A few weeks ago, I decided that I was going to quit smoking for New Year’s. But this time it would be different. I wouldn’t leap into it on a whim; I’d spend time, between now and then, consciously thinking of reasons to quit, and how life would be without my beloved ciggies. By the time 2012 rolled around, I would already have mentally quit. It’d just be a matter of the physical part. I even made a list of Reasons to Quit and put it on my fridge. It included things like “It will make your mother happy” and “You will probably avoid a long, gradual, agonizing death. Probably.”
Then on Jan. 1 I went, “Yeah, but I like smoking,” and lit up, and that was that. I have more important things to think about.
I found a countdown widget for my phone. You put in the date and it tells you how long until that date, or how long it’s been since that date. So: it’s been 50 days since I joined Kung Fu, 80 days since I looked at porn,1 20 days since I did the other thing,2 and 5 days since my last confession. I keep meaning to come up with a reasonable alibi for when somebody picks up my phone and ask what the numbers mean.
By the bye, I don’t mean to brag about the numbers, but I figure it’s a little bit like an AA meeting around here, and a little back-patting is okay in that setting. Did I mention Clean of Heart? Yes, I did. Well, I’m mentioning it again, and not just because of the Amazon revenue.
But speaking of martial arts, here’s a scene from Ong Bak which is probably the greatest 33 seconds in the history of cinema:3
I am rereading George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin. After that I plan to reread The Princess and Curdie. Because they’re the best books in the world. Not only that, you can get ’em for free on the interwebs, because they’re old, and stick ’em on your phone, very suitable for bedtime reading.
One reason I love reading MacDonald is that he makes goodness so attractive. Evil is always exciting from far away, but boring up close; good is the opposite. But how often do you come close to someone so good he glows? That’s why we need writers like MacDonald. A few chapters and suddenly you remember what you’ve been fighting for, even you also remember how far away it is.
Why didn’t anybody tell me how good stretching makes you feel? Just kidding, my friend Rivka has been telling me that for ages, but it took Kung Fu to make me actually do it. I guess it’s the same thing for any kind of change that takes place in your body: you’re so used to thinking of your body as always basically the same — whether you’re too skinny, too fat, too stiff, too tired, or whatever — that any tangible change for the better (like being able to touch your toes, or [!!] the floor) feels like a renewal of hope.
This is my last month by myself in this apartment. In February I’ll be moving into a house with two other guys. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet. It took me about six months to adjust to this life. How long will it take to adjust back? But I’m excited, too, not least because said house has a basement where I can keep my motorcycle and hang my punching bag.
Do any of you deal with chronic back pain? I’ve got sciatica, pretty bad. The stretching helps, taking aleve helps, heat helps (sort of), but is there any such thing as a permanent solution? Doc says no, but I don’t think he cares as much as I do. I’ve even been thinking acupuncture. What has helped you?