Friday, November 7, 2008

smoke em if you got em.

When I was a kid, like, middleschool and early highschool, I’d go up to Canada to play hockey in the summer, because, well, they care about hockey a lot more up there, and as a result, they have good places to play in the summer. Okay, so this is pretty much where my love affair with cigarettes began. It wasn’t the first time I ever smoked. That was in fifth grade when Vic Weffer came to school with a Virginia Slim torn up into little tiny pieces in a Ziploc bag. He showed the contraband to me in the science hallway right after Mr. Barsevich’s class and asked if I wanted the cigarettes (now, I’m pretty sure, in retrospect, that it was one cigarette ripped into about four, inch-long pieces [it was a Virginia Slim, after all, and those things are long as shit]) to which I replied ‘fuck yeah. ‘
So, after school, Jon Mindes and I were skateboarding home and we stopped in front of the hospital to try the cigarettes. Of course, we barely knew how to light matches, much less smoke a cigarette, much LESS smoke a little tiny stump from an unfiltered and jagged end. Nevertheless, we tried. Oh how we tried. The occasional coughing fit was enough evidence that we were doing shit the right way and I left the whole situation with three distinct thoughts. 1) I was terrified that I was going to smell like smoke and my mom would bust me. 2) I was probably a little better at smoking than Jon was and 3) We were, by far, the coolest kids in school. Duuuuuuuude!
So, after that, things were underway. Um, my friend Eric and I, inspired by a Dead Milkmen song, smoked banana peels the next year. Unfortunately, no one told us how to do this and we were pretty unaware of the laws of basic smoking, so we just kind of tried to light one end of the peel and suck the other end. It seems stupid now, but man, we were in sixth grade! At least we were trying new things, right? I don’t know, that may have even been seventh grade. Whatever, it was a disaster of an experiment. For future generations out there, when you smoke banana peels, what you want to do is scoop out the white shit on the inside of the peel and dry it out, in an oven or in the sun. Then, once it’s totally dry, you put the crumbly shavings in a pipe or you roll it in a paper and smoke it. The result is a really sweet headache that should last about three hours. Again, awesome.
Later that year, in the summer, Chris and I snuck out of my house and cruised up past all the lakeview area’s big, black tranny hookers (this was a long time ago, people) to the Gyros place that used to be on Broadway just north of Oakdale before that whole area completely turned over. We used quarters in the cigarette machine and bought a pack of Marlboro reds. The guy behind the counter, who I remember as having a mustache, looked up and saw our shaking hands and said, “gotta have those smokes, huh? I know how it is. Sometimes you just need one, right?”
Which led to this quick exchange between me and Chris:
“Oh, yeah! Right! Totally. We’re totally jonesing.”
“Dude, jonesing?”
“I don’t know dude, what would you say?”
“I don’t know man, but jonesing sounds a little passé…maybe having a nic-fit?”
“that’s gay.”
“Anyway, thanks dude! See you later.”
“Good night boys”
We snuck down to the Chicago Historical Society which has a giant statue of Abe Lincoln standing in front of a giant chair in the back field. We climbed up into this chair and sat there and smoked for a few hours, practicing inhaling, critiquing each others’ techniques of dragging from the cigarette, holding the cigarette, putting out the cigarette and so on. We discussed our reasons for starting to smoke, the main one being that girls smoke and if we smoked too, we’d have a nice conversation starter. Namely: “Hey, got a smoke?” Because, as we all know, girls just peel off their panties at the first sign of a strange guy mooching off them. It was a moment of divine inspiration, but unfortunately for Joe Camel’s hungry babies, it didn’t stick. We didn’t really start smoking that night. It was just practice, so eventually we could hit the ground running (now THAT is a deliciously ironic metaphor in this case…cuz, you know…running, smoking, they both make me barf…anyway.)
Okay, so fast forward a few years (summer before freshman year) to hockey camp. This was where I met this Indian guy named Dev from DC and we decided that we’d take up smoking as a real endeavor. I was all trained up at this time, and so, presumably, was Dev. The place we went was for dudes of all ages to play, so there were guys who were in their twenties and thirties who were up in this complex who were semi pro, from junior B to major A, and even a couple of low tier NHL dudes, just keeping in shape over the summer, and as such the commissary in the complex sold smokes.
So, yeah, we started smoking, along with EVERYONE at the place. The hockey was seriously just a front for the smoking camp that went on there. This is where I learned to blow smoke rings, and it was fun, kind of like that island in Pinocchio, because the counselors were just hockey dudes who wanted to drink and smoke, so there was no authority in the place.
I was friendly with some of the counselors and they’d come into my room at midnight and wake us up with a case of beer and some smokes and we’d just hang out for a while. Again, there was no other authority in the complex. Lovely time, for sure. There was also a kid there who was rumored to have fucked his own sister…so there’s that.
At hockey camp, I was told that if you smear toothpaste on your cigarette, and let it dry then smoke it, you’ll get high “a very brief but very powerful high”. Of course, we all tried it, and (SPOILER ALERT) of course it doesn’t get you high.
I quit smoking about ten years later, thanks in no small part to inspiration from my friend Toby, in Austin Texas by duct taping my fingers together and drinking beer to heighten the desire for a cigarette and then finding myself unable to have one, as my fingers were duct taped together, I’d be forced to find something else to occupy my time, like another beer or push ups or figuring out how I would have ever talked to any girls without using cigarettes as a mechanism. But quitting smoking is like coming back into earth’s atmosphere in the shuttle. There’s a window, and if you hit the window (you’re mentally prepared, you’re serious, you want it, you’ve got support that works for you) it’s relatively painless, but any other time, you’re fucked. That’s my experience, at least.
I’ve heard stories of this dude who lives in his mom’s basement and pulls bongs of toothpaste when he runs out of weed. Also, and this is all legend, but they say that when people come over and ask him for a hit from his bong, he fills the bowl with his pubes (yes, that’s what I meant to type. I know.) and just sprinkles a thin veneer of shake over the top so it looks like it’s weed. He apparently doesn’t clean the bong, so regardless of what’s going on, it’s full of pube and toothpaste resin. Mmmmm, mmmm. Good stuff. Enjoy your weekends.


Candice said...

i just finished (failed?) pathology, pharmacology, and microbiology exams on the pulmonary system and if i learned anything it's that cigarettes fuck your body up real bad.

although holding cancerous lungs in anatomy lab was pretty cool.

P.S Don't Write said...

"Cold, dark face reminds me of the night we learned to smoke, fireflies at our lips..."

Joe Costa said...

PS Dont Write. You know we were all thinking it, so what was the need to articulate it? Isn't that a little passe?

And Brendan, I'd like to see a continuation in the "shit to see in Chicago" list category. I'm planning on going to Chicago on my way to or from Michigan this summer.

Manny Los Gatos said...

Did you know if you go to the top of the page and hit next blog that you go to some completely random blog. And your next-door blog neighbor has pictures of their kid dressed as a dinosaur.

Anonymous said...

I clicked on the next blog and stumbled upon this

A l e x said...

Smoking is one of my biggest pet peeves of all time. For me, it's a deal-breaker. None of anyone close to me smokes, and if they started we would not be friends anymore. Which makes me sound a little nuts, I guess, but the idea is so idiotic and repulsive to me. On top of every reason we're ever taught that smoking is bad (and there are a whole pile of 'em), we can heap "you're being a jerk to all the non-smokers around whenever you light up" and "FUCK stop fucking LITTERING the whole fucking city with your goddamn cigarette butts, you assholes." God, now I'm all worked up. Eeesh.

Paintboy said...

I miss smoking almost as much as I miss snuss(what I learned playing hockey).

Anonymous said...

I've been a smoker for 7 years and i just recently got a wicked change of season cold filled with a great fever and swollen throat to top it off. I've gone 3 days without a cigarette and this has been very easy since my throat is almost swollen shut. I don't have any cravings at all but I'm pretty sure in a couple days when i'm better i'll want a cigarette. But! i want to quit. Long story short, how long did it take for your cravings to go away? And what did you do when you had a really bad craving?

P.S Don't Write said...

joe costa, you really think I was gonna leave it unsaid? I kinda love that song. Sometimes, I just can't control my boner.

Zac Markey said...

alex don't be such a douche. you sound like you're fucking 12. are you 12?

ps don't write, joe costa is just jealous he didn't get to write it first. and only some of us we're thinking it (probably the people with physical copies of the greatest album ever made).

Sickie27 said...

Joe Costa is The Man. Actually.

And I realy liked that whole story, Brendan. I always ask people to tell me a story, just randomly. No one can ever tell me a simple story as good as that.

Nico said...

I've been smoking for a decade now, and I love every second of it. fact: smoking makes you cooler. and even if you dont like it, you should at least smoke cuz girls love the taste when they kiss you.

martin* said...

Haha Alex, you sound like an absolute doucebag.

If you would dump a friend cos they smoked you aint a friend anyone would be keen to have

Thanks for the story Mr Kelly, I remember my first smoke, stolen from a friends Mum and shared around the rocks at the beach - ahhh the golden years

Some Young Guy said...

i think smoking's pretty reeeetarded. i'm not one to judge someone who does it though. some people think jacking off is gross too. i don't jack off in front of you, don't smoke in front of me, you know?

yeeeah you know what i'm talking about.

but whereas jacking off in moderation is totally healthy, natural and normal, smoking in any capacity is in no way good for you. know why it calms yer nerves? cuz you're addicted to nicotine, which sucks. and i agree about the littering thing, i work at an all-ages club (non-profit, which actually gets grant money to keep kids from smoking) and cleaning up cigarette butts is a pain in the ass.

Max said...

cigarette debate? pretty lame. uuuuugh! why am i even bothering to comment. i've got this irresistible urge. kinda like my addiction to cigarettes! fuck you. its a choice. believe it or not, people smoking doesn't have any effect on you. especially now that we've been relegated to sidewalks and porches and our personal ashtrays. if you've got a problem with this, guess what? you're a bigot. thats right! nazi assholes.