Untwining the Inextricable

Tue 06/29/04 at 11:14 am

When I asked Mr. Edgewise to set up this blog, I did so with the expectation I would post an entry every week (or so). After all, I have the time to write. I also have plenty to “say.” Even if I don’t sit down with any specific expectations, all I have to do is start typing and something generally comes to mind. For instance, I just had the urge to explore the nature of the meaning of the term “say.” BRB. Okay, according to the Microsoft Encarta Dictionary, the use of the term “say” in connection with a written form of expression generally indicates the writing “conveys information” — more specifically, “substantial or significant” information. Otherwise, what’s written might be described as really not “saying” much of anything. Along the same lines, why do we say we can “hear” ourselves think?

That said (as my intent was to convey something), I’ve been asking myself, why has it been nearly two weeks, three, a month, now two months since last I posted a blog entry? And then I “heard” a voice inside my head say, “you don’t smoke anymore.” I used to smoke. A lot. I quit (for the most part) on Monday, October 21, 1996 at 10:21 a.m. I quit because I couldn’t breathe. For those of you who don’t already know, I have since been diagnosed with severe COPD — classic panlobular emphysema to be exact. In other words, as a practical matter, smoking is simply no longer an option.

If I still could sit here in front of my monitor and keyboard and suck down one Lucky Strike after another, the words would come, not in fits and starts, but in a steady, unbroken stream. And after the flood of words, there would be uninterrupted hours crafting each paragraph, sentence, phrase, and word choice — rebuilding the thoughts on the other side of consciousness. These days, I’m lucky to sustain, contain for more than a few sentences before I become distracted, restless. And then I have to stop, because well, my head might explode. Sometimes I get back to it in an hour, sometimes days, sometimes never.

Science tells us that nicotine enables users to focus — that is, until nicotine is withheld. Then focus immediately shifts to discerning when the next opportunity to feed those receptors might arise. And a voice I equate with Audrey II’s voice in Little Shop of Horrors emanates from those receptors. It begins with a barely audible whisper and builds to a resounding, reverberating “FEED ME!” And it’s not just the nicotine. It’s the smoke filling the lungs, riding through the central nervous system and binding, at last, with those wide-mouthed famished, voracious receptors. And those receptors, once opened never close. Mostly these days, they’re rather peckish, unless and until I sit down to write. Consequences.

Maybe this knowing will enable me better to keep the nicotine demons at bay. If not, well, Ritilin anyone? Or better yet — would someone please perfect virtual smoking.

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