Not really a lung story…

…but it’s probably not an observation I’d be making were it not for my little thoracic snip snip a couple of months ago.

It was just another PM rush hour, chugging along on GA 400 earlier this week when I spotted a fellow motorist consuming a dark brown liquid out of an industrial-sized containment vessel that could have passed for Paul Bunyan’s sippy cup. After taking a swig, said motorist lit up a cigarette.

I thought to myself, here I am snacking on almonds and grapes and drinking h2o out of my fancy BPA-free water bottle, and across the way is a smoker throwing back what was probably a product of one of my cities premier companies, and yet I’m the one who needed a nasty mass excised from an otherwise healthy lung.

I’ve been trying really, really hard to avoid thinking too much about the reasons why a cluster of rogue cells would find cause to set up shop in my chest, and I usually do a pretty good job, until – well, I’m stuck in traffic and see someone lighting up or when I encounter people who smell like an ash tray.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t intend to get all Truth campaign, anti-smoking flag waving. I’ve always been a live and let live kind of guy. Smoke ’em if you got ‘em!

I remember a tough old bastard I worked with during a summer gig in the kitchen of Shumsky’s restaurant in Atlantic City . This guy swigged cheap whiskey like it was Mother’s milk and he sucked on unfiltered Pall Malls like a ________(now I could go in all sorts of directions leading off a simile with a form of the verb ‘to suck,’ but in keeping with the Chronicles PG standards, I’ll let you fill in the blank!).

The last time I saw this guy was back in the late 80s — 80s — which wasn’t too far off from his age at the time. My point is, here’s a guy who took in nicotine like Brad and Angelina take in African kids and he gets to puff away well into the octogenarian years. Me, never touched a cigarette and I get a swift kick in the lobes at 46.

I know, it was just two weeks ago, when in these very pages, I wrote about being thankful for my faith. That hasn’t changed. It’s part of His plan, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, you will never be challenged with more than you can handle —

I get it.

Besides a couple of scars, and a preventative trip or two to the oncologist in the new year, I’m very much back to normal. It’s just from time to time, in those unguarded minutes, I ask myself, how did this happen?

As Arsenio said, things that make you go mmm!


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