My body feels like electrified concrete. My mind isn't working. I've eaten about half a pound of Jelly Belly's already. Even the licorice flavored ones.
What's it like to quit smoking, you ask? Remember the worst flu you've ever had -- body aches, lethargy, stomach cramps, nausea, headaches, sore throat, coughing that makes your lungs feel like they're on fire. Then imagine the angriest you've ever been, and try to picture being in that state for a solid week. When people try to cheer you up, it only makes it worse. Everything makes it worse.
Concentrate on physically clenching every muscle in your body all at once and hold it for as long as you can. Just when you think you can't take it anymore, hold it for another week. Now, combine all of those into one cohesive army that's constantly attacking your body and mind, and the whole time, you know that smoking a single cigarette will take all of that away in less than five seconds.
I've smoked one to two packs of cigarettes a day for 24 years, and just this week I decided that enough is enough. So I loaded up on junk food, attempted to seal myself off from society and quit cold turkey. Here are a number of observations I made about the world while in the throes of nicotine addiction.
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
To catch you up a bit, I had a series of habits that had me scheduled to die before age 50. I managed to quit drinking over a year ago and wrote about the terrible recovery process. My doctor says for my liver this was the equivalent of diving from a car one second before it flies off a cliff and explodes into a ball of fire below. So step two in my goal to live to see my children some day graduate from college was to stop smoking those 30 or 40 cigarettes a day.
Luckily there are many saliva-augmenting alternatives
Anyway, I had been planning a completely unrelated column where I would come back to MTV after having not watched it since I was 16, trying to see teen culture through adult eyes. I thought this would be interesting, considering that it kind of annoyed me even when I was perfectly within the target audience. Having grown up when MTV was in the Pauly Shore era, I was eager to see how they the channel's on-air personalities had evolved the science of being incredibly fucking annoying now that they were in their Jersey Shore phase. Somehow my editors wound up scheduling my MTV marathon on the same day as my first day smoke-free. In my state of mind, this was like somehow getting into a boxing match while laying on an operating table getting open brain surgery.
I reached out to Cracked's own Dan O'Brien for help:
I can't say much more on that subject because my "all-day" MTV marathon lasted two hours. Let me just put it this way and move on: If you can't be like Elvis and shoot your TV with a revolver when it pisses you off, then cramming your dick into the screen really is the only thing that relieves the hate. Yes, tell me how you "didn't come here to make friends," MTV reality show star. Say it into my balls.
As any ex-smoker or attempted ex-smoker will tell you, the "hand-to-mouth" part of the habit is every bit as hard to break as the chemical nicotine addiction. When I smoked my last cigarette and tossed the rest, the time that elapsed before I subconsciously reached for the pack was three minutes.
So you have to do something that lets you replace that hand-to-mouth action until you can de-program it. For me, it was candy. Goddamned piece of shit candy.
Let me tell you why this Jelly Belly jellybean situation is fucking bullshit. There are four flavors of Jelly Belly that are brown: Cappuccino, Root Beer, Might As Fucking Well Be Root Beer and Spiritual Abortion. I could buy a full pound of just the cappuccino ones and eat them for all three meals. But I cannot express enough what kind of mind-fucking, soul-crushing, trust-obliterating sense violation it is to bite down on what you expect to be cappuccino and ends up being any of the other three. And it happens every fucking time.
75 percent chance of eating a human shit flavored Jelly Belly.
Because they not only made them all brown, they made them almost the same exact shade of brown. True Jelly Belly fans will point out that the cappuccino ones are speckled whereas the others are not, in which case I point out that I'm quitting smoking and will fucking car bomb you if you don't stop being such an enormous goddamn embarrassment.
I cannot use this as an excuse to smoke. This is the trap the addiction sets; I've fallen into it before. "Wow, nicotine withdrawal makes me act like a raging asshole! I'd better smoke again just for the unselfish benefit of those around me!" Uh huh. Nice try, cigarettes. This won't last forever. I have to remind myself of that. But if I smoke, then I have to go through all of this again. No fucking way. Even if everything is making me want to punch the world. Like cyjackers.
"Cyjackers," you say? "Why, that word doesn't even goddamned exist, John. What the fuck are you talking about?"
Although it might make a great series of young adult novels
Good question. The term came from my local news, who tried their precious little hearts out to do a story on technology, but ended up just looking like a bunch of drooling rock fuckers, desperately trying to scare old people and connect with teens. It was a story on identity theft, which began with the words:
"They call them 'cyjackers,' and they can steal your ..."
No. No, no, no, no, no they fucking don't. Nobody in the history of humanity's combined technology has ever, ever, used the word "cyjacker" in any context. Nobody in the long, festering existence of mankind's numerous languages has ever put those letters in that order to create that term with that meaning. Ever.
You made that up, you fucks. Holy shit, how long as it been since I quit? THREE HOURS?
Luckily, when I heard them say that, the closest thing I could throw at the television was a dry dishrag that bounced off with a light "fluff" sound before I unleashed a barrage of cursing that made me thankful my kids weren't here. Not because I didn't want them to hear the cursing, but because there's a good chance I would have thrown one of them at the TV as well.