This Neurotic Life: Smoking by Cody McGraw

Smoking is gross. There. I said it and I’m not taking it back. There’s something about the act of smoking that makes my legs do their nun impression and makes me feel like Indian food looks. It’s a disgusting habit that way too many people I love take part in.

My hatred falls somewhere between the smell, the taste and the expense but I really think it’s because as a child my parents couldn’t have smoked more if their faces were on fire. It was in my clothes, in my sheets, and other kids refused to share a locker with me because my backpack smelled so strongly of second hand smoke. It drove me crazy that I couldn’t smell it on myself but knew others could. It was like that feeling you have when you think you might have a booger but aren’t sure so you rub your nose until everyone thinks you’re a coke addict instead, or something less insane.

The image of a cigarette hanging from someone’s mouth is so unappealing to me because all I can picture is that smoke cloud I grew up under, my grandmother’s lung cancer and this weird, old French film I accidentally watched hoping for nudity. This image haunts me like former Christian pop careers follow our sluttiest music icons. However, it has kept me from becoming a smoker by ridding me of any desire to start.

As an adult I’ve learned to accept some people just smoke and enjoy having horrid breath, yellow teeth and the hacking cough of an elderly porn star. I’ve even dated smokers and they’ve seemed not to mind having to brush their teeth before kissing me and having to go outside for their “butt.” As a vegetarian my apartment already has an array of smells because of what I cook so there’s no need to add to it. Also, I never again want to be that boy who no one wanted to share their locker with. I like smelling nice and I like people noticing. You can all enjoy smelling like Patti and Selma’s old gitch after a round of Bingo. I’ll continue smelling like a ruggedly handsome gentleman – despite looking like a wiener instead.


This Neurotic Life is an original column for The Little Red Umbrella about the trials and tribulations of being neurotic written by our Managing Editor Cody McGraw. See more editions here.

Photo by Carmen Cheung

Cody McGraw is many things but the thing you can actually call him to his face is the Managing Editor of The Little Red Umbrella. See more posts from him here or follow him on Twitter (@cody_mcgraw).


Anonymous said...

It's 3 years now Cody for 2 of your loved ones :)
I think you have to quit to realise all the facts you listed are infact TRUE!

CodyMcGraw said...

congrats on 3 years smoke free!

Anonymous said...

So, do you not get that smoking is an addiction? It's not that people LIKE smoking and the crap that comes with it. Your article is funny but you come off a bit holier than thou. This is speaking as an ex-smoker (1 year). It sucks to smoke but you're compelled.

Anonymous said...

I smoke. I like smoking. It's obviously not healthy, and that's a reason to be against it. But this knee jerk ick factor, I felt out of place in grade school crap is stupid. Humans are gross. They fart, burp, crap, excrete, sweat, decay, bleed from their genitals and die. And in the scheme of things smoking is less icky than a "morning constitutional." So who gives a fuck if you find something icky and it made you uncomfortable as a kid? Most of life is icky.

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