• Richard Scrimger

quit any time, I tell you


There's a relief that is a kind of satisfaction. A need has been met, and will continue to be met for the immediate future. I'm not talking about finally finding your glasses/hearing aid/ prosthesis/oxygen tube after fumbling all over the bedroom. That's relief at reaching normalcy -- without this mechanical help you'd be blind/deaf/lame/dead. Nor am I talking about reaching a bathroom after miles or hours of increasing discomfort. That is relief pure and simple. You do not (well, maybe you do, but I do not) wash my hands, try to dry my hands, fail to dry my hands, and and stride away from the Men's room shaking my hands, and thinking, That should do me for the next three hours. I'm not, if you understand me, thinking of my next pee. I'm completely occupied with the relief of this one (and of course trying to get the water off my hands). Compare this feeling of relief with the feeling you get as you leave the house, and check your purse or jacket pocket and find a full packet of smokes. Right. You give a little internal nod of the head, and you step out feeling good and confident and happy and relieved and satisfied and in tune with the world. All at once. Your need is met for today -- or for most of today.


Sounds positive, doesn't it? Sounds like a worthwhile feeling to have. But it's based on insecurity. If you didn't need the cigarettes to feel good, you wouldn't feel so good about having them (as opposed to the oxygen, which you need to survive). The good feeling is thing-dependent. That's my phrase, not the psychology textbook's. (There probably is a cool technical phrase here. I can't imagine Dr Freud lighting his cigar and talking about thing-dependancy. Hmm. It's not co-dependancy because the cigarette doesn't need you. And it's not fixation because that's something else. And it's not an Oedipus complex. And that may be it for me and psychobabble). The amount to which you feel positive about life with a full tank of gas is the extent to which you are petro-dependent.


Where am I going with this? I don't smoke. (Yes, I do drink a lot of coffee, but I can quit any time. Any time, I tell you. ) After a busy weekend travelling hither and thither and yon, emptying and filling the gas tank on my way to one fall fair after another, I now have a fridge full of apple cider. Life is good, I tell you.


But that brings me to a bigger question. You feel good with a cigarette because you need them. If you remove the need, you also remove the good feeling. Maybe that's fine because freedom (and good health) are good things too. So my question is ... where does love fit in? No time now -- I have a physical need. I'll feel better after I meet it -- and since I'm at home, I'll have dry hands too. But that love as need thing is interesting. More later.

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Richard Scrimger | scrimgerr@gmail.com | Toronto, ON, Canada