Are cigarettes good for you?

Of course not. They’ll do less for your health, in fact, than most hideous car crashes.   But that’s not the point, is it?  We already know that they’re unhealthy.  This has been drilled into our minds for what may as well be eons and yet 19% of the US smokes.

But whatever.  These are boring statistics that really aren’t what you’d call “unpublished”.  What I’m more interested in are the aspects of the “tobacco entity” that allow this habit to continue.  Why?

Because I smoke.  It’s expensive, has turned what used to be swimmer’s lungs into the biological equivalent of a tired old leaf blower, and in my circles smoking is more deadly to your social status than it is to your mortality.  But I do it anyway, because (here’s the good part)…

Hot or not?

Hot or not?

I enjoy it.  Genuine enjoyment and pleasure happens when I spark one up.  Turkish Royals, pink BIC, hell yeah.  I love it while driving, while eating, after sex, while at work, while hiking, or after I leave the gym (yes, you read that right).  Pretty much any activity I do, besides sleeping, is made better with a cigarette.

I’m addicted, hopelessly.  I say this with a tiny dash of shame, or much less salt than Emeril uses.  I’ve been smoking my entire adult life, for 12 years.  I’m 24 (hello?!).  Before you count years on your fingers I’ll go ahead and tell you that I was 12 the first time I took a puff – a beautiful, blue, billowing…never mind.  Anyway, this despite being brought up in a good family, in an excellent school (where I did well), and in an affluent area of town.

My next point, and this is the big one, is that I don’t know what life is like without cigarettes.  I have never actually lived adult life without them and the thought of not having tobacco at arm’s reach is downright scary.  How could it not be?

I don’t do drugs, I exercise, and I’m very conscious of what I eat.  The juxtapose of cigarettes in my life is nearly laughable.  I know I can’t smoke forever, but for now I shall.  So if you’ll excuse me, I have something to take care of…outside.

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On living in a hospital…

First, a bit of background:  I moved to a new apartment recently with two friends.  It’s in a beautiful brick building with massive windows and a huge courtyard.  The apartments are all open to the outside, so there are no hallways or common spaces to smell of cat urine and marijuana.  It was gutted and remodeled in 2005, and our place has skylights and 12 foot ceilings.  So freakin sold, right?!

Built in 1903, the building certainly has the aura of an earlier time.  It feels of that “beauty because we can” built-to-last quality of the Victorian Era that I so absolutely adore.  Between the large courtyard and a couple outlying buildings I guessed that it was a factory of some sort.  I guessed wrong.

Totally not a factory.

It was a hospital.  As I search through old newspaper articles from the beginning of the 20th century, it becomes apparent that it had quite a history too.  A woman who was renowned for her dedicated work in the juvenile correctional facility nearby became very ill from “exhaustion” and died here in 1907.

The kicker, though, came in 1913.  A new building (my building!) was added directly to the west of the original building.  It was home to a special ward dedicated to the treatment of patients who had fallen victim to, of all things, tuberculosis.  Upon reading this, I was thrilled.  

Just kidding.  Considering how deadly the “white plague” was, there’s a good chance that someone met an ill fate in the exact spot where I sleep.  Crap.  Although I considered this a bit further and decided I didn’t mind so much, for two reasons:  1) I don’t believe in that ghost crap, and 2) Even if that stuff exists, who says that “ghosts and spirits” are always pissed and mean?  If there is one here, I plan on making friends with it.  Perhaps I’ll ask it to do dishes.

Either way, I’ll keep an eye out for anything unusual or interesting.  Needless to say, if I see anything, you all will hear about it.

But now it’s time for me to call my landlord and have him replace my thermostat.  The switch marked “heat” refuses to stay on, and at times it gets quite cold.