Chuck, a good friend and co-worker, passed away a few weeks ago. Just the other day, we discovered his work clipboard, and I knew I had to clean it out. Mostly, it was work papers, nothing personal. But I did find one thing that brought tears to my eyes.
It was a coupon for $3 off a carton of cigarettes.
Cigarettes had a very large part to do with Chuck’s early death. He was as heavy a smoker as I’ve ever known, almost as heavy a smoker as I was 15 years ago.
I smoked three to four packs of cigarettes a day. I hated smoking. It was expensive, it made me stink and it affected everything I did. Walking a flight of stairs was difficult. Tying my shoes was virtually impossible. And yet I smoked. Fifteen years ago, I laid the cigarettes down and have never picked one up since.
I talked to Chuck about his smoking more times than I can remember. I reminded him when my mother died, smoking killed her; it killed her and it killed her father. Chuck knew it was killing him. Every smoker knows they die a little with each puff.
But nicotine is a harsh mistress. And that’s what Marlboro counts on.
If you smoke, quit. Today. Right now. It’s hard; it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But it was worth it. Anything worth having is hard to get. And being a nonsmoker is its own reward.
Quit smoking. Do it for every smoker who has died and, with their last breath, wished they’d never known nicotine. Do it for your spouse. Do it for your children.
Do it for yourself. Do it so you can remember that you’re an ex-smoker, that you beat the habit.
Do it for Chuck.