“Why do you smoke?” is one of the most ridiculous questions to ask any smoker. I have dodged this for more than 15 years now, with some frowns or attitude statements or some such non sense for e.g. economics is irrational so is smoking or simply because I have the right to smoke or it is the fault of marketing to our generation from the multi-national corporations or it is a man thing or it is genetic.
Time has come now to answer and at least avoid the question from whoever reads this.
1. It is a part of me, as my identity, my daily pattern, my external appearance, my presence, my voice (notice that deep S and H and the occasional coughs), without it I feel incomplete. And it is nothing extra also. It also nicely fits into most routines unless you keep going around the world on back to back flights.
2. It is a great accompaniment to boredom, action, reflection, reading and suits well for most places
3. Smoker conversations are better than non-smokers especially if you have found your gang, and your times match. It is as if a level of meaning gets added to the conversation that you some times get suggestions to do a back to back smoke just to continue the conversation. Typically there are no fillers in smoker conversations, the smoke is the filler, if you don’t have anything to say simply smoke. Unlike the non-smoker conversations that goes on with endless slow fillers like “So…”, “Interesting…”, “Cool, Cool…”
4. Without doing anything you get a sense of accomplishment, this is I think unique to smoking. Wally’s coffee comes close to what I am saying here.
5. A ritual that I feel people associate me with, at least I assume this and use the chance to smoke, when meeting, even the advice each one gives to stop/reduce becomes part of it. For them to keep doing what they are doing, I have to continue smoking.
6. It is death personified and it is so around us everyday, it feels good to relate with it, yeah I am taking it too far. From what Camus says about suicide as “one truly serious philosophical problem”, it makes sense to ask it a couple of times daily.
Alt: Quitters don’t smoke and smokers don’t quit