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
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.
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
Sadly, the smoker
knows the dangers.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
smoking at a very young age
I need to take
a vow of Non Smoking Vigilance to battle the Beast of Smoking
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
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.
wants me to self-destruct
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
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
begins with my Pledge of Vigilance
Vigilantes Pacis--Kiss Of Vigilant Peace