That’s right, I said “It’s fun!” Ha! I feel a tear roll down my cheek and I feel like hell.
Snaking off the sidewalk and into the nearest alleyway, I lean my sinewy frame against the wall to catch my breath and wipe my eyes. I recognize this place, in-between the now long abandoned drug store and the stylist’s shop I never get into often enough; even though I know I should. Have I become a hag?
Across the alley, on the opposite wall; I can see the faded image of a Skoal advertisement, once boldly painted there; and with the slogan “A Pinch Better”. I can imagine it as crisp and bright when it was first painted - who knows when.
Before I was born, tobacco was the addictive element most people consumed throughout their lives. We were conditioned by the government that it is an evil substance after it started killing people with cancer and heart disease. My mother told me that religious people were advocating not using tobacco decades before the government was ever involved.
Human beings it seems; always have to be addicted to something or someone. Now that the scourge of tobacco has waned; we’ve collectively taken up being addicted to feelings and communication. We now gain mental stimulation and pleasure from telling and sharing every little detail about who we are, what we are, where we are, why we’re here or there or doing what we’re doing and how we feel about everything. We jump headlong into inane mental gymnastics; that don’t mean sh*t to a tree. Just to be plugged into the constant stream of “big data”, gives us some sort of comfort. We cling to it just as we did the cigarette we used to get our high from in years gone by.
Coming back into the real world; I can hear a distant lawn mower, feel the sun and a slight breeze on my face and I suddenly realize that clouds are drifting overhead. It's been too long since I went outside and just had a picnic. No matter how creepy narcissistic or psychological I feel or how much I flog myself internally trying to noodle why I hurt you or you hurt me; this beautiful God created world goes on and goes by and flies through space and time unaware of my petty problems.
I can send a message across the world, at nearly the speed of light crying in pain and woe; where it can be picked up by someone else, and in the end; it means nearly nothing to this earth or the universe this old world is flying through. It means something to me and to God and no one else.
Taking a deep breath and straightening up, I’ve discerned something uncomplicated and timeless. Leaving that old tobacco advertisement behind, I walk out of the alley and back onto the sidewalk; on my way back home. I pass by the stylist’s shop vowing to make an appointment for next week. I think I’ll clean up the place when I get home. I’m ready to begin again.