Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Side Effects of Smoke Free Living

Writing is one of those endeavors in which starting is usually the hardest part. You sit in front of the keyboard, crack your knuckles like a cartoon pianist, make sure that you have a digit hovering over the a,s,d,f, h, j, k and l keys, lock your line of sight onto your commuter monitor and then, well, basically you sit there in a motionless state of catatonia until you have to pick your nose or something. Personally, I need inspiration in order to kick out an article.

Unfortunately, I get precious little of that these days. It is winter here in Michigan and for someone who has very little tolerance for the cold despite having grown up here, I just do not get out much between the middle of November and the end of March. I get up, go to work, come home, eat, help get the kids to bed, clean up the kitchen, turn on the TV and sit there watching Grey’s Anatomy with my wife as my brain melts and flows out of my ears. At least I think that’s what that stuff is that keeps ruining my shirts. If its not, I probably just need to rediscover the joys of the Q-Tip.

When you are not accomplishing anything noteworthy, it’s really difficult to come up with anything to note. Now there are things that occur at work that might make interesting copy but I have an inviolate policy of separating my professional and blogging life as it’s a good way to get more time for blogging than your checking account can handle. Granted, blogging’s fun but its the ten to twelve hours a day I spend in the psychological torture chamber that pays my internet bill.

With that in mind, just to get back into the rhythm of regular writing I am going to try to use The JEP Report as sort of a diary to document my effort to quit smoking. I’ll do my best to make this bearable for you all, but I need to warn you up front that I am dealing with VERY dry material here so I can not guarantee my results. If nothing else, I can always fall back on documenting those Chantix dreams. Last night, for instance I met with Pope Benedict to forward my suggestion increase church membership by moving away from ceremonies conducted in Latin to ceremonies conducted to the beat of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”.

I am presently on my 9th day of being a non-smoker and I have to say that some strange things have happened to my senses. For instance, I lost my sense of smell in 1993 after being involved in a chemical accident when I was in the military. Now, if you have to lose a sense, I guess losing your smell is the way to go. You lose an important part of your perceptive abilities but at the same time, you gain an amazing ability to tolerate military cuisine as well as my Aunt Helen’s tuna casserole. You can also manage to clean up after your children’s various bodily fluid mishaps with minimal discomfort and when it comes to Dutch Oven combat, well, let’s just say I haven’t been defeated for almost 15 years.

I might be losing that edge however. Today, I had a flash of odor recognition which even now I am unsure of whether it was a real smell or just some sort of olfactory hallucination. Of course, this did not happen to me while I was in a great restaurant or botanical garden so that my nostrils would be filled with the aroma of a perfectly grilled angus tenderloin or blooming orange blossoms. No, it happened to me while I was standing in front of the urinal listening to someone performing a paint-peeling posterior polka two stalls away so that my nose was assaulted by the reek of someone’s Crohn’s disease taking a terrible turn for the terminal.

Still I was strangely thrilled, wondering if my loss of smell was actually more because of my smoking than the lingering effects of the accident I was in. In order to find out, I exhaled and then drew in a deep breath through my nose to see if I could smell it again. I got nothing. Undeterred, I tried it again but still I got nothing. I did it a third time and, though my nostrils did not register anything, my ears did and I realized that the bathroom’s echo amplified my nasal inhaling and it sounded as if I was desperately trying to catch a whiff of the most aromatic rose the world had ever seen. That could prove tough to explain to the dysentery victim in the stall beside me and heaven forbid if he was in senior management. I had to rush and finish my work at hand and get out of there before he emerged since, I would guess that promotional opportunities for suspected flatulence fetishists would be awfully hard to come by.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Mother Mayhem said...

Glad to see you're still alive and kicking JEP. Your mother was getting worried about you. Never quit quitting the smokes either, although I wouldn't want to be around you right now. BTW the two year old isn't potty trained yet, but she's learned how to get a new diaper, tell us she's wet or stinky, and climbs up on the changing table to be changed. It seems like more work doing what she's doing, but who knows. I guess there must have been some missing links in the genes someplace...

As always, your Mother

MM

10:57 PM  
Blogger MamaFlo said...

Jep, I came to your site from another and wanted to know how you were doing since I see it's been a month since you last posted - are you still quit?
I'm at about 190 days quit (with Chantix thank you very much) after 36 years with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. I've been completely off the Chantix for about 2 months now and although I have rough days every now and again, I'm still quit.

I wanted to cheer you on and let you know that you can do this!

10:06 PM  
Anonymous chantix said...

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4:19 AM  

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