I could really go for a smoke. I’m a non-smoker. The most I ever smoked was
three times in one kinda stressful week in college. And I try to buy the good
stuff when I do. No Camels for me.
If I ever want a smoke, it’s because I’ve an itch that needs scratching, and a
cigarette seems like the shortest path to itch relief. It never is though.
There’s a deeper underlying reason why I have dry skin. The itching won’t
abate until I eat my vitamins, or eat animal fats, or stop eating melons, or
get new genes. The rest is vapid style.
There’s so much style to smoking. Nowadays it happens outside. Always with the
lighting it, holding it in your fingers, sucking on it, occasionally looking
at it. It’s the perfect excuse to take a break, because who would deny an
itching man his scratch? And it can’t be done indoors. So it becomes a
paradigm shift. An opportunity for a moment. With friends, huddled against the
cold and the itch. Or alone with the itch.
There’s that kind of moment, and then there’s mortal peril. That innocent
girl, tied against the tracks, kicking her petticoat. The mustachioed man
behind the bushes, twirling his handlebar with growing glee as his dastardly
design is about to bear fruit. And our clean, upright protagonist, whose white
teeth shine brightly in his favor as he strains against inconceivable odds to
ride his worthy steed to the rails in time to throw the switch, sending the
train on a different path, the one without a buxom beauty. The thrall of
potential defeat in the moments before improbable success.
Catharsis. You can relax now.
In those moments, either smoking or rescuing a blossom of virginity from the
jaws of death, in these moments are birthed a potential writer.
There is no such thing as a Greek muse, but there is such a thing as a moment.
Live through enough successive ones with a tolerably observant eye, and one
will feel, think, experience. And that will either need to be processed or
Writing about it can scratch that itch. But the root cause will be here until