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!
Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!
Pssf, I did that with smoking. I quit entirely while carrying my second child. The first I didn’t smoke for 9 months and couldn’t wait to get a cigarette. Then found out we couldn’t smoke in the house (baby allergies) or at work so I was limited to enhaling as many cigarettes on the way home from work (which made me quit dizzy) or standing in rain and snow to smoke outside. It was getting to be a hassle. When 14 months later I found out I was pregnant again,I had some kind of cold associated with being prenant that kept my throat sore so I didn’t smoke anything then. AGAIN, I couldn’t wait to have another one. This time after 2 drags on one, it made me sick and dizzy. I threw the cig down and haven’t touched one for 23 years. When I find out how much those suckers cost I would have quit if I was still smoking. Its outrageous and I have better things to spend my money on too.
My favorite, though, is people I know who smoke and complain that they don’t have any money. They can’t pay for this or that. Yet a pack or two a day is affordable…
P.J. recently posted..Train coming
Linda Medrano says
I’m glad you got over your “habit”. Sometimes somebody has to hit you in the wallet before you take a look at something. It’s funny how something can make you sort of sick at first, and we keep doing it until it doesn’t make us sick. Gaw! How dumb! But I think we all do it!
Linda Medrano recently posted..Divine Intervention – Day 26 – Not Over Yet???
That was all it had to do with me. The wallet spoke loud and clear.
Gosh you wonder why governments allow the sale of things that are bad for you like dip and cigarettes. But then I guess they don’t know whee to dry the line – alcohol, junk food, etc.
I had the same battle with cigarettes. Started when I was 12 and quit when I was 45 smoking two and-a-half packs a day,
Never tried dipping. Always wondered what it would do to people’s gums teeth and breath. Worse than cigarettes?
nonamedufus recently posted..30 Days of Writing – #26 – An Intervention
Well, think about how many things are bad for you though. Sugar can be bad. Alcohol. Fatty foods. Fast food. Tobacco is a natural thing. The nicotine…
So yeah, it would be hard to draw the line.
Glad you quit smoking. I’m a hardcore advocate against smoking as my father died of lung cancer. As for dipping — you smell the dip as you would smokes. I think anything on the breath would be bad. I always hated having it in my teeth though!
So glad you quit. I would think the money aspect would encourage more people to at least try and quit smoking, dipping, whatever their habit of choice – even if they ignore the health issues.
Linda recently posted..Saving the Day: An Intervention
Yeah, that’s what I always figure. Put it into monetary ideas and whamo, it seems like an easy fix!
P.J. recently posted..Train coming
Babs - Beetle says
I’ve never heard of ‘dipping’, but I’ve seen chewing tobacco in the movies 😉 I imagine it’s an American thing as I’ve never seen it in the UK. So what is the difference between dipping and chewing tobacco?
Babs – Beetle recently posted..A vet’s intervention
It’s all forms of smokeless tobacco.
Dipping is finer tobacco — it comes in small cans such as the ones pictured in my post. You put a pinch of it between your cheek and gum.
The second type is “chewing” tobacco, which is more like Red Man/Beechnut. That tobacco is longer and stringy and you tuck it back in your cheek and can actually “chew” on it.
Never knew anyone who “dipped” is it actually addicting like cigs?
Barb recently posted..Day 26: An intervention
It can be for sure. It’s tobacco, without filter, and nicotine going directly into your lip. Some have said it’s more addictive than smokes.
Good for you! I don’t dip, but I do smoke and I keep trying to quit. It’s not even like I smoke a lot, but it’s been a very, very long time. Sigh. One day…
Nicky recently posted..Let’s Just Call It “Sweden”
Quit, quit, quit! For all that’s good in this world, quit! I will promise you some fine New York aged cheddar when I come to Montreal if you quit! Or some other great NY cheese. I’ll find something!