GOING SANE – Chapter 14
It’s an item on my list of questions for God. Why isn’t it easier? But for reasons best left to mystics, the day you quit nicotine, the cosmos conspires to turn life into a holy hell.
Day One was roughly ninety-three hours long. One minute I was Neil Armstrong bounding through my living room in zero gravity. Seconds later I was lurching down the hallway in concrete shoes. Nobody told me I wouldn’t be able to function. Nobody told me I’d be curled up in the fetal position contemplating suicide. Nobody told me I’d be staring at my cottage cheese ceiling until I could make out the face of Charlie Manson.
I was peeling an orange with the patience of a zen master I suddenly realized to my horror that I had to go to the store. A Coco Puffs commercial had come on the screen triggering an ungodly urge for chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Now. A Butterfinger. Now. A Butterfinger the size of a Duraflame Log. Now. Where are my shoes? Where are my keys? Oh, God, this is hard! I can’t walk!
I don’t know how I got there but when I emerged from my blackout, I was jogging down aisle five in my neon bathrobe clutching a large yellow bag of Nestle’s Chocolate Chips.
Why supermarkets allow people with coupons into the express lane is an imponderable on the best of days. This particular penny pincher wanted six cents discounted from her box of frozen peas. The checker patiently explained that the coupon only applied to canned peas, not frozen ones.
“Phooey,” said the lady, closing her coin purse like a castanet. “I want to talk to the manager.”
Time stopped and we all just stood there, listening to Kenny G, waiting for the store manager who, apparently, was in conference in Tierra Del Fuego.
Finally, the checker asked Coupon Lady to step to one side and I got my turn at the front of the line. The market had recently instituted a policy to make themselves appear more helpful. When the box boy loads your groceries he’ll ask, “Would you like some help out with that?”
“Yeah,” I said. “You get on one end of the chocolate chips and I’ll get on the other and we’ll see if we can lug the bag out to my flatbed, you idiot. Now get out of my way before I slide this ATM card up your butt!”
Shoving past the kid, deliberately bumping the penny pincher with the peas, I sprinted to my car, where I gorged on the chocolate like a hunger-crazed timber wolf.
Thankfully, Day One came and went. In the years since, I’ve contented myself with a regimen of bottled water, vitamin B, exercise, and occasionally careening across three lanes of oncoming traffic for Haagen-Daaz. The good news is the nicotine craving eventually lessened. As for the sugar, well, if they ever develop a toffee peanut patch, I’ll probably be in the first blind-study group.