I don’t smoke. I have never smoked. I have no desire to actually start smoking. Yet I have terrible, realistic dreams about smoking and the joy it gives me. So what gives? Smoking is gross. I personally don’t care if you smoke, really. Burst into flames for all I care. Whatever makes you happy. But I cannot ever smoke IRL because I watched years of smoking kill my grandpa in front of my eyes. I watched him wither away, physically and mentally, fighting through what’s now known as COPD. And the man never really quit – I remember him, attached to a nasal oxygen tube (which he temporarily rested on his forehead), lighting a cigarette on the gas stove, like ya’ do. He had mentally deteriorated enough to confuse watermelon and mushrooms, and to tell us all to never become traveling troubadours. For a young person who hadn’t really confronted death and decay in such close proximity, this was terrifying and confusing. So it goes.
That’s all I can say about that now, because it was a very difficult time. Moving on.
It seems smoking runs in the family, though – my gramma smoked (she is now also suffering from COPD, and has had lung cancer), my dad smoked (a fact I only really know because I remember seeing ashtrays in the junk drawer), my other grandpa smoked a pipe (a smell which I loved as a child, and still love to this day). I’ve never picked up the habit, not only because of my grandpa, but because my friends are all pretty much like “OH NO YOU DON’T” and who am I to argue with that?
However, I sometimes suffer from these intense dreams in which I am on the hunt for cigarettes, or I am purchasing cigarettes, or I have bought the cigarettes and am about to light one, or that I have lit the cigarette and am taking a deep, satisfying draw from it. When the dreams get to that particular point, I can actually feel the intake of smoke, the warmth of it, and the relief of finally pulling a drag. I don’t understand how this is possible, because as I said, I’ve never smoked. And yet, I’m so happy to be smoking in these dreams, and it feels very real, to the point where I have to fight the urge to drive to the gas station and just buy a pack and get it over with.
YOU AGAIN!? GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!
I understand now that this is a stress response. I get shitwrecked on anxiety about what-have-you, and then desperately dream about some kind of calm. But it doesn’t make the craving go away, knowing this. I still struggle on occasion with the temptation to buy maybe the slimmest cigarettes – less nicotine, right? – and smoking the shit out of them. Or those now-ubiquitous e-cigarettes that you can plug right in to your computer or whatever. They’s so fancy! Which is why I need to AVOID THEM LIKE THE MOTHERFUCKING WIND.
I recently posited this quandary to my friends on F*c*b**k, and got a whole mess of suggestions, from those damnable e-cigs (which apparently come in a tobacco-free version?), to my favorite, candy cigarettes. Now this was an idea I really got behind, except I haven’t seen candy cigarettes in this state for years. I was under the assumption that they had been banned, because they promoted smoking to little kids or something like that – which reminds me, I cannot believe that Kinder Surprise Eggs are actually banned in the USA and fuck that particular noise. However, a few weeks ago, I got a winning scratcher ticket so I popped off to the local fuel mart to cash it in, and LO AND BEHOLD, they had candy cigarettes! And not those “candy sticks,” either, but the REAL ones that come packaged just like cigarettes:
“AAAAAIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” (my actual response)
The only difference these days is that candy smokes don’t have that dab of red paint at the one end anymore. But who cares? I got a couple packs, and at $.20USD a pop, they make for a cost-effective experiment. At the very least, I’d be on a major sugar buzz.
The first couple of sticks, I admittedly just straight-up ate like a pretzel stick, because oh why not. Also I feel like interjecting right now with the fact that pretty much anyone who’s seen Ghostbusters has probably done the gag where Dan Aykroyd has the cigarette hanging from his lip, saying “Venkman! VENKMAN!” except with a pretzel stick and if you haven’t done that then you are either lying or you just haven’t lived yet. Anyhow, after a particularly stressful day of work, I took a candy cig and more or less pretended to smoke it.
And. it. worked.
I felt somehow eased by this action. Calmed. So it seems, for now, I have a solution to this dilemma. Normally I would say at this point “HURRAY FOR ANNA, ANNA IS THE BEST,” but this idea was not mine at all, but rather Christianne Benedict’s. So cheers, Christi. You should all go read her amazing and wonderful movie blog, Krell Laboratories, which I will stan for all day every day. Go check her out!