the first how do i get there? A.K.A the night of too many scarves.
bud doin thangs
Waiting with a Tanner Inman doppelgänger for register 5 while halfway down aisle 5. #SnowOnThaBluff (at Kroger)
This is the flier for a show I’m doing in Athens on Sunday. Look, I tell a joke about a bird I know, and people are running with it.
I quit smoking January 23 with the help of the flu and Allan Carr’s “EasyWay” book. It’s a little creepy how easy it’s been. But if I really think about it, I can remember feeling this at ease when I quit for a little bit in September.
That attempt didn’t take for two reasons. 1) I was visiting NYC and started buying single cigarettes at the store underneath a friend’s apartment, thinking I could handle the one or two here and there. 2) I got stuck in one place for too long before a show started, where I got bored and still looked at cigarettes as relief from that, and I bought a pack up there for one billion dollars.
Both of those stumbling blocks (Smoking “casually,” and thinking a cigarette relieves anything other than the withdrawal from the previous cigarette) are addressed in the book.
This has been the first self help-ey book I’ve ever read. The main focus of the book is reversing what Carr repeatedly refers to as the “brainwashing” behind smoking, deflating societal myths that make quitting smoking seem like the impossible thing people have been told it is, sometimes reinforced even by people who want you to quit, like those TRUTH campaigns.
"You should quit smoking. But before you stop, know you’ll be miserable."
Pretty quickly after I started reading, I saw I was reading some stuff over and over again. The first couple times I noticed this, my reaction was an irritated, “Okay, I get it,” but I assumed that had to be a matter of technique for this genre. Because Carr is pretty openly trying to install his own, new information to replace the previous “brainwashing,” I might feel a little dumb being talked to this way. But I got over it. There’s probably some subconscious humbling going on in the early chapters with that repetition (“You know, I’ve done this thing I don’t like for so long, maybe I should let them talk to me like this, might learn something.”) For all I know, that repetition is a genre-wide agreed-upon delivery system for self-help books.
Carr’s book is about getting your head right before you quit so that it seems manageable, mostly through emphasizing not what you’re giving up (“NOTHING!”), but what you’re gaining (“EVERYTHING!”) There’s a lot of re-framing how you look at smoking, and even yourself. Some pretty funny stretches to offer a self-esteem boost (“Most people can’t KEEP smoking after the first cigarette, but you can’t STOP, so you’re actually STRONG!”) Smoking is presented as a drug addiction financed by a terrible industry, which is oddly motivating.
“It’s a big, big machine meant to trick you, and you’re one of many who fell for it. Don’t feel too bad, but use that weird, righteous victim-strength to fight this.”
Carr gets into the psychology of why people smoke, and it’s mostly anxiety-related, or maybe that’s just what I took away from it. It was interesting at shows last week to count the times where I’d think, “I’m uncomfortable, this is when I’d bail to go smoke,” and have to let it pass.
Get to let it pass.
Another big motivator that made me quit: I went to the doctor for that flu, and my blood took a comically long time to draw, and I couldn’t articulate whether my cough had gotten worse, because flu cough and all the time cough weren’t that far off, and it was embarrassing. I like making eye-contact with doctors.
This is the last time I’ll say anything about this stuff, but I did want to say something. It was a good thing to do for myself. It feels obnoxious to talk about. But I’m excited. If you want to quit, I’d recommend the book.
It’s always cool to meet new fans that know me from my voice work on China, il
Comedy made it so I don’t have to worry about making Valentine’s Day plans. I’ll be featuring for Emo Philips at the Laughing Skull Lounge on February 14. Let us be your date night.