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I'm Not Cool Like That

Real Estate Sales Representative with Coldwell Banker Faucette Real Estate

When I first got the call telling me about the death of my friend Teresa, I just wasn't too shocked.  She had been ill for years with a variety of ailments, and had been a 2+ pack-a-day smoker since age 13.  She smoked up until her last breath, even though she had to remove oxygen tubes from her nose to do so.  It just wasn't a shock when her daughter called to tell me she had passed.

I've never smoked cigarettes, and only tried once.  I was 15, and with my friend, we made a feeble attempt to become "cool" (Disclaimer:  I have never been cool, never claimed coolness in any form or fashion, and coolness in general has eluded me throughout my life...even when I was a musician...but I digress).

I remember the incident going something like this:  I put the cigarette in my mouth, and immediately felt slightly cooler.  I felt older & wiser, and thought, "this will be fun!".   I was so wrong.  My friend brought the flame to the end of the thing and I, not knowing any better and wanting to do it right, sucked the smoke down deeply into my pure, pink, healthy lungs, and immediately had them reward me with an explosion of hoarse, painful coughs that dispelled any doubt that I was, indeed, uncool.  It seemed like 10 minutes of hacking, and once it subsided (and still desperate for coolness), I mistakenly thought "well, it was my first time...my lungs are prepared for it now...here we go again!"  I was more careful that second time, and I inhaled more slowly, but was greeted with the same reaction....another onslaught of wracking, hacking and chest pain...not to mention the sore, dry throat and mucus streaming out of every orifice in my face.  Once I'd expelled the last of the poison from my lungs, I came to the sad conclusion that I'm not and never will be cool enough to smoke.  Never.

How could anyone get past that first encounter with smoking?  How could someone get addicted to that?

That brings me back to Teresa.  Her death hit me full force at her funeral.  She was 55 but looked 70 in her casket.  Looking into her face for the last time, I saw that 13 year old girl trying to be cool.  I looked at her family and friends all grieving...and knew that most of them are smokers, too.  I started sobbing right then.

I know it's an addiction, but addicts get well every day, with help.  It'll be difficult, and please don't think I'm judging...I just hate seeing families hurt by this addiction.  If you're reading this and you smoke, please please please try to stop.

Contrary to popular belief...it's just not cool.

Jeremy K. Frost
Keller Williams Realty - Dripping Springs, TX
Associate Broker, ABR,CNE,CRS,ePro,PSA,RENE,SRS

Thanks for sharing...it's great posts like this one that make active rain such a great place!

Jan 22, 2010 01:47 AM
Steve Merson 512 412 1621
Keller Williams Realty - Austin, TX

Hi Chris,

That's a great post and I am so sorry to hear about your friend Teresa.

Yes, I've tried too. Started on cigarettes which I hated so moved to cigars. Eventually I saw the light and stopped and feel SO much better for it. Clothes don't wreak of smoke anymore either!!!

So, you were a musician? Me too! I played violin for many years in a symphony orchestra in London. How about yourself?


Jan 22, 2010 01:56 AM
Eric J
Eric J - Dream Home Financing - Freehold, NJ
Dream Home Financing

I took two puffs from a cigarette in a lifetime. I didn't cough like you but that was all for me.

Jan 22, 2010 01:58 AM
Chris Payton
Coldwell Banker Faucette Real Estate - Fayetteville, AR

I was a Rock and Roll singer for about 25 years.  Got lots of 2nd hand smoke in those days!


Jan 22, 2010 02:03 AM
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

Chris, I wish I had had that reaction my first time.  Don't remember the start date but the last day I smoked is etched quite memorably.  So sorry about your friend!       

Jan 22, 2010 02:14 AM