Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Failure of the Day: The Analogy Phase of Habit Abatement

I might have figured out the best way to describe life after cigarettes. It’s like comparing the current season of the West Wing to the first one. It looks more or less the same, but some part of its essence is missing. It’s not just that nobody says anything interesting anymore and the characters mostly brood about things rather than articulate their thoughts—no, it’s more like you can see the actors underneath the characters being aware of the loss.

But before that starts to sound too depressing, the analogy also works because it’s just a TV show, and just an hour a week. Yes, I think that’s just about right, quitting smoking is like your favorite TV show not being cancelled but just losing the thing the you love about it. And it sucks for that hour of your week, that part of your life that gets affected but for the other hours of your life, eventually, things normalize.

Of course sometimes you really, really want to watch the old-timey West Wing…nothing would be better than rolling a big fat episode of the West Wing and lighting it and sucking all the goodness into you…but all you’ve got are the repeats on Bravo, those pathetic nicotine patches. But we all make do.


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