Considering the Right Time

Image credits go to

Image credits go to

He was a lifetime smoker. He had never considered what came after. For more than 30 years he dragged, puffed, spent hundreds of dollars a year on new packs, flicked lighters on the hem of his jeans, and came to savor the smell of lighter fluid, and a freshly packed cigarette. He knew that it was time for a lifestyle change when breathing became more than an involuntary pituitary response. It pained him so, especially at the start of a new day. He wanted to quit so bad. For the first time, as he pondered the warning from his doctor, as he researched and recognized the signs of emphysema, as he considered the social stigma of being seen dragging around an oxygen tank, he wanted to quit. He wanted to live a hundred years.


27 thoughts on “Considering the Right Time

  1. tedstrutz says:

    You got it! I miss flicking the old Zippo and the smell of the fluid… but not much else.

  2. Yes, I’m the bad smoker. Ive “quit” several times. You got this perfectly. Someday it will be my time.

    • Carolyn says:

      Shocker, I’m a smoker too! I started a couple of years ago at age 40. It was my life partner who inspired me to write about this. He’s my age and started when he was 9 or 10. He wants to quit very much because, as he says, he still has a lot of stuff to do ❤

  3. Draug419 says:

    You make pituitary sound so natural in this piece lol (: Awesome job.

    • Carolyn says:

      Thanks, Draug 🙂 If I could express the contemplation that one feels when it hurts to breathe, but with some eloquence. Everyone deserves dignity.

  4. Sandra says:

    Hope he makes it. Once you’re truly over it you can’t understand why you ever did it. Nice vignette, you’ve captured the addiction.

  5. joetwo says:

    I’ve known guys like that. Unfortunately the will to quit so often comes far too late!

    • Carolyn says:

      True. Are you a singer? I see a microphone in your picture there….he’s a musician, too, lead singer and rhythm guitarist, bamboo flute, banjo, harmonica…

  6. My father did that. He started smoking when he was 14 and quit this year at the age of 64. Why’d he do it? Because he couldn’t walk across his living room without hurting. Was it too late? Well, time will tell. But he feels better already and he’s extremely proud of himself, so that’s something.

    • Carolyn says:

      He should be be very proud, thats a testimony to the will to want freedom to live being stronger than addiction!

  7. A big chunk of one of my short stories revolves around my father’s refillable lighters – There was something so magical about them. A nice write.

    • Carolyn says:

      Really, Kelly? I would love to read it. There is a magical quality about it. One of my favorite sounds in the whole world is the click of the Zipo. I think I first loved it when I was really little, when my grandpa used it to light his pipe. His was engraved with an eagle and USAF crest.

  8. jannatwrites says:

    This one got to me – my grandpa slowly suffocated from emphysema. Near the end, he only had 6% lung capacity and hooked himself on chewing tobacco because he couldn’t inhale a cigarette any longer. Did watching this make my parents stop smoking? Nope.

  9. barbara says:

    to encourage your partner, hubbymoose started smoking at age 6 (I know!) stealing cigs from his mother. She finally began buying them for him. The week our oldest daughter got married he was able to quit finally – he used the patch (back when it was a new thing) and other aides. He kicked a 37 year habit – has never gone back. I give you both props for WANTING. Go and get it. 🙂

    • Carolyn says:

      hubbymoose ❤ 37 years + 6 = your hubby is the same age as mine. Thank you for sharing his victory! There must be something about walking your daughter down the aisle….

  10. deanabo says:

    My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2003. He was give 6 months to live. He fought hard for 8 years. We lost him 1 year ago this Friday. Smoking does kill. (sorry, I just had to share)

    • Carolyn says:

      Thank you for sharing that. I’m sorry you lost your dad 😦 he’s breathing deep right now and loves you always!

  11. Annabelle says:

    Man, those signs of emphysema would terrify me! The end of that road is an awful one.

  12. Well done. Describes that situation well.

  13. i think you captured most smokers really well.

  14. Jennifer says:

    My dad died from lung cancer. This hits home.

    • Carolyn says:

      Wow. When I wrote this, I really didn’t know how it would affect so many people. I’m sorry your dad died from lung cancer. My grandma died from that and she didn’t smoke…she got it from the mold in her house.

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