Article Overview:   All smokers have a death wish.  It's called SDWS, Smoker's Death Wish Syndrome.   It's akin to a suicide bombers desire to blow himself or herself up, only it's much slower, much more painful for everyone.   If you've suffered from any addiction, or are struggling with breaking any bad habits, this story is for you.


Monday, February 16, 2004—Ground Zero Plus 887
The Smoker's Death Wish

Cliff McKenzie

         GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Feb 16, 2004 -- I'm sure the Beast of Terror wants to kill me--slowly, painfully, torturously.
         But I'm fighting back.
         And it's not easy.
         The reason:  I have Smoker's Death Wish!

        The short version is called, SDW!   It's akin to WMD, referring to Weapons Of Mass Destruction, only SDW is inflicted upon the self, by the self.   Well, on second thought, perhaps there are innocent victims--those who inhale the second-hand smoke.
          But, first things first.  SDW!
          It's a disease of the mind, similar to that which infects a Terrorist strapping on a suicide bomb.   The Terrorist is aware that wearing the suicide vest he or she is about to die.   There is no escape.    Once the pin is pulled, or the charge ignited, it's bye-bye time.   Life ends, and whatever one believes may or may not begin.
           Smokers do the same.   Each time the match or lighter sparks the tobacco to life and it is sucked deep into the lungs, the Beast of Lung Terror begins to hack off some percentage of one's life--a few minutes, maybe a day, maybe even that one puff sets into motion the impending heart attack or stirs the sleeping cancer cell to life that will mutate and multiply.
           Sadly, the smoker knows the dangers.
           I know.   I'm one of them.
           I'm a "victim" of SDW.  God, I hate that word "victim."  It makes it sound like I had nothing to do with the continued choice to smoke.   It feebly suggests someone ties me to the chair, stuffs a cigarette in my mouth, forces me to inhale as they light it, and threatens my children's lives if I don't continue to inhale deeply, one cigarette after another.

There is no doubt I am addicted to tobacco

        There is no doubt I am addicted to tobacco.    But so I am also to coffee and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Chinese Food and Two Boots Pizza and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, and writing the VigilanceVoice every day--and, a host of other things.
          But these things, by themselves, are not conspiring to kill me.   The side of the candy wrapper doesn't tell me the "surgeon general considers eating Reese's hazardous to my health."   My cigarettes do.
          So when I smoke them, I am acting out a Suicide Death Wish.   I am trying to kill myself.   Better put, I am actually killing myself.    Little by little, I'm slitting my lung's wrists (not possible by metaphorically sound).  
          I'm crushing life within.  I'm jumping on the bubble wrap of lungs.   Each puff makes another bubble pop, until the once bouncy bubble wrap is flattened, unable to protect anything.   
          I do have SDW--the Suicide Death Wish.

Last year I incurred bronchitis five times

          Last year, I had bronchitis five times.    My lungs are worn out.   Like the mad announcer in the movie Network, "they just can't take it any more!"    My lungs have pleading with me, begging me, crying out for me to stop.   I think of them singing like Roberta Flack's famous hit:  "Killing Me Softly With His Smoke (Song)"
         "Killing me softly..."    Not with a song, but with whispers of smoke inhaled deep into the lungs, held there to blacken and harden and crust over the ability to breathe, then exhaled into the air to infect anyone close by.
           It has been nearly three days since I stopped smoking.   Even as I sit here writing this, deep within the Beast of Smoke Terror is gnawing at me desire to not smoke.  He wants me to pick up a cigarette and light it, to suck it deep down, to hold it so I will become his slave again.
           He wants me to fulfill my Suicide Death Wish.    He wants me to kill me.   He's a smart enemy.  He'd rather have all his enemy troops shove bayonets into their own bellies than have to fight each one in battle.    Why not let the others kill themselves?  It saves on bullets.

I feel the Beast of Smoking Terror's claws

       I feel the Beast of Smoking Terror's claws sinking into my chest.    He's trying to tell me that I will "feel" better if I poison my lungs some more.  He'll reward me somehow if I choke the life out of the few remaining air sacks struggling to process the air I breathe.   Sadly, I want to believe him.    He wants me to believe I can "sneak" a smoke here and there, "just a puff or two," and not become hooked again as I have so many countless times before.
          Of course, he's also whispering in my ear:  "Loser!  Failure!  You've tried countless times to quit before and lost the battle.  You'll lose this one too!  Why try?  Loser!  Smoke!  What the hell!  You're gonna anyway!"
          Anyone who doubts the Beast of Terror needs only to remember the battle they faced trying to fight off any addiction--whether it be food, weight, smoking, relationships, gambling, drinking or just beating up one's self.  
         Fighting addictions makes us aware of the Beast of Terror's primary tools--Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.   Our great fear of trying to break a bad habit is failing to do so.    We feel Intimidation when we fail, and then Complacency sets in--why try to change when "I can't."
         The "victim" in this battle is our Vigilance, for we sacrifice our Courage our Conviction and our Right Actions for future generations.   We "give up" trying to improve, whether it be what we think of ourselves and others, or how we gasp at each breath.
         Smoking is one of the more obvious forms of Self Terrorism.    The doctor I saw last week literally screamed at me.  She raised her Voice and admonished me harshly, telling me my repeated bronchitis was self-induced.    She was young enough to be my daughter, but stern enough to sound like my grandmother.
        Hacking and coughing, I listened.  
        She told me I had a death wish.
        I thought about it, and all the countless things my wife and children and grandchildren have said to me so many times about my smoking.   They don't want me to kill myself.  They don't want me to die slowly before their eyes.
        Yet, they can't stop me from killing myself.  Only I can do that.
        I guess it was good for me to see myself as a Smoker/Terrorist, afflicted with Smokers Death Wish.   

I've always known I was a Smoking Terrorist

        I thought about all the suicide bombers.    Maybe they were all smokers.  It would be interesting to see, to correlate the relationship between smoking and people who blow themselves and others up.
         I've always known I was a Smoking Terrorist.   Here's a guy walking down the street smoking in front of children.   Kids see the big guy smoking and the subtle message is sent to them--"It's okay to smoke, look at that guy!"
        Worse, is when I smoke around my grandkids.   Even though it's not in an enclosed area, it doesn't matter.   Kids see and think--must not be so bad!    Even though my grandkids yell at me for smoking, whose to say the seed of rebellion isn't being planted, and I'm the closest link?
         Then there's all the stuff about second-hand smoke.    I know smoking isn't good for me, and breathing the smoke isn't good for others who don't smoke.
         But that's all kind of moot at the moment since I'm not smoking just for today.   What is important is the Smoker's Death Wish Syndrome. 
         Will the desire to die overpower the current desire to live?
         Will the Beast of Smoking Terror find ways to undermine the Sentinels of Non-Smoking Vigilance currently shouting: "Courage over Fear, Conviction over Intimidation, and Right Actions for future generations above Complacency?"
         The Beast will win if I surrender to the SDW.    I have to be aware that inside me is a desire to smoke that has been around since I was just a teen.  I smoked my first cigarette when I was twelve or thirteen.   

I began smoking at a very young age

I need to take a vow of Non Smoking Vigilance to battle the Beast of Smoking Terror

        Battling the Beast of Smoking Terror means I need to take a vow of Non Smoking Vigilance and ask myself if committing suicide, the slow destruction of my quality of life, is in the best interests of future generations?    Does my selfish desire to smoke and to suffer the consequences of sating the Beast of Self Destruction override my duty and responsibility to my children and grandchildren, and their grandchildren to live as productive and healthy a life as possible?
          I know I can't win the battle with smoking on self-will alone.   I've tried and lost many times before.   But, if I realize I'm killing myself before my grandchildren's eyes, and that I owe them more than that, I just might engage the power of future generations to help me over the temptations battles that lay ahead.
          I will the Sentinels of Smoking Vigilance to be close at hand when the Beast of Smoking Terror attacks, as I know he will.    He will try to catch me at some vulnerable point, and make me think by sucking on the cigarette I will be freed of my woes.   

The Beast wants me to self-destruct

         He wants me to strap on my suicide vest again, and smoke my way into self-destruction.  He wants me to die before the faces of the innocent, and take as many bystanders with me as possible with my second-hand smoke.
         So, I will stand tall for today.  I will call upon the Sentinels of Vigilance to help me have the Courage, Conviction and take the Right Actions to avoid having the Smoker's Death Wish.
        Instead, I want SVW, the Sentinel's Vigilance Wish, a wish that each and every moment of life may be lived in the absence of the Beast of Terror's shadow.
        It all begins, however, with my Pledge of Vigilance.  Therein lies the freedom from the Beast of all Terrors. 


It all begins with my Pledge of Vigilance

Feb 15--Osculum Vigilantes Pacis--Kiss Of Vigilant Peace

Some Highlighted Stories From Last Year

Dec 31 Bush's New Year's Message:  Era Of Vigilance
Dec. 30
Walking The Path Of Terror: The 839th Day

Dec 29 Terrorism's New Year's Ball
Dec 27-28
Indiscriminate Terrorism:  Mother Nature's WMD
Dec. 26
The Beast Attacks Like The Mad Cow Disease
Dec 25
Learn The Secrets Of Vigilance On Christmas Day
Dec 24
Eve Of The Youngest Sentinels Of Vigilance Part V of V
Dec 23
Parable Of The Ant & The Leaf: The Third Secret Of Vigilance
Part IV of V from the Legends Of Christmas Vigilance
Dec 22
 Part III of V:  How Rock Candy Banished Darkness From The Land Of Vigilance
Dec 21
Part II of V:  The First Secret Of Vigilance
Dec. 20
Part I of V--The Legend Of Christmas Vigilance.
Dec. 19
What Do Michael Jackson & Saddam Hussein Have In Common?
Dec. 18
Torturing Saddam In The Zoo Of Vigilance
Dec 17
Interview With Saddam In His Iraqi Rat Hole
Dec 16
New Drug Fights Teenage Beast Of Terror
Dec 15 Capturing Weapons Of Mass Destruction:  Saddam Hussein

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