Saturday, 1 February 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Happy Endings

Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us THE END.

Leaving England

The end of the English south coast when I was leaving to return to Switzerland. Everything has an end, except for the sausage. A sausage has two – you did not know that? If you spoke German you would because there is a song that says “Everything has an end, only the sausage has two” – the song never reached the top of the German hit parade.

My life seems to be composed of cold turkeys, it became a hobby to stop doing what I enjoy doing. I was a smoker, enjoyed every gram of nicotine that dissolved into my lungs, giving me a real high, but one day it realised something must be wrong somewhere. Packets of cigarettes appeared with warnings, telling us all that this would be your last cigarette, possibly. Your survival chances as a smoker were dwindling. I just ignored the thick black writing on the back of the packet (was there a skull and crossbones as well?) and continued. Then something happened to give me food for thought.

These boxes of cigarettes were increasing in price. I could perhaps be glad that I was contributing to the Swiss pension fund with every pull I took on this coffin nail (so they might be called in German), but my purse was suffering. There was also a form you always had to complete if visiting the hospital when being subjected to a full anaesthetic for an operation. “Do you smoke?” was question No. 1. I wrote “Yes”, but why do they ask?. I then discovered that places for smoking were becoming fewer and fewer. You visit a restaurant? You have to stand outside in the street to smoke. We smokers were becoming pursued, we were being treated as suffering from leprosy. Eventually I did it. I chewed a piece of cold turkey and stopped: not because I had to smoke on the street, but mainly due to the fact that my purse was no longer full of change. It was not easy reducing the consumption from a packet a day to nothing, so I trained myself and in three days I was down to five cigarettes. It was Saturday and I decided if I battled through the week-end smokeless, I could do anything. I did it. My finger nails did not grow for some time and my consumption of chewing gum grew

That was cold turkey No. 1. No. 2 was a sweet known as “Fisherman’s Friend”. You must know them. I think they originate in Norway, the land of cold fresh air and probably fish. I loved them, the strongest of course. After munching just one, it was as if a vacuum cleaner had travelled through your nasal passages. I was high again. I noticed that I began to plan my eating habit of this peppermint during the day to ensure I was not eating too many: two in the morning, two in the afternoon and one perhaps in the evening. There was something wrong. I think they must contain some sort of bait to encourage their consumption. I was back on the cold turkey course, so I did it. My boss would often offer me one in the morning, noticing how I was gazing with longing eyes at the packet on his desk, but I stayed firm. I decided I would not buy or chew another Fisherman’s Friend. That was about ten years ago. You can overcome all habits, if you really want to.

In 1979 I was diagnosed with diabetes; nothing extreme, just a little abnormal carbohydrate content in my blood. I did not even feel ill: perhaps a little thirsty now and again, but no problem. I was given tablets and a machine to make holes in my finger, just little holes, to measure the sugar content in my blood. I was gradually feeling like a human vampire. The problem with this diabetes thing is that I did not really feel ill. I did have a sort of pins and needles feeling in my feet, but no big deal. I visited my diabetes doc a couple of weeks ago and he gave me the diabetic of the year medal. He found that after so many years I was still not yet on the needle (he did not say it exactly like that) which meant I was a careful eater, avoiding all the bad stuff I should not eat.

I decided not to disappoint him as he seemed to have a feeling of success. Since the initial shock I avoid sugar where I can and my taste buds now react very strongly to its taste. However, to celebrate whilst I was waiting for the local train to take me home after the visit to the doctor, I bought myself a vanilla doughnut at the kiosk. I decided I deserved this reward after being so obedient for more than thirty years.

I suppose the next on the list might be Facebook. I could not just stop using the computer completely. I would probably suffer from withdrawal symptoms. I decided I would put that one on one side. My purse does not really suffer, I do not pay the telephone bill, that is all done electronically and if I left Facebook my faithful fans might would have withdrawal symptoms from not being able to read my daily words of wisdom.

To sum it all up, do not smoke, do not eat Fisherman’s Friends and eat no sugar products. You will then have a miserable healthy life. If you really do not know what to do with the time you gain by giving up all these things, then join me in Facebook and WordPress – or shall we do a cold turkey here as well?
Click here for more


  1. Two things in your post that were very similar to my own experiences. The first is smoking. I was quite a heavy smoker.....averaging about 35 per day. The heath-warning aspect didn't scare me into stopping, in fact I rarely thought about it. But like you, when I calculated just how much of my income was going up in smoke, literally, I decided it was time to quit. Couldn't do it on willpower, patches and gum didn't work. Then I tried!!! Worked perfectly!!

    After I quit, I became addicted to Trebor extra-strong mints. Oddly enough though, only when I'm at work. When I'm home, I never touch them. But mybe that's because I have my third major addiction at home. Coffee!!

    1. I cannot drink coffee. Has a rather negative effect on my digestion. I just drink tea, pure. Hot water and a tea bag (Twinings) in a cup, that does me nicely.