My tobacco-habit is now an adult. Standing at 16 years, it has blossomed into a living person old enough to make capable decisions and be held accountable for its actions. It is old enough to be tried as an adult in a court of law and sentenced to the death penalty. Judge Smails would say: “I didn’t want to do it. I felt like I owed it to him.”
In a cruel twist of irony, I convinced my mom to quit smoking. She was giving me a bath one night when I was five, and I looked up at her and asked if cigarettes were drugs. She couldn’t tell me no, so she quit, only to have me take up the habit 14-years later.
That’s always been a bitter pill for me, but not enough to make me quit. My grandmother got mad at my Mom when she quit smoking because my grandmother didn’t have anybody to smoke with anymore.
I was a late bloomer to cigarettes. I started smoking when I was 18-years-old and started waiting tables. The smokes helped calm me down after a night of putting up with pain-in-the-ass customers. At first, I didn’t let my parents know I smoked, paranoid about how they would react if they found out. But I wasn’t fooling anybody. In their infinite wisdom, they knew.
The day my parents caught me smoking red-handed is a memory etched into my mind. I had just gotten out of class and as I was walking into the parking lot, I saw my parents parked next to my car. I froze. I dropped the cigarette and started walking towards them, smoke billowing out my mouth. I tried playing it off as I was throwing away a piece of straw paper — I know, I wasn’t a good liar yet.
Neither one of them really spoke to me the next two days. It wasn’t they were mad I was smoking, but the fact that I had lied to their faces hundreds of times.
Now, he we are 16-years later, and I’m a full-bloom smoker. I’ve heard if you quit in your mid-3os, then you reduce your chances of long-term health risks, but I don’t see my habit slowing down anytime soon. I’m still in my “Can’t Stop, won’t stop, Rockafella records” phase.”
I did, however, think of an interesting scenario the other night that could lead to me quitting. As I was in the shower, washing the smoke and smell off my fingers and out my hair, I started thinking: What if Doc Brown came back in his DeLorean and told me the Atlanta Braves would win the World Series this year if I quit smoking.
What would I do? Would I quit? Or would I go down in history as the asshole who cost the Braves a World Series title due to my selfishness and refusal to quit smoking?
In that spirit, I have decided to dedicate the rest of this ditty to pitting my love for the Atlanta Braves against my love for Newport’s in a head-to-head battle for ultimate supremacy. Hopefully, I will discover I’m not a selfish asshole and would kick my cigarette habit for a chance to celebrate Atlanta’s second World Series title.
So, buckle up and hold on tight, because here we go …
First, we’ll take a look at the economics of each habit …
With Xfinity, I can get MLB Extra Innings and MLB Network for $109 for the season or $84.99 if I wanted to exclusively follow the Braves’ run.
Meanwhile, the cost of a pack of Newport’s is $5.65, and I smoke a pack a day, meaning I spend $39.95 a week, $158.20 per month and $949.20 on smokes over a six-month span.
This one is easy. The Braves win a landslide, given the fact I could get 11 seasons of the Braves’ TV package with the money I spend on smokes over the course of a baseball season.
So, after the first round, it appears that I’m on my way to quitting cigarettes.
Now, let’s delve into something a bit harder: Emotional attachment.
I’ve been a supporter of the Atlanta Braves for 26 years. I have witnessed the last-to-first season of 1991, a string of 14 consecutive divisional titles, a World Series title in ’95, three World Series losses — earning the Braves a comparison to being the Buffalo Bills of baseball — and through the current streak of three years without a playoff appearance.
On the other hand, my tobacco habit is now going on 15 years, meaning I have 11 more years attachment to the Braves than to Newport’s. However, unlike the Braves, Newport’s have never let me down. They’ve never broken my heart and left me sobbing like a 12-year-old who has just broken up with their first boyfriend or girlfriend. Instead, they have always provided me with a shoulder to cry on and have been there for me through breakups, fights with my parents and during all-nighters in college after putting off studying for a 10-chapter test until the last minute.
Okay. So, my efforts towards giving up cigarettes just took a shot in the arm in this round. But that’s okay. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Let’s see what happens in the next round.
The score after two … Braves 1 Newport’s 1
Now onto Round 3, where I’ll judge which habit is harder on my nerves.
According to the Center for Disease Control, nausea and intestinal cramping, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, irritability and depression are just a few of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
Additionally, many of the people I know who have quit smoking say the urge never goes away. It always sticks around, nagging, encouraging you to light up despite your pleas for it to go away. It haunts you with the force of 100 Ghosts of Christmases’ Yet to Come.
In caveat, I know my Braves, and their ability to choke with everything on the line. Even if I did quit smoking, and they did win the World Series, it would be similar to the Cubs’ World Series victory this year and come down to the wire.
The Braves would become the Boston Red Sox, blowing a chance to win Game 6 Bill Buckner-style, and then barely squeaking out the victory in extra innings of Game 7. Watching the Braves win the World Series would be a rollercoaster ride of emotions, similar to the way heroin junkies feel when kicking the habit.
However, those symptoms would soon pass after watching the Braves complete the Series victory. Meanwhile, it would take quite a while to get over the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, meaning my Newport’s take the final round.
This means that the Newport’s win out by a final score of 2-1, meaning I am what I feared I was at the beginning of this article: A selfish asshole who would deny the Braves’ organization and their millions of fans, including myself, a chance to celebrate a World Series title.
Damn … I really need to give up smoking.