When I was ten, I impressed my Southern Baptist grandmother by signing The Loyal Temperance League Pledge at Sunday School. I pledged I would not smoke, drink, or swear.  Wearing a little brown hat with a veil, she proudly informed all her church-lady friends. As soon as she left, I said “damn.” I had my first beer at 16, and by 17 I was an avid smoker. To top off my rebellion, I lost my virginity while drunk, then lit up the obligatory Winston. “Hell of a night,” I told my roommate. By then I was a Presbyterian.  

“Christians don’t smoke in India,” I was cautioned some years ago.

“How can you be a Christian and SMOKE,” I was admonished in Uganda.

“Is she really a Christian – she smokes!” I overheard in Honduras.

After offending The World, I stopped smoking four years ago. I want to be quite clear about the fact that it had nothing to do with The Pledge, my state of grace, or fear of offending people.

It was strictly an economic decision. The price of cigarettes exceeded my pleasure in smoking. I gained 40 pounds and took up temper tantrums. I am not a better person for having given up smoking; I just have more money to spend on gingersnaps, Big Macs, Krispy Kremes, burritos, pizza, and beer.

Up in heaven, a Southern Belle in a little brown hat with a veil is boasting to her fellow angels about her back-to-the-fold granddaughter, blithely blind to the burritos and beer.


2 Responses to “TEMPERANCE”

  1. LaVerne Says:

    You have never written anything more true nor sad. (wink) I have still not stopped smoking, and I’m still hearing whispers behind my back. I want to quit, I want to lose weight, (I erased the one that went here)… not sure which is more important, but after a large weight gain and a 26 pound loss, I tell myself that to stop smoking would just be a weight gain for sure. I worry about my battles as I light my weapon of choice.

  2. stiggerink Says:

    psst — the patch. I never said I kicked the nicotine habit. I went from one patch a day to one every other day to (still) one now and then. Still gained weight. blah.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: