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Commuting Suicide: Volume XXXII
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I'm fortunate to have an amazing commute. A large portion of my walk to work has me passing through the wooded knolls of Central Park, thus affording me some great views. I watch as the canines play in the dog run while their owners sip coffees and converse with the other owners. There are several park workers who walk along the paths and clean up trash and detritus, getting the area ready for the day's visitors. Homeless men come out of their magical wooded enclaves, replete with (I'm guessing) unicorns that fart rainbows and elves who sit on stumps and play Jethro Tull songs on their flutes. Finally, the fitness enthusiasts take to the streets to get their hearts pumping for several miles.

But it's what a small section of the runners do that baffles me.

I'm not a smoker. That is, to say, I'm not addicted. I used to smoke when I was stuck in traffic, drunk, stressed, or when I finished shagging your mom. But when my grandmother came down with lung cancer and emphysema as a result of smoking, and I watched as those diseases tore her apart from the inside, I decided I'd never pick up another cigarette. It wasn't worth it. I need to live long enough to see the remake of the remake of the remake of H.R. Puffnstuff with my grandchildren.

While walking to work this morning, I was behind a couple fresh off their run through the park. With sweat pouring off their foreheads, and legs still recovering from the jog, I watched as they both lit up cigarettes. And to me, this is fitness bulimia. You've just spent an hour getting in shape, why ruin it with a few drags off a cigarette. The only way to make it worse is to jam a few jelly donuts down your throat and hit yourself in the face with a shovel.

I understand the grip of addiction. Having once gone to meetings for my furry addiction, I know what pleasures certain things can bring. Especially when that pleasure comes in the form of a masked and costumed stranger, hopefully naked, underneath several layers of faux-chipmunk fur. But if you're a smoker, why even bother with the fitness? Why not stay at home and watch SportsCenter and watch other people work out? Hell, doesn't smoking help you lose weight anyway?

I can't stand on a soap box and proclaim why I'm better than you, mostly because of my weak ankles. But honestly, I'm just curious as to what drives people to stay fit when they're also imbibing on less-than-healthy pursuits. Similarly, I'm also wondering why they haven't invented a better way to get a prostate exam.

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I'm a smoker of 25 years -- started when I was 12. And yeah, I should quit, if for no other reason than it's $5 a day out of my pocket, and getting more every month, it seems.

I also play soccer in a men's league once a week, and practice for 4 hours every Sunday in the off-season. And we smoke after the games (I finished off last season by having a beer and a cigarette while the final minutes ticked off the clock).

I smoke because I'm addicted, and also because I still enjoy it, at least a little. I play soccer because it feels good, because I enjoy the sport, and because I've managed to stay in moderately good shape all these years because I never quit playing.

I wonder how poor my condition would be after 25 years of smoking (and 16 years of drinking and bartending) with no physical activity?

I can't say there's a balancing-out of negative by keeping positive -- I'm neither scientist nor statistician -- but I would be surprised if there were none whatsoever.

said Insomniactive on June 3, 2009 3:15 PM.

Yeah, it's almost as if they actually enjoy running.

said strathmeyer on June 3, 2009 3:58 PM.

We don't want to look like Johnny Wright.

Years ago, before we were smarter, in the 70's the riders of the Tour De France would smoke during the race. It was thought to help with breathing during difficult climbs.

said Jonniewalker on June 3, 2009 5:06 PM.

Look like me? Handsome and smug?

said Johnny Wright on June 3, 2009 5:50 PM.

J-dub, I thought better of you man.
Its spelt Homely. You mistapped a few keys there.

said Frank the Tank on June 3, 2009 9:42 PM.

Frank is tough, but he's fair. At least I spelled "smug" correctly.

said Johnny Wright on June 3, 2009 10:35 PM.

It's a proven fact that smoking helps keep you fit and trim.
Or so I've learned.


said Baierman on June 3, 2009 11:08 PM.

What, being a furry is a crime now? Funk dat.

said E on June 4, 2009 2:03 AM.

Why do we need a better way to get a prostate exam?

said Tim on June 4, 2009 10:32 AM.

I'm still waiting for Johnnie Walker to explain himself. He's flirting with a Loyal 77 suspension.

said Johnny Wright on June 4, 2009 1:00 PM.

By your pic you do not appear to be as svelte as Echo. I understand that not everyone can look like Echo, Dave or I. One must endure some sacrifices in life to appear as one would wish. This does not mean drinking and smoking are out, unless you can not tolerate going for a run while hung-over. By no means am I saying you are a fat ass, I have not yet had the opportunity to meet you in person and make that judgment, but you do not appear to be just skin and bones either!

said Jonniewalker on June 4, 2009 2:18 PM.

I would put you on suspension if you weren't right. Dammit. Carry on.

said Johnny Wright on June 4, 2009 2:23 PM.

I've never seen anyone put their keyboard in their mouth before.

Let's make a pact to try and keep YBNBY free of pretty-boy contests, shall we? Several of the YBNBY ladies are having a hard enough time staying focused on their upcoming nuptuals.

said Tim on June 4, 2009 10:38 PM.

....a few years back, my (then) wife, was an aerobic instructor for the Advanced Class. Somedays, as many as three classes per day. Yep, smoker!
Before/After class....outside trying not to be seen by her students. Truth is she was in a hellvalot better shape than I.
I didn't smoke, but, didn't do aerobics neither! Oh sure, I hated her smoking habit, but with calves, thighs, buns like hers.......I was very forgiving. That's just the kinda guy I am! What can I say?

said EffenIdontcare on June 5, 2009 7:01 PM.
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