Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. — Step 2 of Alcoholics Anonymous
The drug and alcohol treatment center I went to in the early 90s was 12-step based. Their treatment plan was to have patients complete the first five steps in order to graduate. When working Step Two, we spent a good chunk of time making lists of how and why we were insane. Those lists were easy to make but in the here-and-now I kinda think they missed the point.
So one time when I was “quit smoking” I was headed up to see my dentist in Elgin. Don’t ask me for a referral. He’s long since retired and is probably off riding a mule in the Grand Canyon these days.
He actually rode a mule there once. A mule by the name of Travis. I heard that story every time I went to see him.
Anyway, whatever stop smoking aid I was using that day wasn’t working. I had a little panic attack and that quickly turned into full blown, terror frenzy.
I stopped and charged into the nearest gas station, drooling at the mouth, doing sign language, knocking over kids and racks of maps. After I got a pack of cigarettes in my hands, I tore into them like a bear after honey, ripping open a beehive regardless of consequences.
I had one in my mouth before even getting outside the gas station. I lit one up in the cool Autumn air and felt the fabulous serenity now. The world made sense. The radio station tuned in. I was a little light headed but the pleasure sensors were firing on all 12 cylinders.
A few minutes later as the smoking cigarette was winding down, the self-disgust was winding up. That “smoking again” love/hate kinda thing. Shaking my head I stubbed the cigarette out and headed back up toward that mule riding dentist.
Driving along Highway 31 and the smoking guilt got to be too much. I remembered what a client had said to me once.
I stopped at another gas station and threw the pack of 19 cigarettes in the closest garbage can. Then I roared away in the Cube like a bear shot in the neck with a goat tranquilizer.
[…Interlude of tooth song and dance…]
While driving back home the fiery nicotine addiction kicked back in. My body was withdrawing and my mind going berserk. When I get in this spot, frantic desperation will kick my ass every single time.
Yes, of course, I did stop back at that second gas station and did dug the 19 pack back outta the trash. I was literally digging in the garbage can. Of a public place. In broad daylight. In a smoke finding delirium. With my mouth half numb from all the dentistry prodding and poking.
People were looking at me like I was a red-assed baboon, masturbating at the zoo while baring his teeth as a warning.
Keep the children away from him!
If you’ve ever committed this act of communal cigarette larceny you’re not alone.
Peeps, that’s the end of this story. Happy Wednesday!
I’m not preparing some gourmet tator-tot frenzied extravaganza here nor am I Abe Froman, tater-tot king of Geneva. Think of the tator-tots more as party food that will be available, same as Doritos or Hot Tamales.
My plan is to buy 4-5 bags of le tots and a few bottles of ketchup. My plan is not to be man-handling a deep fryer all night like the parking garage attendants man-handled Cameron’s dad’s 1961 Ferrari.