE. Why they never make it to the trashcan I will never know.

    I SO wish you were giving away that ash tray! HILARIOUS!

    1. Take your pick. The Motley Crue one is a personal favorite . . .

  2. I quit when I was pregnant with my second daughter, over 5 years ago. I did it cold turkey, and kept that one cigarette. I told no one, made it my personal thing.

    it worked. And it stuck. And I LOVED to smoke. oh how I LOVED smoking.

    You can do this. 😛

    1. Thank you. Do you still have that one cig? Is it out of sight, or displayed prominently somewhere? I’m thinking of having mine mounted . . .

  3. Red Hot Chili Peppers on loop in my brain now, thank you!

    You know, you don’t stink like the other smokers I know. Weird.

    Ahhhhh, Brian, I know there’s nothing anyone can say. Yes, you should quit smoking. Yes, I needed to quit drinking. There’s really nothing to be done, though, until you’re ready. I was ready. I hope you are one day soon as well. It’s certainly not at all easy…..

  4. Motley Crew will be a fine addition to my habit! Hope it is one of the ones that work!

  5. Red Hot Chili Peppers. Brain worm for the rest of the day, but at least it’s a cool one.

    I like that you cracked yourself up. I do that sometimes too, like recently while chopping onions, all by myself, I chose to don ski goggles. No one around to appreciate my goofy appearance, but a glimpse of myself in the microwave gave me a much needed chuckle.

    I smoke on occasion, and I can do it… occasionally… like once every few months, or once a year. Very few people know this about me because I’m an “athlete”. Whatever. I can go there with your “seven minute” description.

    You are so right, Brian. Living IS “intenser”. You have my support and admiration just for being you. My hope and wish for you is health and peace.

    PS: I owe you some candy smokes. They’re waiting to be mailed. : )

  6. Good move. Gotta clean out those arteries to fully enjoy all that fine Hillshire Farm product you recently won for me.

    1. Indeed. Only I won’t have a lighter left to fire up the grill!


  7. mom quit cold turkey almost 2 years ago. after 65 years. 3 packs a day toward the end. facing double bypass, she finally hit her moment and said “i want to live”. keeps a half carton of smokes in her garage just in case she ever wants one…

    i’m cheering you onward, and a bit inspired to give up my ‘random buy a pack, smoke it til it’s gone, then skip smoking for a month’ habit. there’s no point… i’ll try.

    hoping this is your moment! LOVE the ‘give away’…

  8. I quit cold turkey a month after I met the girl who would become my bride. Totally worth it.

  9. I did it. You can do it. I started when I was 15 and was hooked from the 1st drag. I vividly remember telling my partner in crime that she wasn’t inhaling! I quit almost 6 years ago after 25 years of a pack-a-day habit. I loved smoking but hated the butts, the overflowing ashtrays, the cigarette scars on furniture, or the occasional realization that the cherry’s missing on my cigarette while driving 65mph down the highway. Ultimately it was the grim acceptance of the fact that I was killing myself that made me quit. My date is June 10th.

    My husband quit 9 months after I quit. He saved a whole pack (sealed). Eventually that pack quit being a talisman for him. His date is April 1st.

    Praying for you and your date: May 3rd. Peace, brother. You can do it.

  10. Dude, love the Zippo — but have no need. May 18 will be 4 years for me. As evidenced by many of your previous comments — it can be done, if you’re ready. I hope you are.

    And if you need any advice — ex-smokers love to give advice on quitting — please don’t hesitate to ask. Or if you just need to vent — I’ve become pretty adept at tuning out a rant (don’t tell my wife I said that — though I’m pretty sure she knows.)

  11. Flickability is a great word, good luck with your giveaway.

  12. But I really, really want the ashtray 😦 I promise to give it a good home… and to use it reverently when I start smoking again after I have this baby.

    I keed, I keed! Mostly. Good luck to you! You can do it!

  13. Thanks for at least planting a DECENT earworm. (Give it away, give it away, give it away now …)

    So hoping you can quit! I was lucky to never be drawn into that, even though I am daughter of The Human Chimney. (To her credit, she has quit several times, last year for nearly 3 months!)

    You have a whole cheering section rootin’ for ya. And then, Jesus is watchin’ you, too, from the confines of his ashtray …

    1. Wait until I post about my Freaky Jesus lamp . . .

  14. I can’t give any advice on quiiting because, having never started, I have never had to quit. You didn’t want advice anyway! I WILL say that this was a very entertaining post! I will have to keep checking back to see how your give-a-way goes!

  15. WOW Tysdaddy! I’m sorry you even have to deal with this… I wish some of the things that aren’t good for us, where.

    You can do this. I haven’t ever smoked but I bet you can do it, you have to want to, but I bet you can.


  16. Back to say “Go, baby, go!” Kudo’s for taking this step. {fist bump}

  17. Just askin’: what aren’t you ready? Waitin’ for that bypass before you find Jesus?

    Your favorite bitchin’ photographer agnostic pain in rear.

  18. Yeah, there’s not much I can say. You know you need to stop. You know all the reasons why. You know all the reasons why you “can’t”. And the fact is, you can’t. Not until you do. Then a few months or a year or so later, you’ll wonder what all the fuss and wringing of hands was about. So….


  19. michael.offworld May 10, 2010 — 10:13 pm

    I have a patient who just quit. He’s had 3 heart attacks and is now in the hospital for stroke rehab. Diabetes claimed his right leg years ago and the stroke has left his remaining leg spastic and mostly useless. Can’t use his left arm either. He talks with an electrolarynx because he doesn’t want to have any more surgery. His voice box is gone, the subsequent radiation burned deep so in his last surgery, he had some muscle tissue pulled up from his chest to plug the hole in his neck. So far, all is good. He can’t walk or talk naturally, but he can swallow and he kicks ass with the electrolarynx. Sounds like a Newfoundlander robot. Send me that ashtray if it isn’t already gone.

  20. I know you wrote this like two weeks ago and I’m just now getting around to reading it. Hope the quit is going well and that the white-knuckled exertion of willpower hasn’t been too hard on you. I quit a few years ago, finally, after several failed attempts. It was a crappy process, but I’m glad to have come out the other side intact and smokefree. I’m pulling for you!

  21. I absolutely HATE smoking and have been trying to get my dad to quit for some years. I personally have never even smoked one cigarette and plan to keep it that way. As much as you want to smoke you must give it up, because the challenge in and of itself is the prize. Be noble and choose health over the addiction.

  22. tysdaddy, when you feel like having a smoke, just look at that car ashtray and remember how nasty that car smelled (I know it well). I’m so lousy when it comes to smoking. I am now a ‘non-smoker’ but I smoke sometimes to spite my husband when he lights up, to make him feel like he’s gonna get me back to smoking again if he keeps it up. Actually, that’s total crap. He lights up and I’m so weak that I think, well if one of us is going down, we may as well go down in a coughing fit together.

    Excuses, excuses.

    Oh, and as a smoking non-smoker, I don’t want any of your stuff. But thanks for the offer. That one last cigarette was actually quite tempting, though I don’t think it was meant to be smoked.

  23. How are you doing with this? I’ve been thinking of you…

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