I am out of cigarettes. I should be grateful that I am out of cigarettes because cigarettes are evil, evil things that are trying to kill me slowly. (I am generally grateful when I run out of medieval torturers). But I cannot be grateful because I am an addict and addicts are never grateful, not even when you loan them twenty bucks out of the kindness of your stupid, enabling heart.
I could go get cigarettes. I have a key and a car and if I put the key in the car the car will even start sometimes. But I have temporarily moved in with my grandparents (not so that I can take care of them in their old age but so that they can take care of me in their old age) and they live fifteen minutes away from the nearest open gas station.
Fifteen minutes is long enough to take your time while taking shit and short enough that people don’t necessarily assume you’ve died. In fifteen minutes time, I could make love to fifteen women for thirty seconds apiece and still have half a minute to apologize to each of them in turn, or take seven and a half minutes to apologize to them all at once.
But fifteen minutes are also fifteen opportunities for fifteen depressed deer to commit murder-suicide on me. (There is a real mental health crisis in the deer community that no one except a few marginalized game wardens seem to want to talk about.) I also have very little money that isn’t already earmarked for various pyramid schemes, massage parlor visits, and junkie friends.
In order to keep my mind off the ashtray balanced on the arm of my soul’s recliner, I will now list ten things that I can do instead of going out to get a pack of cigarettes.
1. I can masturbate.
2. I can eat something if I can find something that something else hasn’t already eaten. (Sippy cups were not designed with young Damiens in mind.)
3. I can watch Conan on mute and try to guess when the guest dives into the bit they worked out before the taping, and estimate how well that bit goes over with the studio audience solely through the rate of peripheral eye-flicks.
4. I can rearrange the baby photos of my father and his brothers and sisters from chronological order to alphabetical order and barely confuse my grandparents since they named all their children names that start with the letter D.
5. I can listen to the air conditioner with my eyes closed and try to discern messages in the white noise.
6. I can shine a flashlight at the cats on the back porch and see if any of them are possum or if any of them just play possum or if any of them are, in fact, dead.
7. I can take all the ice cubes out of the ice cube tray and refill it with water and put it back in the freezer and wait fifteen minutes and then crack it up again.
8. I can play with the pimple on my shoulder that isn’t quite ready to pop yet so that it will be nice and primed (and yellow) tomorrow.
9. I can walk outside and look up at the stars and think about the meaning of life and the meaninglessness of death and see if there are any big enough cigarette butts left out in the yard.
10. I can masturbate again.
(I will probably masturbate again.)
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