I haven’t smoked a cigarette in more than ten days.
And as far as I can tell, I’m not much more of an obnoxious person than I ever was.
It’s a win-win. Really it’s two wins for me. And nothing for you. But who gives a shit about you? This is my story. Screw off.
Oh, man. It’s so much fun being an ex-smoker. It really is the life for me.
When you stop smoking, you’re allowed to be an asshole. So when people protest that I’m being short-tempered or irritable with them, they’re being assholes.
They’re interfering with my smoke quitting. Because they want me to die.
Do you really want my death on your conscience?
Because if I’m not allowed to call you fat or ugly, or whatever, then I may go back to smoking, and you don’t want to be that kind of asshole, do you.
So, cheer up, fuck face, and know that you’re helping a friend quit cigarettes.
You should also know that I’m going to be watching you, for the least sign of insult, criticism or anything. Expect me to say something about how you’re being an asshole to me.
Even if we’ve never met. And you have to like it. Because only an asshole wouldn’t support someone quitting cigarettes.
I’ve already had to complain to several people that they are assholes. And they’ve apologized, because they know how hard it is to quit smoking. It’s been tough correcting everyone. I’ve even had a word with a career counselor, when she crossed a line that she would soon be told was there but not to be crossed, after the fact, by me.
Fairfax Media had essentially hired this woman as part of our redundancy package, to guide us into the picturesque world of unemployment.
A dozen of us or so in the business group lost our jobs in that round. Naturally, they were all contacting the counselor.
Quite a few of them got to see her before my turn came.
She called to arrange our first meeting and she apologized for not getting to me sooner.
“I’m so sorry,” she said, with a chirpy optimism. “You just wouldn’t BELIEVE how busy I’ve been this week,”
Later I told her what she had said was kind of insensitive, considering the reasons for her being busy and for me contacting her in the first place.
She apologized, but I don’t think she understood what the problem was. The next time we spoke, I asked how she was doing. “I’m doing fine,” she said. “But I know you don’t like to hear how I am doing.”
Fuckin’ eh. Here I am, unemployed and worried. And here’s this woman telling me how great that is for her. It’s like you’re an insect caught in a web and the spider is telling you how wonderful a nice meal is.
I was afraid she would ask me to help her decide what to do with that bonus money. Three weeks touring Europe, or buying a new Mini Cooper.
I’m not saying this woman is bad at her job. She’s been good to talk to and her advice has been a help.
And she told me about all the stages of grief over my lost job that I had to look forward to in the coming decades. She said most people go through seven stages, but after talking to me for ten minutes, she could tell that with the way I handle crisis, I was going to need more like 40 or 50 stages of grief.
I’m currently in what she calls “zany antics” but ready to move on to “chug-a-lug”, whatever that could be.
She also helped me think of ways to develop business for my comedy and creative writing services start-up.
We talked about what I’d been doing, and she was very encouraging.
She said even though I had a dragon on my back I was keeping the wolf at the door. I’m not sure what that all means, but I hope it has something to do with getting a Dungeons & Dragons game going.
But here is where I find that even my asshole-ness has its limitations.
After all, as I say, this counselor is good at what she does, and she means well.
And today she said I looked “very New York” which made me feel really good. And I don’t care if by “very New York” she meant I scared her in the way a deranged, half-naked homeless man screaming “Fuck it all” sends red flags up for some people.
It doesn’t matter, really. There are plenty other people I can be an asshole to, and that’s something to get you out of bed in the morning, if I’ve ever heard it.