Perhaps the most enjoyable thing about making your mind up to do something tough is coming up with the creative excuses to not do it any more. Little vignettes that the reckless pleasure-seeking part of your brain can sing prettily at the worthy, nagging part of your brain, allowing the decision-making centre to merrily stick two fingers up at the nagger and succumb to an orgy of weakness. I have been going through this almost constantly since last August when, in a sudden decision which actually took me by surprise and led me to wonder if I was suffering from a Fight Club-esque split personality disorder, but instead of the alternate me being a cool, sexy insurgent against capitalism, it was a prissy emphysemic old woman, I gave up smoking.
It was OK for a while, but then the excuses started. Firstly, the odd one when I was drinking, but that was OK because smoking would always be the very least of the multitude of sins I would commit when under the influence of the red-wine-red-wine-red-wine-gin-to-round-off-the-nightmare gods. Next: smoking on holiday was just fine and dandy, especially as my holiday destinations were coincidentally - coincidentally, I tell you! - places heady with the sweet, toxic atmosphere of love for the smokeroos. Then came the all-nighters at work...who can get through eight solid hours of a completely empty office building without leaning on the choking companionship of my good friends Benson and Hedges?
But kaloo, kalay! I now have a fabulous new excuse to inhale a mix of burning plant and delicious carcinogens. No more invention needed on my part! Our wonderful government has decided that all smokers are illiterate bell-ends who somehow can't understand the enormous words "SMOKING KILLS, YOU UTTER NUMBSKULLS!" emblazoned on our boxes o'delight, and instead, need to be informed of the deadly nature of our habit via the medium of grotesque pictures of diseased lungs, rotting corpses, laboratory beagles crying a single tear and suchforth. And now I can take up smoking professionally again, after recent dabbling at amateur level. The reason? Collections! How badly do I want to collect every single picture they're throwing at us? How much do I want to have the schoolyard swapsies conversation again, flicking through my fag packet collection: "Got. Got. Got. Got. Awww, autopsy! Want! Swap you for three tar-ridden hearts and a bag of oilies?" Very, and lots. And the only way I can is to buy, buy, buy, until I literally can't breathe. If Phillip Morris is really clever, and 60 years of unimaginable profits says he probably is, he will engineer one of the pictures to be incredibly rare, so the kidz will buy at least six packs a day in search of the decaying organ equivalent of the foil '84 Liverpool badge sticker.
If these pictures are even a fraction as cool as the Lucky Strike pack that opens up like a book and then OMG YOU TURN IT ROUND AND IT OPENS UP THE OTHER WAY HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!, they will be very bloody cool indeed. I look forward to a purse-and-life destroying but socially-lubricated winter. I can go and join the cool people again!