If I am going to quit smoking, I have learned after several failed and some comical attempts, I cannot do it alone.
I used to think I could staidly quit without a complaint or eating binge. That's how my grandfather did it, or so the story goes.
But I don't think I'm strong enough to do it that way.
I'm considering going on a controversial drug that is supposed to block nicotine's effect on the brain. It's a new drug, and drawing attention for its effectiveness and possible links to nasty psychological fallout.
I have also scheduled regular meetings with my doctor. She says doing so ups the chances of success by 80 per cent.
I like the idea of regular doctor visits because it's like entering a bargain, and if I fail in my attempt, I won't just be disappointing myself but my doctor, too.
So I started thinking: Maybe, instead of not telling anyone, as my heroic grandfather did, I should involve everyone I can.
I don't care anymore whether I quit gracefully. I just want to quit.
I put my name in a quitting challenge to win an expensive car. A cancer charity is running the contest.
What if I actually win? Wouldn't do to ride around in a new hybrid, my yellowed fingers dangling out the window holding a smoldering, tasty Dunhill.
I've also told my editor and some friends that I'm quitting.
And now you.
I'd like to say I'm writing to help others. But for the most part, I'm not. This is selfish.
I need people to know I'm quitting.
The bigger the audience, the bigger the shame if I fail.
Doctors orders are to start with a half pill per day for a while, then up to two half-pills then eventually two full pills a day.
Today's the first day. I start now.
Just huffed down a smoke on my front porch.
This is it.
But the moment feels empty.
Shouldn't there be some kind of celebration, maybe a gang of salubrious backslappers to rush into my house, with kazoos and overflowing mugs of viscous fruit-shakes and words of encouragement, to cheerfully usher me into a new era of health and taste buds and ruddy skin?
But no one is around, and I realize there's a few smokes left in my pack of Dunhills.
Maybe the pills can wait for tomorrow.