This post is written in conjunction with the 30 Days of Writing, a blog challenge devised by Nicky and Mike at “We Work For Cheese.” I’ll be participating throughout the month of June. If interested, you can see my post with the details of the challenge.
Please note that some of these posts will be serious, some will be normal, and some will be an attempt at humor.
For more than a decade, I was a dipper.
For those who may not know the terminology, it means I chewed (dipped) smokeless tobacco. And not (usually) the stuff you wad into your cheek — I refer to that as chewing tobacco.
Rather, smokeless tobacco or dip, to me, is stuff like Skoal, Copenhagen etc. It’s the tobacco that comes in the small circular tins/cans.
I started in my teens. I have no idea why, but I did. When I was much younger, my older brother did it and I remember once snagging some of his Kodiak. Man did my tummy turn when I tried that. It didn’t stay in my mouth long.
You would think I would have learned my lesson. Nope.
When I was maybe 15 or 16, a buddy of mine gave me a dip. I left it in for a bit. It was absolutely tiny, too. I spit like I was cool. All of a sudden, I thought I was cool as could be. Dipping along.
I tried it a few more times and somehow, I liked it.
As I grew older and into my later teens, I started dipping more. Skoal had come out with its flavors — things like Spearmint and Cherry — and I dabbled in those. The cherry tasted and smelled so good.
Seriously, I loved the stuff.
I wasn’t what you would call a “chain” dipper. By that I mean somebody who has a dip in his or her (yes, I knew and still know several girls who dip) mouth most of the waking day. I was more of a simple dipper. I’d have one or two a day and it usually was in a certain situation — driving, playing a sport, with a friend — something along those lines. I rarely dipped just sitting back and watching TV or something.
Couple that with the fact that I didn’t take overly large dips, and a tin could last me a while. Unless, of course, somebody decided to bum one off me and took big dips.
I remember several people who I banned from bumming dips off me because they took big dips. My whole thought was this — if you are going to bum one, take a small one or go buy your own. Simple as that.
But I dipped and dipped.
And I didn’t mind it all that much. But as time wore on, it started to get old. I jumped from flavor to flavor to try and keep it going. But it got old. It didn’t taste as good. It didn’t smell good. And, truthfully, having spitters around was downright disgusting.
I knew it was only a matter of time before I was going to quit this habit. I wasn’t physically addicted as I went weeks without it at times. It was more of a social addiction. Many friends dipped, so it was easy to have one and join in. And it was a good way to ease up on snacking and such. It was also nice on long rides as it would keep you awake.
But it needed to stop. I just needed something to help me along.
Thank New York State for an intervention.
It was mid-December in 2005 or 2006 (I think ’06) when I went into a local tobacco shop to snag a tin. The intervention came soon after going in. Here’s my conversation — and intervention.
Me: Can I get a tin of Skoal cherry?
(The worker grabs a tin of it, puts it on the counter and rings it up).
Worker: That will be $5.48.
Me: Say what?
Me: Since when is it so expensive?
Worker: New York just upped its taxes, so everything is more expensive.
Me: Well, I don’t want it then.
Worker: I just rang it up!
Me: I just quit!
With that, I walked out.
I had one more dip since then — with a friend on New Year’s Eve. That was only a couple weeks after I had this conversation. I had the dip in for maybe 10 minutes and felt dizzy and sick.
That was it.
I’ve been clean from dip ever since. Every once in a while, I’ll want one if I get a whiff of somebody with it. Or on a long drive. But then I think of everything else — the health risks, the spitting, the nastiness — and that small craving goes away.
I don’t regret quitting, that’s for sure. I don’t need it in my life at all.
I’ve seen prices recently, too, and they are way higher. Financially, quitting habits like this is something smart. Forget about the health ramifications and put it into cold, hard cash. I have friends who I know dip a lot. Or I know people who smoke upwards of two packs of cigarettes per day.
Put it into monetary terms and start thinking about it. If a tin costs 7 bucks and one goes through three per week, that’s $21. Multiply that by a full year and you have $1,092. How many other things do you think you could do with 1,000 bucks?
And what about smoking? Say a name brand costs $7 per pack (which in New York, it’s higher I think). And for the people who smoke just a pack a day (which is way too much anyway). That’s $49 per week. That comes to more than $2,500 per year! If you smoke two packs per day? Double it! I realize some “cheaper brands” might be cheaper, but still.
How many things could you do with $2,500-$5,000 per year? A vacation? More?
The health ramifications alone should get people to quit. But they didn’t work for me. Heck, I remember dipping during health class in high school. But when I put it into monetary terms, it was a lot easier to say hell with it.
Call it a money intervention. Call it whatever you want. But it’s one intervention I’m glad I got!
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