PAINT LICK —
If you had your life to live over, what would you do differently?
Frankly, with one exception, the few things that I would change are too personal to talk about in a public forum, and they’re really nobody else’s business, anyway.
And if I went back and made major changes, say in the type of education or where I attended college, for example, they might have resulted in an entirely different life than the one I’ve lived.
The bottom line is that I’m pretty happy with the way things have turned out. I love my family and my circle of friends and I love living in Paint Lick, Kentucky. I love what I do, and I’m fairly content with what I’ve accomplished over the last 64 years.
I’m proud of my kids and grandkids, and I can’t imagine having a life-sharing partner more wonderful than Loretta. I would not go back and make a single change that would ultimately make the family and friends aspects of my life turn out differently.
But, by far, the biggest regret that I’m willing to talk about is smoking. I wish, with all my heart, that I’d never seen or touched a cigarette or briar pipe. I would be lying big time if I told you that I have not taken great pleasure from smoking, especially my pipes, over the decades.
Although I haven’t smoked a pipe in nearly three years, I still consider myself a connoisseur of blended pipe tobacco from around the world. Few things, made of wood, have more appeal to my eyes and hands than a hand carved and perfectly engineered Mediterranean Briar pipe. Nothing smells better to me than the aroma of fine pipe tobacco.
But if I had it to do over, I would have never touched a pipe and never lit that first cigarette. I’m reasonably convinced that I would not have suffered the stroke that has left me somewhat crippled for nearly a year now. I’m sure that I would have far more stamina and that I would feel better.
I don’t even want to think about all the money I would have if I had stuck it into sa avings account instead of blowing it on tobacco and it’s related products over the years.
People who do not have ultra-addictive personalities do not understand those of us who do. I know at least a hundred people who have quit smoking over the years and some of them had mighty struggles with the process. Many, if not most, of them are of the opinion that if they can do it, anyone can.
But even after my stroke, I cheated and on those days when I didn’t smoke, I wanted a cigarette so badly that I could hardly think of anything else.
Over the last 25 years, I have tried numerous patches, pills and gum. I’ve completed two of those highly-touted 16 week cessation programs. I’ve tried hypnosis several times, and I’ve fallen for several television and internet promoted scams. I’ve had a stroke, for crying out loud, and I still wanted a damn cigarette.
Last fall, someone suggested I try an e.cigarette. It’s a battery operated device that delivers a vapor instead of smoke. It feels and tastes a lot like a regular cigarette but without all the smoke and tars and thousands of chemical impurities you get from real smoke. In other words, it’s a much cleaner and less aggravating way of getting a nicotine fix than real tobacco. And unless somebody is sitting right beside you, they never smell a thing.
This writing makes 90 days since I’ve touched a match or lighter to a cigarette. I promise you faithfully that I haven’t even wanted one, but I have panicked a time or two when I couldn’t find my White Cloud Fling.
I have no idea if it’s safer, because I’m still getting nicotine. But I can tell you that I feel and breathe better than I have in decades, and I can’t imagine going back to real smoke.
I tried 11 different brands and styles before settling on White Cloud disposables, which I find to be the most reliable, realistic and economical e.cigarettes on the market and, by far, the most truthfully advertised. Simply do an internet search for whitecloudfling.com
However, if you’ve quit smoking, DO NOT DO THIS or use it as an excuse to start back. If you’ve never smoked a cigarette, THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE.
Read everything you can find on the pros and cons of electronic cigarettes before you even try one and then make up your mind. There’s a ton of mostly conflicting information on the internet and even health professionals hold widely varying opinions.
It may turn out that I’m still killing myself just as rapidly as I would be with the real thing or maybe even faster. But at least Loretta is not yelling at me for stinking up the atmosphere.
PAINT LICK —
If you had your life to live over, what would you do differently?
The Case of the Unhappy Robber
Norton, a professional burglar, looked upon himself as a kind of Robin Hood. The difference was that he took from the rich and kept it for himself. As a result, he spent more time in the slammer than he did in Sherwood Forest.
The toughest blow he suffered, however, was inflicted by the commissioner of motor vehicles. Upon Norton’s release from jail for the umpteenth time, the hard-hearted commissioner revoked his driver’s license.
Dream becomes reality only when you persevere
A young boy grew up in Berea, in a family that was blessed with a variety of musical talents.
His mother was a member of a female group who performed onstage regularly at Renfro Valley, in Rockcastle County.
This young man would routinely attend shows to watch his mother, and other artists, perform on stage. He was eager to learn from them every chance he could. He knew from a young age he wanted to pursue a career in the music industry and was willing to seek advice and mentoring from those who were experienced in the industry.
SOAR-ing in eastern Kentucky
By the time many of you read this, I’ll be traveling to southeastern Kentucky, on my way to the SOAR Summit scheduled for Monday in Pikeville (at least if the weather cooperates).
I’ll be listening to WMMT radio out of Whitesburg, the world’s most eclectic radio station. I’ll be among those magic mountains and with the wonderful people who live in the region and others who don’t but still love it.
If you don’t know eastern Kentucky, get rid of your stereotypes right now. Yes, there are poor, ignorant people in eastern Kentucky — just as there are in New York City, San Francisco or London, England.
Farming Misunderstood and Under-appreciated
As you look at your (I hope) full plate this Thanksgiving, take a guess at what percentage of your annual income you spend on food.
Whatever you guessed, you probably guessed too high.
“We pay as low as 6 percent,” Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture, tells me at a conference table in his office. “In most other industrialized countries, it’s 20-25 percent.”
And if you were spending that much on food in America, Vilsack asks, “how big a house would you have? How nice a car?”
Recalling the day JKF died
This is written on the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. A year ago I demonstrated my exquisite sense of timing: I wrote my personal remembrance of that dark day in Dallas last year on the 49th anniversary of the horrific events in Dealey Plaza.
Is the pipeline to career advancement broken?
“Honey, have you checked our financials this month?” An individual asks their spouse.
“Yes, and it’s not looking good. Our investments aren’t growing like we’d hoped, and the healthcare crisis is affecting the premiums and co-pays we’re paying every month,” replies the spouse.
The individual asks another question, “Do you think we’ll ever be able to retire?”
The spouse shakes their head and replies, “It doesn’t appear we’ll have that option anytime soon, especially if we want to maintain the lifestyle we have now.”
Life Lessons from lawyers, journalists and 10 years as a columnist
I have little in common with Walter White, the chemistry teacher turned drug lord in the TV series Breaking Bad, but the line about his motivation hit me.
In the decade that I wrote a weekly column, I touched a lot of lives.
At least one man stopped his planned suicide and got help after reading my column. (I still hear from him and he is doing fine.)
Register columnists share room for a day at Telford rehab center
So here we are, coming to you still alive from Telford Terrace Rehabilitation Center in Richmond where I am recovering from two strokes that kept me in St. Joseph’s Lexington Hospital for the better part of last week.
I was transferred to Telford where I intend to learn to walk again.
Memo to Merkel: Tell Obama to Take a Hike
Chutzpah. I believe that’s the word for it.
Just days after learning the Americans have been tapping her phones and taping her conversations, Angela Merkel has been publicly upbraided by the U.S. Treasury for being a bad global citizen.
What did she do to deserve this?
Congressionally Duped Americans
Last week’s column, “Is There a Way Out?”, generated quite a few responses, some a bit angry. Some people were offended by my reference to Social Security and Medicare as entitlements or handouts. They said that they worked for 45 years and paid into Social Security and Medicare and how dare I refer to the money they now receive as an entitlement. These people have been duped by Congress and shouldn’t be held totally accountable for such a belief. Let’s examine the plethora of congressional Social Security lies. I’ll leave the Medicare lies for another column.
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- The Case of the Unhappy Robber