Thursday, August 17, 2006

My Chest X-Ray Results

What the hell do my chest X-ray results have to do with Bad Girls? Well, smoking's bad for you, and I smoke. That is to say, I used to smoke two cigarettes a day, and now I'm down to five or six cigarettes on the weekend. Except tonight (Thursday), when I plan to smoke one cigarette after dinner.

In other words, I'm a light smoker, but still a smoker in the medical sense. Last month, my doctor gave me a prescription for a chest X-ray, saying that because I've been smoking for such a long time (25 years, gulp), I should see if my lungs are okay.

So I went to the NYU radiology department last week and they took the dorsal and lateral views, I think you call it. When I left the hospital, flouncing past all the old wrinklies in their wheelchairs, there was a bounce in my step as I headed into the morning sunshine beaming down on First Avenue. The air smelled so good!

I felt happy to be alive, and part of my happiness had to do with a physical intuition that I am healthy. And yes, it's true. My doctor's office phoned back this week to say "Your chest X-ray results were normal." In medical speak, "normal" means fabulous, in the pink, robustly immortal!

Now that I know I am indeed going to live forever, as planned, I am full of self-justification for my light smoking habit. What's wrong with a little tobacco? The Indians smoked it and it did them no harm. Smoking is a relaxing and spiritual habit. If you smoke the way I smoke, then smoking is good for you. Just the way a little coffee, a little chocolate and a little alcohol are good for you, according to the latest research.

My Grandma Mil lived to be 96, and she was a light smoker. She officially quit when she was in her 50s, but even after that I remember the stale Kent cigarettes she kept in a pretty little blue-flowered cloisonee box on her coffee table. Every now and then, after a dinner party, Mil would light one up and you could see the pleasure she took from those few little puffs before she crushed out the half-smoked cigarette.

As for me, I keep trying to officially quit. On the days when I don't smoke, I don't miss it. On the days I do, I wonder if I'm really enjoying the cigarette. I roll my own, adding little English filters, and it's the ritual of rolling I enjoy as much as the smoke itself. Plus, I keep hearing the message that "smoking is bad for you," which in this puritanical society makes me want, perversely, to keep indulging my filthy habit.


Anonymous said...

Hey Joyce,

Glad you're lungs are good.

The image of a Bad Girl is a Bad Girl that SMOKES.

I'm glad you're keeping up with them.

Eastcoastdweller said...

I second the previous comment. Live long and prosper.

It is too bad that the gentle, seductive and beautiful art of smoking too often degrades into mere mechanical addiction.

A woman sipping seductively from a long, smoky cigarette, wordlessly luxuriating in its pleasure and heavenly aroma, is worlds away from the poor soul forced to hurriedly burn down a smoke huddling outside some office on some raw winter day.

BTW, you might find a blog by a friend of mine,, to be of interest. You two seem to be kindred spirits.

Anonymous said...

did you say smoking is good for you? Mate, I don't think so. Smoking's a dirty habit... it's suicide! I've just given up, and i'm only 16... i've ruined my life and I only smoked for a year and a half. There's nothing wrong with me at all, but in my head i know that i've ruined my life. how much healthier would I have been if i didn't smoke. I regret it, and I think you should too.

Joyce Hanson said...

Hi. Please don't say you've ruined your life when you're only 16. If anything, you learned something about staying healthy at an early age. Once you get past the trip inside your head, you'll be glad you got over it and past it. And me, yes, I quit smoking a year and a half ago. This blog is gettin' old, man. I'm so glad I quit smoking, even if I was only smoking 10 cigs or so a week.

Anonymous said...

Rather interesting place you've got here. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything connected to this matter. BTW, try to add some pics :).

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