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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

To J, a wildly wonderful, mildly powerful superhero.


Two years ago, today, I quit smoking.  To me, it was a momentous day, a little frightening, but exhilarating, liberating, a day that I had longed for, but had never been quite ready to accept.  Something happened, that year, though, that made me feel like I could finally end the expensive, smelly relationship.  Maybe, somewhere inside, I knew that on the plains of Canada a remarkable person was also getting ready to put aside the foul things.

She travels the internet under the alias of J, and claims to have mild superpowers.  It seems, to me, that one of those superpowers is the ability to cover any situation, no matter how rancorous, with humor, and charm, and wit, sweetness, kindness, and tolerance.  And the way she handled tough situations was far beyond mildly superior.

I met J on the same forum as Frank, (http://tim-thingsastheyare.blogspot.com/2013/07/replacing-old-friend.html).   It was a place of refuge, and comfort, when things got tense and a cigarette was sounding pretty tasty there would always be someone around to talk you down.

Anytime you get that many people together who only have one thing in common there is going to be some tension.  Also, people who have recently quit smoking can be a little irritable anyway, needless to say there were flare ups, and a little animosity at times.  And sometimes people got a little mean.

  Imagine a forest, dry, crackling tinder everywhere, a hot wind blowing from the south.  Soon, one wrong word strikes an exposed nerve, and there is a spark.  See how quickly the flames spread from tree to tree?  It is a terrible, horrifying conflagration, swirling winds are carrying sparks, and there seems to be no hope. Just when the monstrous thing is about to erupt and engulf everything in it's path, you hear a voice, filled with hope.

"Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane."  No, it's J riding a wave of good will and cheerfulness, coming to smother the anger, and hurt feelings.  It was an amazing thing to see., here comes this Canadian woman, with some indescribable, mild superpowers, who pours a mixture of honey, caramel and whipped cream all over the anger and the hurt, turning an explosive, lethal situation into a delicious chocolate sundae, then you have seen J, working her magic.

For many who recently quit dreams about smoking are pervasive, and disturbing.  Discussing those dreams on the forum was risky, and best avoided.  One time this poor soul made the mistake of mentioning a smoking dream at the wrong moment, and several ex-smokers turned angry, and things were looking bleak.  On cue, in flies J, to tell the story about how shortly after quitting she had this realistic dream about smoking, and how happy it made her, she could smoke all she wanted without ever lighting up.  Every night in her dreams she could smoke away, without risk, or cost.  It was a masterful ploy, and it brought a tear to many an eye.  It didn't turn into the summer of love after that, but nobody could argue with her logic.  And peace returned to the kingdom.

So, here's to you J.  I raise a Moosehead and a shot of Canadian Club to your health.  Maybe, if you have a free afternoon you could take care of the troubles in the Middle East, I am sure you will still be home in time for dinner.