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My Cigarette, My
by Joel Spitzer
How do you feel about a friend who has to go everywhere
with you? Not only does he tag along all the time, but since he is so offensive and
vulgar, you become unwelcome when with him. He has a peculiar odour that sticks to you
wherever you go. Others think both of you stink.
He controls you totally. When he says jump, you jump.
Sometimes in the middle of a blizzard or storm, he wants you to come to the store and pick
him up. You would give your spouse hell if he or she did that to you all the time, but you
can't argue with your friend. Sometimes, when you are out at a movie or play he says he
wants you to go stand in the lobby with him and miss important scenes. Since he calls all
the shots in your life, you go.
Your friend doesn't like your choice of clothing either.
Instead of politely telling you that you have lousy taste, he burns little holes in these
items so you will want to throw them out. Sometimes, he tires of the furniture and gets
rid of it too. Occasionally, he gets really nasty and decides the whole house must go.
He gets pretty expensive to support. Not only is his knack
of property destruction costly, but you must pay to keep him with you. In fact, he will
cost you thousands of dollars over your lifetime. And you can count on one thing, he will
never pay you a penny in return.
Often at picnics you watch others playing vigorous
activities and having lots of fun doing them. But your friend won't let you. He doesn't
believe in physical activity. In his opinion, you are too old to have that kind of fun. So
he kind of sits on your chest and makes it difficult for you to breathe. Now you don't
want to go off and play with other people when you can't breathe, do you?
Your friend does not believe in being healthy. He is really
repulsed by the thought of you living a long and productive life. So every chance he gets
he makes you sick. He helps you catch colds and flu. Not just by running out in the middle
of the lousy weather to pick him up at the store. He is more creative than that. He
carries thousands of poisons with him which he constantly blows in your face. When you
inhale some of them, they wipe out cilia in your lungs which would have helped you prevent
But colds and flu are just his form of child's play. He
especially likes diseases that slowly cripple youlike emphysema. He considers this
disease great. Once he gets you to have this, you will give up all your other friends,
family, career goals, activitieseverything. You will just sit home and caress him,
telling him what a great friend he is while you desperately gasp for air.
But eventually your friend tires of you. He decides he no
longer wishes to have your company. Instead of letting you go your separate ways, he
decides to kill you. He has a wonderful arsenal of weapons behind him. In fact, he has
been plotting your death since the day you met him. He picked all the top killers in
society and did everything in his power to ensure you would get one of them. He overworked
your heart and lungs. He clogged up the arteries to your heart, brain, and every other
part of your body. In case you were too strong to succumb to this, he constantly exposed
you to cancer causing agents. He knew he would get you sooner or later.
Well, this is the story of your "friend," your
cigarette. No real friend would do all this to you. Cigarettes are the worst possible
enemies you ever had. They are expensive, addictive, socially unacceptable, and deadly.
Consider all this and NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
To read more excellent letters written by Joel
©1984. Rush North Shore Medical Center. Good Health Program.
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