Cracker by Damian Christie


Kick it in the Butt (& Friday Links)

So after 18 years, I’ve given up smoking.

And to be honest, it wasn’t that hard.

Yeah okay, it’s only been a month, but I’m feeling pretty relaxed about things, I’ve gone out numerous times and gotten myself into a state fit for an ALAC advert (it’s definitely ‘how we’re drinking’ – and how), surrounded myself with chain smokers, placed myself in stressful situations – all the usual triggers – and come out the other end unscathed. Well, apart from my long-suffering liver, natch.

I didn’t need to call Quitline. I didn’t cover myself in patches, chew gum filled with tar or whatever that stuff is. I didn’t get needles stuck into me, I didn’t get hypnotised and I didn’t read that Allan Carr book that entices one to keep smoking until you finish the last page (which seems to be a very cunning ploy by the Tobacco Industry – best case scenario the smoker loses the urge to give up by the time they’ve got through the book, worst case you’ve at least screwed them for one last week).

But my method, or rather my variety of methods, seem to have worked. Yes, only for a month and I don’t want to get all smug and complacent, but I’ve never found it quite as easy as I did this time. This time there’s no lingering inner nag.

What are these methods I hear you ask? Where can I buy a copy of your fabulous new treatise on kicking the habit? To whom should I make out my money order for $99.95 (including postage and handling) for a three-month supply of whatever it is you’re selling?

Well, given how much you, dear Cracker reader, have given to me over the years (although strangely your subscription cheques seem to keep getting lost in the mail) it seems only right that I gift you this one, gratis. But you owe me, remember…

Cracker’s Guide to Giving Up Smoking #1: Replacement Therapy.

This one is brilliant because of its simplicity. And 100% guaranteed if you stick to it. Foolproof. You don’t need anything, no special props or supplements, it costs nothing and you can use it anywhere.

What I do, is every time I would normally have a cigarette, whether it’s first thing in the morning, on the way to work, after dinner what have you, whenever I’m normally tempted to have a cigarette, I don’t.

Want to see that again in slow motion, perhaps from a different angle? Whenever you’d normally have a cigarette, instead of having one, don’t.

Cracker’s Guide to Giving Up Smoking #2: Replacement Therapy 2.

This one is a little more hard-core, and has got me in some trouble at work, at least until I pointed out to HR that if they refused to fully support me in my quitting-smoking endeavours they would be as bad as the tobacco companies and would likewise find themselves on the receiving end of a whopping great lawsuit.

What I do, is every time I work normally go outside for a cigarette, I replace it with something that I like as much as smoking. For you that could be chocolate, masturbation or casting yet another vote for Good Morning’s “Win a Wedding” promotion. For me it’s drinking. Scotch to be precise. Fine single malt, cask-strength preferably, if you want to be even more preciserer. Nothing extreme, just a wee nip of scotch every time I’d normally have a cigarette. No more than half a dozen or so times a day. Or maybe a dozen. Once you get started it’s quite more-ish, I tell ya. But certainly try and keep it down to one bottle per working day.

While HR might not see it that way, you think they’d see that unlike smoking, which requires popping down to the carpark every half-hour, drinking is able to be done at one’s desk. Productivity 1, Smoking Nil.

Cracker’s Guide to Giving Up Smoking #3: The Laziness Theory.

This only works for people who are incredibly lazy, or can do a good imitation of being such. It hasn’t worked particularly well for me, because while I can be a son-of-a-procrastinator, I always tend to be doing stuff of some description. But I’m sure it’s a pretty sound theory, if you’ve got the requisite lack of inclination.

The theory goes like this. Smoking requires effort, right. First you have to go down the road and buy the cigarettes, matches, lighters etc. Don’t even get me started on people who smoke rollies, constantly having to keep tab of how many papers and filters they’ve got left.

Then there’s the effort involved in smoking. Finding the ciggies, pulling them out, finding a lighter, borrowing a lighter when you realise someone nicked yours… what an ordeal. Right down to sticking the thing in your mouth and sucking on it, you are expending more energy than if you simply didn’t. View it that way.

Start saying things to yourself like “I’d love a cigarette… but I can’t be arsed getting up to get them”. This works even better if you’ve intentionally left them in the other room, or better still, at the dairy.

When you feel like a cigarette, say “I can’t be bothered even lifting my hand up to my mouth, I’m just going to stay on the couch a while longer completely flaccid. I’ll have one in ten minutes, I promise.” Just remember smoking requires effort.

This method can also be incorporated with method #2 above. By leaving your substitute item closer than your cigarettes, you can use it as a form of procrastination. Leave the cigarettes on the coffee table, but the chockie bickies on the couch next to you. See how that works?

(Warning: Extended periods flaccid on the couch eating Toffee Pops may result in Morbid Obesity – please consult your physician if you experience Cankles or Bed Sores)

Cracker would like to thank Dominic Bowden and the Guy from 48 May for telling me via signs at the bus stop that smoking isn’t cool any more. Truly the straw that broke the camel’s back.


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