Ancient History

Follow Me?



I smoked my last cigarette on our wedding day, just over ten years ago.

It usually comes as a shock to people that I was a smoker: But you are so nice! You don’t seem like a smoker…

Yes, I am nice. I was nice when I was a smoker, too. I held doors for people, did my taxes on time, and helped with the dishes. Any convenience stores that were robbed during my tenure as a smoker are on someone else’s conscience. That goes for gum stuck under tables at Denny’s, too.

My smoking habit began in Boulder, Colorado, at the infamous University. Vices galore saturated the campus. Considering the chemicals floating and flowing so freely and cheaply, I am lucky I escaped with only a pesky legal tobacco addiction. A week ago we visited a brand new outdoor mall in Boulder. When I stepped out of our SUV I thought I was suddenly at a reggae concert—the unmistakable odor of tobacco’s wacky cousin filled the air. Parked right next to us was a middle aged man in a beat-up blue Saab firing up a pipe. Let’s just say it didn’t have bubbles in it. Boulder is the single 35-year-old man living in Colorado’s basement. Colorado shouts, “get a job!” and Boulder says “you just don’t get me, man…”

It took me seven years and two different schools, but eventually I earned a BA in English Literature. That represents a lot of coffin nails and cancer sticks. Too bad I didn’t know how to needlepoint back in those days. I would have stitched this:

Tobacco is a dirty weed. I like it.
It satisfies no normal need. I like it.
It makes you thin, it makes you lean,
It takes the hair right off your bean
It’s the worst darn stuff I’ve ever seen.
I like it.
~Graham Lee Hemminger, Tobacco

For a long time I managed to hide my habit from my parents until my younger brother caught me and ratted. Ironically, it probably added a few years to my habit because I had been tiring of sneaking smokes. I could do it in the open, and in the open I did.

Until I met my future husband.

I had the feeling he wouldn’t like my dirty, dirty habit. He was clean cut, happy, hardworking, athletic, and sweet. He was nice. I couldn’t picture him smoking any more than I could picture a red-bandana’d golden retriever puppy smoking. Impossible. My cigarette consumption plummeted as the amount of time we spent together grew. I made sure he never, ever saw me with a ciggie dangling out of my mouth. I didn’t want him to visually connect me with cigarettes. Consequently, my smoking habit became the hacking elephant in the room. Surely he knew. He never said anything, though.

We became engaged on a spring break roadtrip to San Francisco. I didn’t smoke the entire trip because I couldn’t, so I was a jittery mess for the first several days. But I was having the time of my life and soon I was able to chalk up being a jittery mess to my newfound status as Bridezilla. We planned to marry six months later, on September 7th, 1996. During that half-year I continued smoking here and there. I knew my cold-turkey moment was coming. I knew it would be on my wedding day.

My last cigarette melted away that day. I was in my parent’s bathroom, looking in the mirror as I took long drags. I blew rings into the air, the only trick in what could have been a big bag of tricks slung over my shoulder. Smoke rings are the size of dinner plates. They wobble. Particles dissipate. Gone, like my habit.

Five hours later, a ring of gold rocked onto my finger. It doesn’t wobble or scatter, scared by air. It is still there.

I made a good trade.

(this would have been my post on September 7th, 2006, our tenth anniversary…but I was doing laundry…babygirl was born the next day…)

13 comments to Rings

  • What a post! I am impressed that you quit cold-turkey on your wedding day. Wow.

    As always, your writing astounds me. You really should write a book (you know, in all that free time you have.)


  • I’m a former smoker as well. I quit on the day I got that +hpt.

  • Smoke rings? I’m impressed.

    Definately a good trade.

  • Jenn

    Well park me in the lot with people who never-woulda-thunk it! LOL Preferably not next to the non-bubble-blowing-pipe-puffer!

    Great post Mopsy!! Talented, as usual.

    (I’ll give you a call tomorrow sometime – we have some catching up to do.)

  • Great post! I smoked in college. Being a theatre major, I was lucky that cigs were the only thing I smoked. I get the same reaction sometimes, “You smoked? I just can’t see it?” But smoke I did.

  • The crazy things we did in our younger days. Loved the rings comparison.

  • Nooooo way! You definitely surprised me!

    It was a good trade, indeed. Happy Belated 10th Anniversary!

  • Gretchen (the other other one!)

    I’d bet hubby-to-be DID know it. Smokers can’t tell it, but they smell very distinctive. Unless you told him your roommate was a smoker, he could tell. Non-smokers can smell it very easily. My parents were both very heavy smokers, but I never realized how much it smelled until I went away to college. It took a few weeks for my stuff to stop stinking after I unpacked in my dorm; and then I could REALLY smell it when I’d come home for holidays and the summer.

    Good for you for quitting early! Oh, and Happy Anniversary a few months late 😉

  • That is an awesome story!

  • What a great post!

    My oldest son is a smoker.

    I told him not to.

    He didn’t listen.

    And, he is nice.

    (and for crying out loud…i homeschooled him!)

  • Great post! Loved it! That’s love for ya!

  • Tammy

    My husband quit smoking 22 years ago today.I wouldn’t date him if he kept on asmoking.he quit on the national Smoke Out Day of 1984 and hasn’t smoked since.He started at 9 years old and stopped at 24.We have been married for 21 years.

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