Every now and then I get a message from a dude from my past, who I was friends with, but never romantically interested in.
These messages all take on the same theme. First, they start out by asking how I’m doing. Then, they move on to dragging up the past. This dragging up the past usually includes a confession about some secret crush they harbored for years, but never had the ability to act on.
Then it turns accusatory. Along the lines of ‘I always wanted to tell you how much I liked you, but I knew you only dated assholes and I never thought you’d go for me.”
First, guys who do this, stop calling the dudes I used to date assholes. Yes, some of them were jerks, but many of them were perfectly nice guys with whom things just didn’t work out. These things happen and I don’t see the reason to pigeonhole them into the whole ‘asshole’ category. That category is reserved for actual assholes, like the guy who slapped me around or the asshole who’s behind on his child support.
Stop claiming that ‘girls only want assholes’ because we don’t go for your passive aggressive shtick. I’m so sorry that you spent years pretending to be my friend in some half-hearted attempt to get into my pants. Life must have been so incredibly rough for you…Seriously, those Boko Harem victims must have nothing on your pain.
You are not a nice guy. You’re just telling yourself you are because you feel like a failure. I know, because I’ve been in the same position.
A long time ago, I was crazy about this guy Dave. We went on a few dates but it never amounted to anything serious. Simply stated, Dave didn’t want children. I had one, so he shut any potential relationship we could have had down early on.
Initially, I was a bitch about it. I mean, I was perfect for him. Why couldn’t he ignore his own standards in order to make it work between us? We laughed at the same things and watched the same movies. We argued allot. He was one of the few people that could argue with me in a way that would actually shut me up. Let me tell you people, that is a rare quality for me to find in a man.
But we never really escaped the ‘friend zone’. Over time, I got mad at him. I was irritated with him because he didn’t want me. I started ignoring his phone calls and being a cunt to him.
Then, I remembered my friend Mark.
Mark was one of those guys that I had a ton in common with. We read the same books, watched the same movies and laughed at the same jokes. Despite the fact that Mark was an incredibly attractive Cuban guy, I was never sexually attracted to him. He just wasn’t my type. So when the inevitable came and Mark word vomited his feelings all over me, it made things weird. Mark got resentful because I didn’t feel the same way.
He disappeared from my life, despite the fact that we had a fantastic friendship. He threw that away because he couldn’t get into my pants, even though as he said , he was “such a nice guy”.
Then it occurred to me that Mark wasn’t really a nice guy.
He was a jerk who was only after me because he wanted to screw me. The fact that he wasn’t my type for a romantic relationship was enough of a problem to throw away 2 years of a good friendship. That made me feel utterly useless, like the only reason he laughed at my jokes was because he was trying to sleep with me. Like the only reason we ever hung out was because he wanted me to be a notch on his bed post. I felt used and hurt.
I thought we were friends, but we were only friends until Mark realized I wasn’t going to screw him, because my only apparent value to him was a sexual one.
Then I realized that I was doing the same thing to Dave. Dave was a good dude. We had fun together and he helped me through a lot of hard times. Was it really ok for me to cut him out of my life because he didn’t want to be romantically involved with me?
No, it wasn’t and I wasn’t being a nice girl. So I let that shit go and I accepted our friendship for what it was. A really good friendship. That is rare and there was no way that I was letting him out of my life over my own petty feelings.
To this day, me and Dave are still good friends. We don’t talk as much as we should; we both lead pretty busy lives, but he’s a good dude. He is one of the first people I contact when I’m having problems and he has helped me through more than a few rough patches.
He started seriously dating someone else, and I never even got jealous. By that time, I realized what he’d known all along. We weren’t really right for each other. He’s a type A conservative who has never smoked pot, hates kids and has an affinity for greyhound dogs.
I’m a type B liberal who loves kids, is secretary treasurer of a cannabis reform group and finds greyhounds creepy (their necks are just so skinny).
Once I was able to let of that romantic obsession I was feeling, I found true platonic love with Dave. I was able to be happy for his new relationships and tell him anything. I talked him through his depression and he talked me through a bipolar summer.
I would have never had that kind of friendship if I’d just decided to cut him out of my life simply because he didn’t want to fuck me.
Our relationship is good because we’re not friends with conditions. We’re not friends until one of us decides that ‘friends’ isn’t enough. Our relationship is good because we accept each other.
Boys, if you’re pissed because some chick that you’ve been passively aggressively seeing doesn’t want to take things to the next level, know this. She’s not the problem. You are.
You are the problem because apparently your entire relationship with that girl was based on manipulation. You weren’t being nice to her because you cared about her. You were being nice to her to see what you could get from her.
That isn’t nice and you are not ‘such a nice guy’. You are a manipulator and that is the polar opposite of being nice.
If you want to be friends with a girl, then do it. But if you’re only being friendly because you hope to get something out of her later, that’s not friendly. In fact, you’re kind of being a passive aggressive pussy.
Not everyone who you’re attracted to will be attracted back. That’s just a fact of life. But if you walk away from people because they don’t want to sleep with you, don’t want to date you, don’t want to have a relationship with you, you are limiting your own horizons. You are choosing your friends based on what they can do for you and not how you feel about them.
And you are not ‘such a nice guy.”
***Author’s note: Hi people, just to let you all know, I did not expect this post to go viral, but it did. As a result I feel obligated to warn any readers who are not used to my writing style that it does include harsh language and profanity…so it’s probably best that you don’t share this with your 90 years old memere who is prone to heart attacks. If you’re curious about who I am, feel free to email, but I won’t share my real name on here. I mean, I did call my dad an ‘angry drunk’. By sharing my own name, I’d have to share his as well and that’s just mean. Plus, he’s gotten significantly cooler since I’ve gotten older. Finally, there is a good chance this post will piss you off. For that, I am sorry, but you hate most in others what you see in yourself. Before you get angry, consider that fact that the reason you’re angry is because you know what I’m writing is a little bit true. I usually shut down comments after 5 days, but will be leaving them open indefinitely so you can share your opinion. You don’t need to be respectful of me, but you do need to be respectful of the other people that post here. Deal with it.***
I will admit, I always had city aspirations. I never intended to live with you until I died. In fact, as I recall, I stated I was planning on leaving you before the ink on my diploma was even dry. And I did. I haven’t visited you for fifteen years. Much like an elderly relative with dementia, I doubted you’d notice if I never came to visit.
When I was in you, I didn’t like you very much. My dad was a mean drunk and my mom was too busy working to support me and my brother to pay much attention to us when we were young. For that, I resented you. I resented you for the fact that I wasn’t born pretty or popular, even by small town standards. I resented the fact that you never accepted what I was.
In my town I was too rich to be cool by the poor kid’s standards and too poor to be cool by the rich kid’s standards. I was a perpetual fence sitter.
I was lonely a lot growing up and I blamed you. I blamed you for limiting my horizons. Let’s be honest. You were Berlin, New Hampshire. You weren’t really the kind of place where diversity and being different was embraced. The first gay person I ever met still has scars from your small mindedness.
But you were still mine. As much as I hated the people who lived in you, I still had some good times with you. I remember walking the Dead River Park after school. I remember hanging out at the train tracks. I remember catching my first fish in you and I remember scamming my first kiss in you. I remember getting picked on by my brother’s friends and I remember learning how to defend myself in you.
I remember falling in love in you. I remember the trail behind the high school where I used to smoke pot. I remember the Milan loop that I would bike every weekend just to say I did. I remember seeing my first moose. I remember the way my mom used to take us for ice cream at the Dairy Bar and then take us moose hunting after that.
She was seriously a kick ass mom.
And in your prime, I’m willing to wager, you were a kick ass city. You were my safe haven for awhile. When a kid was picking on me on the bus, I decided to start walking home.
That’s when I really got to know you and really got to know how beautiful you were. I remember your winding trails in the woods and the way I never wound up where I expected to when I walked you. I remember riding my bike in the same circle over, and over and over again but never getting bored. I remember what you used to be.
It bothers me to know that interlopers have taken you over.
I saw a story the other night about a stabbing that occurred on your use-to-be harmless streets. Those streets that gave me refuge when I was a lonely outcast have apparently turned into the crime ridden streets of a brown town.
I know a lot of people blame the prison for that. Did you know that when giving out welfare benefits the amount is decided by the population of that town? When prisons come in, the city adds in an allowance for inmates, regardless of the fact that they are ineligible for that assistance. A program like that will cause bottom suckers to flock to your shores.
But Berlin, you don’t have welfare recipients only to blame for your problems.
Seriously, every time I see a small town go to shit, I immediate see the middle class people of that small town bitch about those on welfare and how they’re ruining it for everyone. That is a cop out. If you really think your next door neighbor receiving food stamps is the reason that your town has gone to shit, you have a lot to learn about the world. And I’m pretty sure I can tell you why your town has gone to shit. Mainly, you stopped taking responsibility.
You’re too busy looking for someone to blame.
That solves nothing. If you want your main street back, you need to start having a main street that people want to visit.
Get your movie theaters back. Movies theaters are for everyone. They are humanities common denominator. Everyone is equal in a movie theater.
They make no one feel excluded because they aren’t pretty or athletic. Shit people, why do you think I can quote every single Eddie Murphy movie since he made the Golden Child? Movies are for everyone. You don’t need to be pretty or athletic to watch them. A movie theater is where most fat ugly kids (like me) learn about love and laughter. When a town loses its movie theater, it loses its heart.
Organize a neighborhood watch. Make these new meth heads that have taken up dealing on street corners afraid to go out at night. When it comes to crime, you need to draw a hard line. Otherwise, it becomes a plague, ripping through your town unchecked.
Stop letting drug stores buy out every fucking building on the main strip of town so they can leave them empty. You realize that business owners are required to talk to city hall before they start monopolizing the city, right?
Also, stop electing the most popular old dude as mayor. Do you all really want Berlin to be known as the place old people go to die?
You have natural resources. You have a beautiful river, some kick ass hiking trails and a great set up down town. This should be all you need to make your city work again. But you don’t because you let the same tired politicians run your city and you wait for ‘your turn’ on the council.
Here’s the thing. If you want to fix Berlin, “your turn” is NOW. You can’t fix it with a couple of Super Sundays or Tombolas. You can’t fix it with bake sales. You can only fix it by finding a way to encourage business owners to come back and show the criminals that this will NOT be their brown town to sell meth.
Berlin used to be my sanctuary. The people there weren’t great, but the land gave me a peace that I will never be able to replicate. You all have a choice. You can take back your city by creating new opportunities, thereby making a place that people will want to visit. Or you can sit the fuck around bitching about how all the people on welfare are taking your jobs.
The fact is, you have everything you need to be successful again Berlin. But most of you are too busy bitching about the problems to see the potential.
Look, I’m a city chick now. I have been since I was 19. I know I’m not a local anymore and that shouldn’t give me a say…but Berlin used to be my home. I hung at the Hutchins street park, stole my first kiss in Brookside, and learned how to hopscotch at Brown School. I know it’s sentimental, but I’d hate to see it fail.
Simply stated, current Berlin natives, get busy moving…or get busy finding a way to fix your fucked up town, because I’m tired of seeing the place I was born hanging on life support. Either kill it or let it go, but stop letting it dangle somewhere in the middle.
My city deserves better than that.
I see stupid articles pop up on Twitter and Facebook all the time. “Sure signs that he’s into you” or ‘How to tell if your relationship is on the right track.”
Then, I go down to the listing and it gives helpful tips like;
- He cares about your feelings.
- He asks about your friends.
- He tells you he misses you, even if you’ve only been apart a few hours.
To me, this list doesn’t sound like the traits of a man; they sound like the traits of an 85-year-old Jewish grandmother. I half expected to see ‘he makes a great Matzo Ball soup’ as number 4.
The problem with the articles (besides the fact that they describe the ideal man as being a one dimensional caricature with no feelings or desires other than your happiness) is that they don’t really give you any factual evidence that their tips are true.
But I have some tips as well, and I think they might be a bit more spot on.
10 Sure Signs That You’re Friggen Stuck Together
10. Your finances are impossibly intertwined. Are you in your late 50s, married to someone for the past 26 years and living paycheck to paycheck? Yeah, you’re never getting divorced. You’re never getting divorced because you can’t afford it. Instead, lay back with your soul mate, relax and wait for the sweet, sweet grip of death.
9. The life insurance is too good to give up now. They have a $1 million policy with a double indemnity clause, a serious drinking habit and a raging case of diabetes. You’ve already put in 25 years. What’s 10 more when you could retire in style?
8. You’re in an extremely unbalanced codependent relationship. Are you a meth head dating your dealer? A nutjob dating your shrink? A hooker dating your pimp? Congrats. You’ve found your soul mate. If only we could all be so lucky.
7. You have a very unusual sexual fetish and a limited pool of attractive people to pick from. Let’s face facts. If you’re into dressing up as a giant beaver while an overweight man in a wet suit whacks you in the balls with a hammer, you probably don’t have a very large selection in the ‘common interests’ category on Match.com. Once you find one, hold onto that perv for dear life.
6. You are somehow physically attached to your significant other. Whether it’s some kind of conjoined twin birth defect, radiation accident, or weird human centipede experiment, you’re physically stuck together. I know it’s unlikely, but if we live in a world where someone could think of the movie “The Human Centipede” then we live in a world where someone will try to do it.
5. Your parents said you would never make it. Sure, they said it 20 years ago and you’ve been married to that high school sweetheart for years, but you’re too invested to back down now. The only way your getting divorced is if your parents admit they were wrong first, because you would rather die with someone you hate than live with your judgmental mom spitting out the phrase “I told you so.”
4. YOU ARE BOTH THE KIND OF PEOPLE WHO WRITE IN CAPS LOCK. Sometimes, in the beautiful mysterious nature of life, two idiots fall in love. They might meet while waiting in line at the lotto machine at the store. They might bump hands at a Nickleback concert. They might wind up in the emergency room together after accidentally drinking bleach or wandering into traffic. The fact is, it is part of the cosmic architecture of the universe that idiots are drawn together. It’s god’s way of keeping them from dumbing down the gene pool with the ‘normals’.
3. You’ve only ever met on the internet. Reality just can’t compare with fantasy. Where else but on the internet can a 45-year-old convenience store cashier feel like he has a shot with a 22-year-old millionaire virgin? There is a reason situations like “Tall Hot Blonde” happen and that is human nature. We all want what is unattainable. Hell, that’s the basis of capitalism. As long as you two continue lying, and continue never meeting in person, you will be together forever or at least until one of you gets a virus.
2. You are just perfectly suited. And I don’t mean in a dorky ‘she laughs at all my jokes,’ kind of way. You’re a boy with mommy issues who needs constant validation. She’s a girl with daddy issues who needs a man to beat on. You guys were just plain meant to be.
1. And the number 1 sure sign you’re going to be together forever? You’re not reading this, because you know that relationship problems can’t be fixed by the advice a lady whose only relationship advice qualification is she can afford to spend $29.99 a year maintaining a blog.
These stupid lists aren’t helping anyone. They’re insulting to men and I’m pretty sure the majority of them are being written by a bitter old cat lady who’s never had a partner inflicted orgasm.
I’m sorry, but no, I don’t thing men should completely change themselves to get with girls. If I wanted to date another chick, I’d go full on gay rather than just bi-curious.
What really gets me going is that the girls who write this shit are the same ones who bitch that there are no good men left. There are no good men left because they’ve limited themselves to a cardboard cutout version of what a man is supposed to be, as opposed to who he really is.
You know how you really know you’re supposed to be together? You just fucking know. Anyone who hasn’t felt that before is shaking their head in confusion, while anyone who has is nodding right along with me. When you feel that feeling, it’s like passing a million little ‘is your partner good for you tests’ all at once. There’s no test you need to take to prove it, or questionnaire you can read to verify it. Everything just clicks into place and you know.
So how do you know if your partner is right for you? You didn’t really feel the need to get a stranger’s opinion on that in the first place.
The other night was a lot like any night for me. I couldn’t get to sleep. See, I am one of those people who likes to save all my worries for bed time. Most of the time, my worries are simple and stupid, kinda like this.
Essa lays down in bed. She scratches her boob. “Is this lump on my nipple a pimple? Or is it a cancerous tumor? Holy shit, it’s the beginning of a nipple hair! Fuck, I’m never getting laid again. What dude wants a girl with nipple hair? Sure, I can pluck it, but I’ll always know it was there….”
But the other night, my thoughts turned a lot more serious. Every year of my life has passed faster than the last despite the fact that they all feel the same. I’ve finally reached that age where you actually start to notice your age. I’ve finally reached the point where it feels like the clock is ticking down, rather than ticking up. I’ve finally reached the age where I realize that it ends.
To me, death has always been an abstract matter. Sure it happens to other people. Hell, it happens every single day. But it was never something I considered for myself. Much like the color orange, hip pockets and ruffles, I never thought that death was something that fit me.
But it’s going to happen, either tomorrow when I get run over by a car in the parking lot, or sixty years from now, when I die during a coke fueled orgy with a bunch of man whores.
When I think about dying, I get mad. Why the fuck am I trying so hard? Why do I care about my weight, how much I drink, how much I smoke, what I do for a living? It’s all going to end anyway. Someday, I am going to disappear from this world like I never existed. That alone is enough to make me wonder why the hell I get out of bed every day.
My recent preoccupation with death drives most of my friends crazy, especially the older ones. “You’re still so young. You have years ahead of you.”
I wonder if John Ritter’s friends said the same thing to him. “Stop thinking about the end, John. You have 50 years left in you easy. ‘8 Simple Rules’ just got picked up for another season….”
And pop went the aneurism.
Life isn’t fair. The fact that death happens at all proves that. You can spend your entire life building something, or you can spend your entire life doing nothing; either way, you wind up the same.
This is the reason that I have always stayed away from atheism, despite being staunchly anti-religious. The last thing that I want to consider is that if I die, it’s just all over. I need to know that something more happens. That it doesn’t just all stop. I need to believe that somehow, someway, my end isn’t actually my end, but an entirely new beginning.
Because the sad fact is, if the atheists are right, my life has been an exercise in complete futility. Sure, it was a good way to waste some time, but I’m not that important. If there is no higher purpose, nothing I did ever really mattered.
If the atheists are right, I am the human equivalent of a game of ‘Fruit Ninja’.
I really don’t want to believe that. I’ll be honest. If I died tonight, the world wouldn’t change that much. Sure, some people would be sad for a bit, but then, I’d turn into a sanctified memory. The people who were reading this post after my death might find me a bit more fascinating because I was dead, but that still wouldn’t make anything I did matter.
My dog would find someone else to follow around the house. My readers would find another blogger to follow. The books that I wrote would be worth more and someone would hire a ghostwriter to finish off the rest, like what they did with VC Andrews. My death wouldn’t give me permanent fame. I am midlist at best. People don’t remember midlist commercial fiction authors. They remember best sellers. There is really nothing about me that would be that memorable. I am neither a particularly good person, or a particularly bad person. I’m just Essa, living somewhere in the middle. The perpetual fence sitter.
Despite being a significantly better person, I would matter less than Joe Valachi or Jeffrey Dahmer. My name would never be famous or infamous. It would just disappear.
And the fact that the end is as inevitable as a hanging pendulum makes me wonder “should I have been braver?” Have I been ballsy enough? Should I have quit that job sooner? Should I have bitch slapped that girl who cut me in line like I wanted to? Should I have had more kids? Should I have gotten married?
Should I have kept up that old meth habit?
The end is nigh, people. This depressing post isn’t just true for me. It’s true for all of us. Life is nothing more than an exercise in futility. When you’re lying on your death bed, if you failed to say everything you wanted to say or do everything you wanted to do, you will have regrets.
If the atheists are right, then my best possible goal is no regrets. So let me say a few things I have been dying to say, but have avoided saying, simply out of some outdated feeling of decorum;
- Most of the people I have known who have quit smoking would have been better off sticking to the habit. Seriously, I would have rather you all stayed thin, happy people rather than turned into fat, judgmental bitches.
- Most men have no idea what they’re doing in bed and I have no idea why you all can’t find the clitoris. It’s a giant pink button in the center of the vagina. It couldn’t be more findable if it had neon arrows pointing at it. The only orgasms I’ve ever had have been 100% relating to something I did. If you’re reading this and you slept with me, know that I was faking it so you would leave me alone and I could go to sleep.
- On another note, I lose all interest in a man the second I sleep with him. Not sure if it’s due to the lack of orgasms or some deeper psychological issue.
- Dr. Smith, I lied about how much I drink. When I checked off ‘4 drinks a month’ it should have been ‘4 drinks a day.’
- If we are friends, know that at one point, I was almost 100% sure that you were retarded due to something you said or did but said nothing out of politeness
- If you are one of my female friends, know that I am 100% sure you talk about me in an incredibly unflattering way behind my back. Rest assured, I am not offended…because I do the same thing to you. It’s just part of being a girl.
- Dark haired dude that I used to work with, I’m pretty sure we were soul mates, which is a rare statement for me. Feelings, emotion and the idea that my life could ever potentially be a harlequin novel makes me flinch…which is probably why I was such a cunt to you. It is so much easier to reject someone in advance than wait for them to reject you. It was a bitch move on my part and the biggest regret of my life. Rest assured, you got off easy. I’m a fucking train wreck anyway and you were too good for me.
- Marijuana made the majority of my life tolerable. Even when you thought I wasn’t stoned…I was.
- I am fully aware that I would have made a fantastic lesbian, but I’m not. Aside from the few occasional same sex dalliances, I much prefer the fruit of the banana to the fruit of the fig.
Life is short, life is cruel and life is fleeting. But it is also beautiful. My recent obsession will go away and I will go back to giving you all tips on how to buy weed on the internet, but rest assured, I haven’t forgotten the lesson. Say what you want to say now. Live how you want to live now. If the atheists are right, you don’t get another chance.
And Fruit Ninja is an AWESOME game.
The Facebook nostalgia video has officially gone viral. It’s called the ‘look back’ and it is designed to tell you what was really important in your life thanks to how many of your friends halfheartedly liked something.
Of course, because the vast majority of my friends are idiots, my video is nothing more than a pile of loud garbage. Generally, the drunker I am when I post a status update, the more people like it. Despite writing approximately 5,000 articles for various news outlets, publishing 3 books, raising a kid, changing careers, getting my masters degree and all the other life changing things I have done, this is apparently the most important thing I have had to say in the past 10 years.
I genuinely hate my Facebook page. As far as I can tell, it’s nothing more than a digital exercise in rejection. Even someone as together as me gets a little bit hurt when I post something that I think is pure genius, and no one likes it. When someone does like it, I think that they only clicked like in order to get me to go to their page and like something they made. I can’t help it, it’s pure psychology.
So I’ve decided to fix the problem by encrypting all of my Facebook status messages using PGP.
Now, I will truly know who actually cares what I am posting, as these people will be forced to spend 15 minutes hunting down my public key, and then another 5 decrypting it. In addition, I will only respond to comments that have also been encrypted using PGP.
As an awesome side effect, it will ensure that any future ‘look back’ videos created on my behalf come out as pure gibberish.
**In case you were wondering, this encrypted message says “haha fuckers, good luck making a video about this.” A valuable resource put to good use just to piss off my Facebook friends. I truly do have far too much time on my hands.***
I hate being a smoker. I hate waking up in the morning and wheezing. I hate looking at every canker sore that I get and comparing them to mouth cancer photos on the internet. I hate the waste of money, the waste of time and the way I always smell like an ashtray.
But once upon a time, me and cigarettes were in love.
It all started when I was 11. The guidance counselor pulled us all out of class into the gymcafetorium (it’s gym+café+auditorium in white trash speak, for my fancy readers). We watched a video about the dangers of smoking. In that video was a section on why people smoked in the first place.
One of the ladies in that video said she smoked to stay thin.
“Thin?” My pudgy 11 year old self thought. “I could be thin?” At the time, I was an outcast. Overweight, bad teeth, worse clothes and a complexion that resembled the greasiest thin sliced pizza in New York. Anything that could magically make me prettier was considered a blessing, no matter the danger.
That night, I swiped the first cigarette I ever smoked from my father. It was a GPC, (aka Generic Price Cigarette) regular. It tasted like ass and it make me vomit.
But after the vomiting came this amazing feeling of euphoria. It was the first time I’d ever caught a buzz on something and it would be a feeling I would chase for the rest of my life.
I kept smoking and a few months passed in a haze. Before I knew it, I’d lost 20 pounds and my greasy skin had dried out from the nicotine.
I went from being hideous to marginally attractive overnight.
After a while, it was impossible to keep stealing cigarettes from my dad, so I started buying them at a store with very lose age restrictions. One day, I was stomping out of the store when the coolest chick in school saw me packing a new pack of smokes.
“You smoke? That’s cool.”
I had no idea it was cool too! I thought I was just trying to stay skinny. Soon, me and the rest of the bad assed 12 year olds were heading off to ‘the trail’ on a daily basis to smoke cigarettes and bitch about our parents,
I had to keep up the cool persona. My dad’s cigarettes weren’t enough and the dude who used to sell them to me got fired. So I started stealing them.
I remember the first time I stole a pack of smokes. This was back when they kept them in the isles, as opposed to behind the register. I stole that first pack and all the blood rushed to my head. I was sure I was going to pass out right in the doorway. My hands were shaking so bad I could barely get them in my pocket.
But I did. That first theft increased my confidence. Soon, I was stealing 4 or 5 packs a day and selling them to the kids at school. I became the go to chick when you needed a nicotine fix for those under 18.
In short, cigarettes turned me from an overweight misfit to a marginally attractive badass with some badass skills. If it weren’t for cigarettes, I would have never developed a little skill called confidence. Hell, I’d probably be some 33 year old overweight loser working in a convenience store getting yelled at by a boss with an associate’s degree.
Cigarettes didn’t just get me physically addicted; they got me emotionally addicted. They define who I am today.
Need a break from daily life? Go have a cigarette. Got into a fight with an idiot? Go have a cigarette. Conversation making you uncomfortable? Go have a cigarette.
Hell, I even use it now as a negotiating tactic.
“We’re only willing to pay 30 cents a word. “
“I charge 50.”
“We can find someone else…” the threat, that should hang in the air and make me uncomfortable is null an void because I no longer care about making the deal. I just want to get outside to smoke.
“That’s cool.” I reach into my back pocket and smile as my full pack reassures me. “You need to do what you need to do.” I race out the door, ignoring their protests, as my nicotine craving calls to me.
10 minutes later as I’m chain smoking a 305 menthol on the sidewalk in front of the building, I get a text. They’ll pay my rate.
My cigarette tells me to up my rate to 60 cents a word, because they wasted my time.
Smoking made me. It made me brave. It gave me confidence and it made me do things that I never thought I’d be capable of doing. When I started freelance writing, 30 cents a word was an offer I would have jumped at. But my cigarettes know me better than that and they know that I deserve more. If it wasn’t for smoking, I wouldn’t have the friends I have today. I wouldn’t have done half the ballsy things I do. I wouldn’t be me.
I’d probably be some sad, overweight WalMart cashier who never got to experience the joy of telling a boss to go fuck themselves.
Smoking is more than a hobby. It is a life calling. It is a definable attribute. Just like I have blue eyes, just like I serve angry quips and cynicism, just like I have balls the size of watermelons, I am a smoker. It is part of who I am. It is not just some nasty habit. It is me.
So understand that asking me to quit smoking is like asking me to give up a part of myself.
I heard once that smoking is 1000 times more addictive than heroin. Now, I’ve tried heroin and I have to admit, I didn’t find it addictive at all. I found it nauseating. But that is because heroin is physically addictive. I can avoid physical addiction easily. Hell, I haven’t eaten solid food for four days now.
But smoking is an emotional addiction. It isn’t just something I do. It is part of me. It played a huge part in making me who I am.
And turning my back on it now feels a hell of a lot like a betrayal.