I had been listening to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra New Year’s Eve and their final number was Auld Lang Syne and as I sang along it popped into my head that this was a special anniversary that evening. Sixty years ago I was in the Polish American Club in Hamtramck, Michigan playing drums with our quartet we called The Silvertones. I took the cigarette from my mouth, threw it on the floor and stomped it out with my foot, began my drum roll, crashed a cymbal and we started playing Auld Lang Syne. At that time I had a three pack a day cigarette habit and I have not smoked a cigarette or anything else for (drum roll) sixty years now. I just went cold turkey. Yes, it was hell. And today as I watch so many of our friends and relatives trying to quit smoking and failing I feel their pain. How did I do it? One day at a time of course, or one hour or sometimes for five minutes at a time. I did one more thing that I have never heard anyone talk about. I figured that the nicotine in my system was creating the craving I had for more nicotine and so I set out to get all of the nicotine out of my system. Remember that song in South Pacific…”I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair.?” Well I figured correctly that my entire being was inundated with nicotine. I had it caked on my fingers where I held a cigarette. My teeth were stained from it. I reeked with the smell of cigarettes and when I would arrive home I would go to kiss my sweet but pregnant wife Ruthie and she would get sick from the smell. And that was my motivation to quit. I took a shower and used a brush to clean my skin all over and I scrubbed my hair with shampoo. I poured glass after glass of water through my system, that is ten and more big glasses a day. I brushed my teeth and rinsed my mouth with mouth wash a number of times each day. I wouldn’t even get near anyone that was smoking and when I got a kiss from my wife when I returned home from work a couple of weeks later I knew I was on the right track.
Happy New Year, Everybody. And I hope you get a dozen things on your Bucket List.