Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll reflects on her own HABITS, MOSTLY BAD. She writes:

Of course, things like brushing your teeth and always fastening seat belts are also habits. But our discussion today will be about my struggles with some less helpful habits.

DRINKING COFFEE – A REPRIEVE

Every few years, the same people who assured us for 25 years that margarine was much healthier for us than butter would cluck their teeth and try to get us to quit drinking coffee. Then one day they said, “Oopsie, we meant margarine is FAR FAR WORSE than butter. Heck, even lard is healthier. Hoo Boy, that’s one on us.” However, based on their perpetually wrong advice, one time I made a very serious stab at eliminating coffee. Went eight whole days without it, sustaining a violent throbbing caffeine-withdrawal headache that finally let up on the ninth day. And that was because I started drinking coffee again.

Now it turns out that there’s practically nothing that coffee can’t do – cures depression, prevents colon cancer, makes you a better test-taker, revs your sex life, and as the cute t-shirt slogan goes: makes you do pointless things faster with more energy! I now joyfully drink two cups a day, one hot, one iced. If you think this is good, read what the ladies’ magazines say about dark chocolate! Woo-hoo! Do they know their readership, or what?

SMOKING – BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

Both my husband and our excellent friend and neighbor, The Paranoid Texan, can tell you the exact day and time they stopped smoking. Both of them still miss smoking though it has been decades. I have read that stopping smoking is harder than quitting heroin, but, Thank the Dear Lord, I can’t confirm that with personal experience!

To the best of my knowledge, junkies do not feel the need to shoot up after sex or after dinner or when they are drinking, all powerful triggers for smoking. Even during white-out blizzards, a dedicated smoker out of cigs will get out the snow shovel and clear just enough of a path to make it to a convenience store. But who are we kidding here? I’ve never known a dedicated smoker ever to run out of cigarettes. Always with the spare packs stashed hither and yon.

In conjunction with my normal mantra for life – “Nothing in moderation” – my sophomore year of college I started smoking and went quickly to three packs a day. I developed chronic bronchitis which was one motivator to quit, but the main one was that those three packs of Kents cost a total of $1.00 a day, and I could not sustain that kind of budget-busting expense in 1966. I quit cold turkey and never had another cigarette.

My husband and I are looking forward to taking up smoking again on our 90th birthdays when, surely, there will not be enough time left to get cancer or emphysema. Shouldn’t be more than $50 a pack by then with all the “sin taxes.”

SWEARING – A WORK IN *#%** PROGRESS

I will just say this upfront: I’m bad. No, really, very very bad. Sometimes I think I almost have Tourette’s. Years of working blue collar with all men, and then 30 years of comedy green rooms, didn’t help, but ultimately I have no one to blame but myself.

Nobody in my home swore. Oh, Daddy did very rarely, but Mama hated it. ONE TIME in my childhood Mama had a migraine and we kids kept going in and out of the house slamming the screen door. She finally staggered from her bedroom in pain and said, “If you kids slam that damn door one more time…” The rest of the threat wasn’t even necessary as we stood stock still in wide-eyed wonder because Mama had said “damn”! My cussin’ started in college in the ’60s and just kept right on going to become my hardest bad habit of all to break. Here are a few things I hate about swearing:

It isn’t feminine: I remember this little Reader’s Digest story from decades ago: A man got on an elevator with two ladies and removed his hat politely (as was the quaint custom back then – both the wearing of fedoras and the removal of them with ladies). Then one woman said to the other, “I hope this thing doesn’t stop at every *&$# floor.” And her friend replied, “I know. I’m already *&%$ late!” And the gentleman just quietly put his hat back on.

It isn’t articulate. In fact, it often makes no sense. Last Tuesday when I was making a fruit plate, a large sticky piece of pineapple squirted out of my hands and skittered across the tile floor for several feet. No matter how much you scrub up something sticky, you always miss a spot which you then step in and your shoes go “snik, snik, snik” across the floor, spreading the stickiness even further. This annoys me no end. Nevertheless, pineapple cannot perform the particular sex act I yelled at it, no matter how determined or motivated it might be.

I also remember that a minister friend said he did not know what Hell would be like since people asserted that the weather was both “hot as hell” and “cold as hell.” (Actually, the Italian poet, Dante, believed that Hell was cold. Anyone who lived through the 1996-97 Minnesota winters could hardly argue…) And finally, with all the heartache in the world, don’t you think that God has larger concerns than to take time out of His busy day to damn a piece of LEGO that you stepped on in your bare feet on the way to the bathroom?

And it’s just not nice. I’m tired of making my friend, Angela, cover her ears and go “Lalala.” By some miracle, she still loves me. So, goshdarn it all to heck, I’m working on it, friends.

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