During the thirteen years I spent more time in Vietnam than in the U.S., I, like everybody else, smoked cigarettes. The non-smokers among us were so few that we considered them oddballs. And the Vietnamese smoked more than we did.
In 2015, I paid the price for my smoking: I came down with lung cancer that almost killed me. I underwent months of radiation and chemotherapy, then had the upper lobe of my right lung surgically removed. I wasn’t completely recovered until last year.
But I had stopped smoking many years before. Until the lung cancer developed, I thought I’d gotten away with all my years of smoking. It took me a very long time to wean myself off cigarettes and onto nicotine chewing gum. Years later, I gradually replaced the nicotine gum with everyday chewing gum. Eventually, I got to the point that I was chewing only regular gum. Now my problem is I can’t stop.
Yes, now I’m addicted to chewing gum. The next step is to wean myself off gum to . . . nothing. I’ll begin all that someday soon. Don’t want to rush things. What’s the hurry? Why not take another forty years to finish up?
So I’ll get to starting the process one of these days. Meanwhile, I’ve tried all the different brand names of gum. I’ve come to prefer Mentos, partly because they’re candy-covered gum balls. I don’t allow myself any candy on my diet, so the gum is my way of cheating.
Who says the life of an aging man isn’t interesting?