Suicide: A Universal Right of Passage
By Shari Schreiber,
This litigious climate we're living in, seems really crazy to me.
The notion that itís somebody elseís fault, if you
donít have the will or desire to stop using substances that are
known to be harmful, is ludicrous--yet our society seems
intent on supporting such nonsense! I got sick and tired of all
those anti-smoking campaigns years ago, portraying sick people as
victims of the tobacco industry. To my mind, it's
utterly ridiculous that these "victims" have
filed lawsuits to compensate them for their addictive compulsions,
and have gotten away with it! Next thing you know, liquor distillers
could be defending themselves in court for having given us cirrhosis
of the liver, and God knows how many other alcohol-related
these lines, should you be permitted to sue a knife or gun maker,
or the owner of a tall building you decide to take a dive off of,
next time youíre feeling depressed? How about suing that drug company
who manufactured the handful of over-the-counter asperin youíre
about to swallow--just in case someone finds you in the nick of
time, has your stomach pumped, and aborts your attempt to do away
with yourself? Jeez . . . get a grip, will ya?
years back, my mother died of emphysema a little past her eightieth
birthday. Sheíd smoked since her early twenties--and to tell the
truth, I was amazed she hadnít succumbed to some form of cancer
years before. Iíd given up trying to get her to quit--it was a frustrating
and fruitless effort. She was real cute about it though--had this
notion she could convince me she didnít inhale, and adamantly denied
it for ages. Yeah, like I was blind.
don't know if you understand how emphysema affects the human body,
and I'm not going technical on ya, but what happens, is
you suffocate--literally. If you've ever been afraid
of drowning, or smothering with a plastic bag over your head, that's
pretty close to what this death feels like. The damage
from smoking is cumulative. By the time you notice any
symptoms, it's too late to recover.
smokers are especially prone to developing bladder cancer. All smokers
are susceptible to bone loss in the mouth, which can mean that you
lose your teeth, especially the ones in front~ you know, where your
smile used to be if/when it happens to you. My mother had to be
fitted for dentures years before her death, due to bone loss.
not proposing you stop smoking, mind you. I think we all have the
right to exercise dominion over how and when we're gonna check-out,
so if you're prepared to have no regrets when you get bladder cancer
or you're hooked up to an oxygen tank, it's none of my business.
On the other hand, if you want to sue somebody
for it, nobody's held a gun to your head and made you puff on that
thing year after year--and if they have, you shoulda
called the cops!
so tobacco companies put harmful, toxic, substances into their 'death
sticks' to make them more irresistible, more addictive, more whatever-it'll-take-to-get-you-and-keep-you
hooked. A former guy friend always insisted
that the diameter of a cigarette is exactly the size of
a woman's nipple. He convinced himself this was by deliberate design
to enhance their subliminal allure! From a psychoanalytic perspective,
we're all seeking the 'good breast' and that symbiotic attachment
we missed out on in infancy, right??
I smoked about a million years ago, and boldly went for the hard
stuff; Camels and Chesterfields. Unfiltered. Gave
me a rush in my twenties, and I guess that's what
we're looking for in our youth, when we're experimenting. At some
point I stopped getting ďthe rush,Ē and cigarettes lost their novelty.
I took up pipe smoking after that, presumably more for the attention
than anything else, which worked just great--until I bought
a car with a manual transmission. Iím pretty good at multi-tasking,
but all that tamping, lighting and filling the bowl were a bit too
tricky while driving. Still, Amphora Black Cavendish smelled so
divine, I wanted to line my bureau drawers with it. I still have
my pipes, and have contemplated a revival once or twice--but Iím
pretty sure my bronchials would stage a revolt.
thrilled that California's instituted non-smoking laws
in restaurants and bars, so I can enjoy being out for an evening
jaunt that doesn't end in deep, foghorn-like rasping. I still reserve
the right to be disgruntled when dining on an outdoor patio, and
cigarette smoke from a few tables away is wending its way up my
nostrils and into my (hypersensitized) lungs. But while I might
grumble about it or nicely ask someone to curb their smoke, Iíll
be damned if Iím gonna vilify Ďem for being cavalier about welcoming
a slowly encroaching death. I simply pity them.
have one close friend who'd smoked until she developed lung cancer,
and had to have the major part of one lobe removed. The remaining
tumors they couldn't get to, episodically grow faster, and occasionally
don't. At the time I've edited this piece in 2016, she's dead from
bone cancer that metastasized from her lungs. Another gal (and former
friend) has convinced herself that if she smokes those skinny
little cigarettes, she's safe from future consequences. She's
roughly fifty pounds overweight, has high blood pressure, and takes
two breaths to my one. So you tell me, if I shouldn't have
been emotionally preparing myself to lose her for many years.
always felt that if we really want to orchestrate our own demise,
thatís our business, and no one elseís--and
that treating suicide as a crime is just plain stupid.
What is a crime though, is making our kids live with real
fears that they may lose us, long before
they should! We're sending the message; "don't get too comfortable
with this attachment, because I'm not invested in sticking
around for you, or your needs." Isn't that a bit selfish?
try to understand, accept and like ourselves and our kids,
because this is where their addictions
actually get started! Some serious attention to them in this area
is crucial--especially when youngsters think that "smoking
is cool," because it makes them seem more adult.
And by the way, can we give some thought to why
they're wanting to escape
by doing stupid, harmful things to themselves? Are they just following
in Your footsteps? Is that what you did to self-medicate
and escape your pain, while growing up??
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