VONNEGUT ON SMOKING CIGARETTES: (and other addictions)
"Let us be perfectly frank. For practically everybody, the end of the world can't come soon enough. [Cigarettes are] a fairly sure, fairly honorable form of suicide."
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"In spite of chain-smoking Pall Malls since I was 14, I think my wind is still good enough for me to go chasing after happiness, something I've never really tried." ...
"I wish one and all long and happy lives, no matter what may become of them afterwards. Use sunscreen! Don’t smoke cigarettes. Cigars, however, are good for you.... Firearms are also good for you.... Gunpowder has zero fat and zero cholesterol. That goes for dumdums, too."
If you've ever read Vonnegut's work, then you know he didn't just smoke cigarettes; he practically ate them. And he remained hooked, or so he said in writings up to his death.
But, as life would have it, Vonnegut died under kind of the same sort of ironic circumstances that often befell many of his fictional characters. You see, it was a brain injury suffered in a fall that finally did him in at the age of 84, not cigarettes.
And so it goes.
I am of course notoriously hooked on cigarettes. I keep hoping the things will kill me. A fire at one end and a fool at the other.
But I'll tell you one thing: I once had a high that not even crack cocaine could match. That was when I got my first driver's license! Look out, world, here comes Kurt Vonnegut.
On June 17, 2004, the Weekly had the privilege of publishing one of Vonnegut's shorter pieces, a column he called, fittingly enough, “Cold Turkey,” which is all about addictions — only those of another, more sinister sort. The kind of addictions that kill lots of people, not just those, as Vonnegut says, with a habit that calls for “a fool on one end and a fire at the other.”
— Kevin Uhrich