I have unmasked an impostor.
An indolent degenerate.
A hypocrite who preaches about health and good living but in fact is a vision of flabby, artery-clogging excess.
I am looking at him now.
The eyes, hangdog and rheumy with trans fats.
I never should have shaved.
Here I am - the electric hair trimmer in my right hand, my beard clippings collected in the sink below - looking at myself in the bathroom mirror.
I had not shaved once since I quit smoking Feb. 14.
Until just moments ago, I looked like some survivalist from the Oregon rain forest, or a junkyard manager with an IQ of 62.
But the multi-coloured beard - brown near the sideburns, reddish around the mouth and a little silver on the chin - had its appeal.
It was sort of like a playoff beard.
Each day, as my battle against cigarettes continued to rage, my face grew bushier. As if I had the grizzled look to prove I was in the trenches.
But I would prefer trench foot to the flabby face I now see in the mirror.
All the fast food, the beer, the incessant snacking, all the things I stuffed in my mouth to take my mind of cigarettes, ended up in my jowl area.
I would consider liposuction but I hear that is more dangerous than smoking.