I had signed up for the Canadian Cancer Society's Driven to Quit challenge.
I had hoped that in exchange for staying smoke-free for the month of March I would be the lucky winner of a new Toyota Prius.
But what I got yesterday was something else entirely.
Among the usual clatter and clutter filling up my inbox, came this from the Cancer Society:
"Congratulations on your hard work to quit smoking," the email started, and then ...
"Now you face the challenge of staying smoke-free for life."
What the ...?
Is this a freaking taunt?
This is what I get for making it through a month smoke-free? A sadistic reminder of a boring, smoke-free, craving-filled life stretching indefinitely ahead?
I know the Cancer Society's challenge is a great thing that hopefully has convinced many Ontarians to try giving up smoking. But the last thing I needed yesterday was to celebrate reaching a milestone by being told I'm actually decades short of the real milestone.
The email continued with a quiz designed to help me identify "potential trouble spots."
1) I’ve thrown away all my cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays.
3) I am avoiding places where people smoke a lot (bars, parties, smoking sections.)
I have barely been out at all, instead holing up with a six-pack of beer each night and my loyal dog, watching TV - Medium Monday night, Law & Order Tuesday and Wednesday, CSI Thursday, Family Guy whenever it's on.
4) I can handle stress without smoking.
So far, but any more emails like the one I got yesterday, and ...
5) I’ve changed my morning routine to reduce the temptation to smoke.
Sort of. I have replaced one addiction with another. Every morning, I got to my favourite coffee shop and pick up a large light roast and something called a caramel tortoise bar that is probably adding an inch to my waist each week.
6) I’ve asked my family and friends not to smoke around me.
No. I simply do not visit my family and friends any more. They all smoke.
8) I’ve replaced smoking with some other activity (taking walks, exercise, hobbies, etc.)
Yes. Whining, Harumphing. Road rage. Drinking beer. Gaining weight.
Life could be worse.
I could be in one of those running clubs.
Just an hour ago, as I was walking the dog, a trio of run clubbers galloped by - a man flanked by two women.
And, I swear, the man, wearing headphones, sunglasses, tights and a windbreaker that traveled down to mid-thigh, said to one of the women ...
"It's a great restaurant. You can buy a nice cab, the kind you can't find at the LCBO ..."
And the woman, grunting and huffing as she shuffled on by, gasped: "Oh yeah, and I bet it tastes like butter."
What is wrong with people?