Monday, January 22, 2007

Fitter, Happier

For the past couple of weeks my daughter had been acting like a mean-spirited, spoiled little brat. Then, during dinner yesterday, as I was yelling at her for what seemed like the hundredth time that day for I-can't-remember-what, she stopped me dead in my tracks with the following earnest, deeply troubled words: "Daddy, why don't you smoke a cigarette? It's OK, you know." Ouch. Out of the mouths of babes...

What a miserable prick I've been the past couple of weeks, especially to my little girl, but to my wife as well. Damn the day I lit a cigarette. Tonight after work I formally apologized to my daughter for being mean to her lately. When I asked what I could do to make it up to her, she told me I should come home from work early more often so that we could go to the park before it gets dark. Easy to please. My wife is another story...

Anger management classes are not really an option, but clearly I'll have to tame some of the "ill-effects" of a smoke-free life. Reader suggestions are welcome (but please, comments of the type "once a prick, always a prick", aside from stating the too-obvious, are not really helpful...).

Plan A: Tomorrow at 6am I will wake up and go for a brisk 30 minute walk, and possibly I'll even run a bit (if I don't keel over in agony too quickly). I will do this every day. Soon I will become a lean, mean sex machine, and I will wonder what ever possessed me to smoke those vile cigarettes. My wife will be happy to have such a non-smoking hunk o' manhood for a husband. My daughter will be happy that I don't throw out my back when I carry her to bed. I will be happy because, well, dammit, life will be good and we will be happy and healthy...

Fitter, happier, more productive, comfortable...


  1. Considering the fact that most of the people who tell me I should quit smoking are people I will probably never go to bed with, what other motivations can you share that would help a smoker like me to quit?

  2. To be honest Glenn, the only good reason to stop doing something you enjoy is to make someone else happy. If that's not reason enough (hey, and I'm not 100% sure it is sometimes), don't waste the energy.

  3. I think you already have your solution - activity. Plus maybe some sort of vitamin supplements if your body is still out of whack due to de-toxing. You're in Japan - they have all sorts of herbal hoo-ha there :)

  4. You're probably right, Mr. Angry. The extra candies and snacks are causing me to "pork out" a bit anyway, so there's certainly no harm in getting a bit of exercise. The walk I took this morning was quite refreshing, and when I got back home my wife seemed to be a bit extra nice... ;-)

  5. Salamaat,
    Walking/jogging will rid most of your excess negative energy too. Keeping it up is always a pain (for me at least.)

    I don't have anything else to add sorry..but proud of for sticking it out on the non smoking joint :)

  6. I really hope I can join you very soon. I'm already practising. Regarding anger management, my experience says that trying to repress it only makes it worse. I believe we have to let emotions pass through us to relax. When I get angry, I take 30 seconds to kick the floor, throw a discrete tantrum, and then regain my usual nice self to deal with the world. I hope it works for you too. Keep on it, pal!

  7. Maliha, although I've only done it for two days now I think you're right that it helps to get rid of negative energy. My wife is also mildy surprised that I've become a bit "busier" helping out around the house (but she believes it to be a sign of impending disaster, like an earthquake or typhoon!).

    Usual Stuff, normally I think it's healthy not to supress one's anger, but mine was unfocused and unfairly targeted at my daughter--it had to be stopped cold. Good luck if you try to quit smoking!

  8. Well, I have a 5-year-old niece. Sometimes they can act like real brats, you know? Maybe you should take a few hours away from your family. Some small vacations might help.

  9. Yes, sometimes they can be brats, but this time *I* was the "brat".

  10. "the only good reason to stop doing something you enjoy is to make someone else happy"

    And yet we're often told (usually by well-meaning but idiotic friends) that the only good reason is for yourself, ignoring the fact that self-hatred might lie at the root of our addiction.

    I'm such a fuck-up I'm last person you should take advice from, but in my experience there is no better way to spend time than with one's children; therapy - proper, long term therapy - improves one's self-knowledge; and, as my sister once told me, the key to a contented life is "pottering about". And she was right!

  11. Hi John,
    I certainly agree that any moment spent with my daughter cannot be a wasted one. I've also found that the morning walks (yeah, I'm actually doing it!) also help, as does just generally keeping busy.
    Nobody's commented on it (someone must have noticed it!), but the Radiohead reference was meant to suggest the tension I feel between being healthy and being happy (the two do not necessarily go hand in hand by my reckoning).

  12. 'A song you like is a piece of your own life' Don't remember who said it, but it's true.
    Music as therapy is quite good, believe it or not. When I'm blue, I start playing the saddest songs I have. After a while, my mood starts changing progressively, and so does the music.
    Don't blame yourself too much. Remember nobody was born knowing how to be a father.