There are as many ways to quit smoking as there are stars in the night sky, or punched dicks in Billy’s dreams. I’ve tried many of them: books, hypnosis, gum, nicotine patches, nicotine panties (those were purchased from a distinctly disreputable pharmacy which has since closed down; the product didn’t work, but did make my tush look spectacular), and substitution.

The last one worked for a few months in college: every time I wanted a cigarette, I would smoke a doobie. This plan didn’t even make it to the brainstorming stage for this cessation attempt. partially because I no longer store garbage bags full of “Boston Brown” in my apartment for pot wholesalers; it would be a bit more expensive. (This is a true story, unless the statute of limitations is not up, in which case it is a lie.)

So it’s mostly will-power and saddened resignation this time around, plus a dip into B.F. Skinner territory. When a craving rears its head, I don’t shunt it off or deny it, no: I play out the tape while drawing back the rubber band around my wrist. FWAP against the paper-thin skin and sensitive veins of my lower forearm. It’s all red and blotchy and on the precipice os scarring after a few days; it looks like I’m self-harming, mostly because I am harming myself. Someone at the food court noticed yesterday and Child Services came to the house and took me away from myself.

The Dead all smoked. Everyone back then smoked, and everywhere: movie theaters, hospitals, airships full of hydrogen (go look up the smoking lounge on the Hindenburg: I’ll wait.) There was no such thing as a non-smoking section. Not only would proud fathers pass out cigars to celebrate the birth of their children, but they would also use said children’s’ fontanelles as ashtrays.

As they got older, of course, the Boys (and Mrs. Donna Jean) had to stop smoking cigarettes. Comes a time for all of us.

Phil found it the easiest, as due to his birth on Felicidae IV, home planet of the Imperium of the Cat-People, he lacked the physiology to become addicted to nicotine. He did find it nearly impossible to stop scratching up the couch, but after Jill got the spray bottle, things worked themselves out.

Bobby realized one summer that there was simply no place for a pack in his short-shorts and the decision of whether to indulge his addiction to cigarettes or showing off his gams to stadiums full of people was no decision at all to him.

Billy found something other to do with his hands.

Garcia never really quit, but he did find the most permanent way to stop.