no. this isn’t it.

Posted: May 22nd, 2020 | No Comments »

from the small bow:

I got a physical soon after I quit [smoking] by a quirky doctor from Santa Monica with a stud earring in his left ear who, he himself, was a former smoker. “I miss it,” he’d tell me. “But remember, it will kill you and you can never ever smoke again.” He scanned my lungs and they weren’t as bad as I thought–no emphysema, no cancer–but I did have the lung capacity of a man of 65 (or thereabouts). He assured me that my lungs would improve with time–as long as I didn’t ever smoke again. I negotiated with him for one cigarette each day (like Obama!), but he wouldn’t budge.

“You can never smoke again.”

I see him twice a year and he patiently lets me run through this same routine each time. On a recent visit he struck a bargain with me. “I’ll tell you what, if there’s a news report that a meteor is about to hit the earth and there’s no chance of survival, I’ll set up two lawn chairs in front of my house and you and I will smoke a whole pack together.”

I admit the prospect excited me and some days I’m hopeful an all-caps report about the meteor of imminent doom will pop up on my news feed.

A couple weeks ago I went to see him for a checkup on my cough and I inquired about a coronavirus test. He wouldn’t give me one, but I followed up with the more pressing question.

“If this gets real bad does it count as the meteor? Can we smoke then?”

He stared at me for an extra long beat, clearly processing the question.

“No. This isn’t it.”

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