It was Mark Twain who said giving up smoking is easy - he'd done it thousands of times. Mr Hood is spot on. I'm gradually expanding right now, too, as my habit was binned in the summer, the day I was sent for a CT scan of my lungs.
It's not smoking that draws me to the post. It's "nothing to lose". Last weekend but one, I was in conversation with an expert - Dutch no less - on the Scott South Pole expedition. I had cited the example of Lawrence Oates in a post called https://endlesschain.substack.com/p/i-am-just-going-outside-and-may-be (some time), and, during Covid, I had cited the example of Stanley Williams and Ray Washington who, if you didn't know, founded the gang known as Crips.
What impelled Oates was, I'd thought, the fact he had nothing to lose, and could offer his comrades a chance of survival by sacrificing his life heroically. My Dutch friend opined that that was possible; but what was also possible was that he couldn't stand Robert Falcon Scott, and went out into the blizzard to be spared the man's self-righteous idiocy.
What makes Crips Crips is their 25-year life-expectancy. What made Napoleon Napoleon was his eternal life-expectancy. Crips have nothing to lose; Napoleon had a battle to lose, but he didn't lose eternity.
People underestimate what they have to lose and yet, whilst we fear death like the devil, we tend not to fear the devil, and claim a place in Heaven for all those who depart before us, here in our Garden of Earthly Delights, as if Heaven was our only yearning on Earth. If we can appreciate our our own paradoxes for what they are, and embrace them, we can understand the universe.
Quitting is easy. Done it hundreds of times. 5 years and counting since the last time. And about 10kilos I didn’t have as a smoker. Don’t miss the cough though. Great post!
Loved these images in b & w. Didn’t see the smokers but rather the atmosphere that you connected between snap and onviewer.
I’m amazed by how many people still actually smoke, but as an ex-smoker I’m the worst kind of proselytiser. 😂 😂
A photo is worth thousands of words (that we don't have to write)...I adore how this post makes my fast-moving mind slow down and then stop. The image(s) holds me, I study each, and progressively feel a sadness that unveils a memory. My dying mother striking a match and alighting another Parliament, then my father (who would die 18 months after she died) with a Marlboro in the fingers of his hand that rested on the steering wheel of his Porsche, then all the hours my brother and I spent in that car driving the miles to and from hospitals while she was sick and how that tiny cabin had been filled with a murky, heavy haze. My brother and I smoked every one of those Marlboro's with my dad. No wonder we were so depressed, they were killing themselves in front of us, and killing us, too. Thank you, Richard. Amazing post.
I love the "purpose..." picture! Great selection.
Thank you for sharing the habit of millions of people across the world. Photography can be useful sometimes to realize a reality ...
This post is amazed me for is reality check
I tend to live by the Don Paterson aphorism:
"Traditionally the defining moment in a man's life arrives when he looks in his shaving glass and sees his father staring back; but there is a day so much more terrible we rarely speak of it - when he catches himself naked in a full-length mirror, and sees his mother ... "
When it gets to that point. I diet.
Such great photos! Each tells a story, and your comment comes at the image from a different perspective than I expected. Wonderful.