It’s an OCC-OCC-OCD World! (November 2014)

Thursday, November 20, 2014. I’m watching the sun come up again! I’ve been up all night again! My poor, faithful cat, Buttons, is waiting patiently for me to exhaust myself and drop into bed.IMG_3898.PNG You’ll notice that I have on my snowflake pajamas, in honor of the temperature dropping to 29 degrees yesterday. Today, it’s supposed to get up to the mid-seventies. How’s that for southwestern Louisiana weather? Meanwhile, Buffalo, New York, has already gotten 6 feet (yes, feet) of snow, with up to another 4 feet in the forecast! Some people have all the luck! (In case you’re confused by that, I’ll explain: I miss snow because I’m a transplanted New Englander.)

I’m sorry to report that I have failed at yet another attempt to quit smoking. The Louisiana Smoking Cessation Trust Fund offered me free help, in the form of telephone coaching, in my “quit attempt.” I kinda knew “my goose was cooked” when the girl on the other end of the phone asked, “Do you have a quit date in mind?” When I lamely said, “Six weeks…,” she calmly informed me that the program being offered only allowed for quit dates within a thirty day time frame. I’m not sure, but it kinda felt like she was hoping I’d say “Forget it,” so that maybe she wouldn’t have to do so much paperwork. But, I hurried up and blurted out “OK, thirty days then, because I really want to quit.” I don’t know who I was trying to convince, me or her. She seemed to audibly shrug, as she said, “We’ll, let’s get started.” We talked for about ten minutes, during which time she gave me some pointers. One that I liked was to take a Baggie, put in a few plastic straws cut to the length of a cigarette, then put the remaining count of cigarettes in with the straws, to equal what I was currently smoking. She explained that this would be my “pack” of cigarettes for the day. I was to “smoke” the straws every so often, exactly as I would a cigarette, and that this would trick my brain into thinking I was actually smoking—that my brain wouldn’t know the difference. I jumped on that idea, and we finished the conversation by scheduling her next call to be in two weeks, and hung up.

The plan lasted less than a full straw. My brain couldn’t be fooled by any such low-tech, nicotine-free deception. And that was it. I ducked the follow-up call, and the follow-up to the follow-up calls. I felt like I was a criminal, a fool, a fraud, a failure. So, my blood pressure continues to run too high, and I stay short of breath. And, my cardiologist continues to lecture me. It will truly take a nicotine rehab program (if they had one) or a miracle to deliver me from this truly gut-wrenching addiction.

On a much more somber note…
A few days ago, when the temperature started dropping, I wrote a poem about how thankful I was to be warm, and posted it on my Facebook page.

IMG_3879.PNG But, last night, one of the ideas that popped into my head to rob me of my sleep was guilt. You see, I have been sharing articles about the recent slaughter of Israelis who were in a synagogue in Jerusalem, praying. And, I was suddenly struck with utter self-scorn at the egotistically-comfortable state of my life, while others are being required to pay such a high price for their religious and ethnic identity, and indeed, their very existence. Who am I to be blessed with a life of such care-free comfort? And, what am I doing with that life? Clicking “Like” and “Share to Public” on Facebook, when a social, political, or religious topic comes around, is not what I would call having a significant effect on a world so in need of moral players. What can I do with my remaining life (I’m 63) to effect change? I’m going to ponder and pray about this matter intensely, to see what kind of new priorities I need to establish. I will update this post after I have given this some serious thought.

“The unexamined life is not worth living… .” -Socrates

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