Tag Archives: Vaping

The Verizon Karen Sucks (and something about repairing your phone)

So there we were waiting in line at the Verizon store immediately in front of some pregnant lady who was bitching on the phone to someone about her plight.

“I have an online order and I have to wait in line? What kind of shit is that? I’m thirty-two weeks pregnant and I have to stand here in this heat? Even if I have an online order? Yes, yes it’s bullshit? Total bullshit. Uh uh. Exactly. Yes, yes I might call and make a complaint about this…”

And while I was sitting cross-legged on the pavement I glanced up at my wife and took a massive pull from my vape. She met my eyes and we exchanged mutual looks. “Really?” We both asked without words. “Is this type of person really behind us?” A few subtle eye rolls, frowns, and glances up at the sky both communicated that we were on the same page here; we had a Karen behind us and we were both miserable because of it.

I said to my wife, “Wow, I wish I had my phone right now. I have some really good inspiration for a blog post. Lot’s of good ideas going on in my mind right now.” She smiled, knowing I have a blog called Everything Sucks where I bitch about random facets of life. She knew exactly what my “inspiration” was all about while Karen had no idea I was shitting all over her.

My Goddamn Phone…

This all has quite a backstory starting years ago. I’m cheap as fuck. I love to make things last. I’m a DIYer at heart. I like fixing things. I love learning new things. And one of the most difficult and cost-effective ways to utilize these traits is with cell phones. These bad boys, totally new, can run you near $1,000 (especially if you’re one of those Apple fanbois) and to me it’s imperative that you do all you can do to make them last as long as possible. Take care of them and repair them. To me, the longer you can make a shitty, old phone last the longer you can postpone buying a really expensive new one, and the more money you can save. Every month with an old phone is a month you don’t have to pay for a new one.

One of the first things that wear out with phones is the battery, and this is simply due to the chemistry and physics of how lithium-ion batteries work. Years ago you could actually buy and replace a phone’s battery, but now most phones have a permanent internal battery that you can’t easily access. This naturally limits your phone’s life to a few years at most before it doesn’t hold jack-shit for charge. The first fact of owning an old phone is the battery degradation and you must face that fact eventually.

So to breathe some new life into my old Samsung S7 I set about changing the battery a few months ago. I had to remove the back glass cover and tear a bunch of internal components out to get to it, but holy fuck, I did it. I was successful. I changed the S7’s internal battery giving my 2.5 year old phone a new life. Sure I busted the rear glass in the process, but it worked and I was proud of myself and proud of my new-found phone-fixing abilities.

Hell, I even replaced the cracked rear glass cover a month ago which was surprisingly easy. I was getting good at this whole phone repair business.

A few weeks ago at work I busted the front screen of my phone. I don’t even know how it happened either. I put my phone into my pocket, went up into the airplane, and started pushing cans around to unload it. When we had some downtime I took my phone out and the screen was cracked. How the hell did that happen? I had no idea. Anyways, since I had such major success changing my phone’s battery and rear panel, I started to think about how difficult it would be to change the busted front glass screen as well. Amazon had replacement glasses for only $15, so I bought one and set about replacing it.

You can find a lot of useful information on the Amazon reviews of a product, and the glass replacement was no different. Strangely, most of the reviews said something like, “DO NOT TRY THIS REPAIR ON YOUR OWN, YOU WILL BREAK YOUR PHONE! This is a repair that should only be undertaken by those who know what their doing!” Yeah, whatever, who gives a shit. I’m a pro: I know what I’m doing.

So, Friday. I’m sure you can see where this story is going. I finally attempted to change my phone’s busted glass screen and totally fucked it up and bricked my phone in the process. Apparently (and like the Amazon reviews warned) the screen digitizer — the thing that actually is your phone screen — is placed like right upon the glass cover. I didn’t really realize this so totally pried the screen — along with the very important digitizer — up from the rest of the phone, cutting and tearing the hardware ribbon that connected it to the rest of the phone. I turned the phone on and there was nothing on the whatever-grey-thing that’s underneath the digitizer.

Ooops…

And Onto Verizon…

It was about 3:30 p.m. on Friday when all of this went down and I needed to have a phone. I use the damn thing so much for work and leisure and stocks and writing that I couldn’t possibly go without one. A quick Google search said our local Verizon store closed at 5 p.m. meaning we’d have to get the fuck out of the house quickly to get a new phone. You know, before the weekend. Before everything was closed. Before I’d be out of a phone for three days wondering what the hell to do with my hands in the meantime.

The Verizon store had a line outside of it (thanks to COVID) about 5 people long. I didn’t know how long this would take, but we had 40 minutes before the store closed. Everyone in the line seemed cool, patiently waiting their turn to go shop or pick up their internet orders or whatever. I sat on the pavement cross-legged and tried to look like a peaceful and wise Buddhist monk as we all fucking waited to be served.

Then Karen showed up. She walked right to the door of the store — right past the 6 or 7 of people clearly waiting in line — and tried to open the door. It was locked and she seemed pissed. I wasn’t paying much attention at the time because she was just some pregnant women trying to shop at Verizon and wasn’t a total Karen yet, but she soon made her name known. Some employee came out and talked to her, and she said something about her internet order that she needed to pick up, and was directed to the back of the line, right behind my wife and I. She promptly called someone and started bitching about the entire situation and how terrible and bullshit it was for her. As stated before, here was a thirty-two week pregnant lady who had to stand outside of a store for her internet order, and why couldn’t they just service her first? Because she was thirty-two weeks pregnant and hot and miserable and everything. And hell, her two-year old was sitting in the car with it running because she needed AC and she didn’t have AC because she had to stand outside the store waiting. It was total bullshit to her — some massive offense against her and her trials and struggles of being pregnant — and the company should be ashamed of itself.

Look, I try to be understandable to anyone and the shit they’re going through, but the instant someone seems entitled to something, any sympathy I have instantly disappears. Like, poof, gone, fuck you. Yes, I know being pregnant in June probably isn’t comfortable at all, but with all the bitching and appearing like you’re some fucking queen that needs to be catered to, please kindly fuck off.

I also have a zero patience for anyone bitching about problems that they caused themselves. It’s like if I woke up hungover and complained about it; well, I think maybe I had something to do with my misery so why bitch about it? Or my goddamn phone: yes, I tore it apart and fucked it up, but I wasn’t complaining about it like it was some random chance event that happened to me. A tree didn’t fall on my phone and break it. God had nothing to do with it. It was my fault so how could I bitch about it? But this lady was totally complaining that her toddler was in the car with the AC going wasting her gas? For fuck sake, take her out, shut the car off, and let her wait in line with you! Or her bitching about being thirty two weeks pregnant? Once again, I think she might’ve had something to do with getting pregnant (unless she’s Mother Mary #2), so bitching about it seems so…pointless, I guess? Like fuck, Verizon didn’t get you pregnant, and maybe you should’ve known that getting knocked-up in fall/winter of 2019 would mean that you’d be in your final trimester in the fucking hot and humid months of June/July/August. It should be known and accepted. And COVID? Fuck, we’re all waiting in line and no one is happy about it, but what else are we supposed to do? We’re all in the same goddamn boat waiting in line outside of Verizon on a hot and humid day and only she seemed like it was some affront to her humanity or her condition or something.

Not that I was in a good mood myself either. Everything in my life was going wrong. Any step I took to fix something somehow backfired. Hence the phone. I tried to save money by fixing it, and ended up breaking the fuck out of it because I didn’t know what I was doing. We had just gotten our car back from the dealership only to have it fuck up again on the way to work. Nothing was going right, and all I wanted was something to go right. I was at Verizon to fix a problem I had caused for myself and the entire trip was like some insult to my ability to actually fix my phone and have something actually work out. I’d soon be out about $600 because I fucked up. I needed some goddamn positivity and had about zero patience to deal with anything negative, especially some random lady bitching about her life behind me in the line. I was waiting for her to say something to us — anything — and was ready to blurt out a blatantly honest, “Look, I have enough bad shit going on in my life right now and I don’t need anymore negativity. Sorry.”

Eventually after about ten or fifteen minutes Verizon got their shit together, talked to her, found her order, and hauled it out to her. She kinda acted nice, said “thank you,” and waddled her thirty-two week pregnant ass back to her car, running with the AC on, with her two-year old desperately trying to undo her carseat’s belts and fasteners. I felt kinda bad for the kids — the two-year-old and the unborn one — because she seemed like a total bitch of a mom. Like one that will fuck their kids up in some unrepairable way in the next few decades. Hell, the kids might even end up just like their mom; another couple of Karens to haunt Gen A or Gen B kids (or whatever comes after Gen Z) as they wait outside stores during a pandemic. The cycle repeats, something about the Wheel Weaves and the Wheel Wills or something. I don’t know. 

Everyone glanced at everyone else in line, all kinda silently agreeing that “Wow, glad that bitch is gone. Geez.” and there seemed to be a thin form of comradery as we all waited in line and finally got rid of our Karen. Then everyone went back to their phones, conversations, and I continued to sit and vape, trying to play the part of the enlightened Buddhist monk outside Verizon on a Friday. Accepting of the universe and taking each moment as it came and went.

Streak Day #24 Sucks (and some stuff about the damn virus)

While the federal government has been dragging their feet regarding any coronavirus response until recently, state governors have jumped in trying to pick up the slack and keep their states safe. While out governor here in Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, doesn’t get much recognition compared to others like New York governor Andrew Cuomo, he’s been locking our state down with zero fucks given. A week ago he closed down restaurants and bars which wasn’t a big deal for me personally — I never go out to eat anyways — and now he’s issued some “stay at home” order. I don’t know the details because once again, I usually stay at home anyways.

Our work crew has a Group Me chat that allows us to share work-related information outside of clunky group text messages. This order, once announced, immediately caused certain panicky coworkers on Group Me to start asking if this affected us at UPS. There was some phrase in the stay home order exempting “essential workers”, but was UPS “essential?”

Fuck yeah we’re essential and this was made clear immediately. UPS, as is often explained to us peons, delivers “essential life-saving medicine and other medical devices” or something of that sort. Nevermind most of what we seem to ship is Amazon packages with who knows what contained within. But still, this made me appreciate my job slightly; I was now an “essential employee” tasked with keeping my tiny section of the economy moving, doing the dirty and dangerous work of providing goods to the people who need them. I felt a warm fuzzy feeling knowing I was A HERO even if I know it’s total bullshit.

So for me, life won’t change much at least until I contract the virus. The wheels of UPS will keep turning.

Low-tier Facebook meme, but it’s applicable.

Two days ago we were offered double shifting opportunities at work. I wrote a post about it here: overtime after five hours of work ($30 an hour for me!), endless boredom, and it’s not like I have anything better to do with my time. It’s too good of an opportunity to turn down. While a few days ago I was worried about losing my job, apparently the universe has decided to smile on me and offer me even more hours at work. Thanks to the paranoid people on the night shift that I’m assuming are calling in and causing UPS to be short on workers. In a crisis such as this I might as well try to make money.

I’m curious as to what force of law Pritzker has behind his stay home order. Somehow I don’t think cops will be stopping every single person driving on the road asking for proof that they’re going to work or the store; I’m thinking the order mostly relies on people blindly following what they’re told. Not that I’m going to blatantly ignore it, but I would like to take advantage of everyone being holded up and maybe enjoy a bike ride or two. Even if I do stay locked in my house all the time (and bitch about it) now that I’m told I have to stay home I don’t want to. Maybe I just hate authority telling me what to do. This is America, damnit!

I think this is due to me being of a “chaotic good” alignment. I really don’t give a shit about what the law says as long as I can do some good in the world. One idea I’ve had to simultaneously shit on the law and help people in crisis was to maybe make runs to the store for medicine (like OTC stuff) and deliver it to people that need it. Even the person with an average severity of coronavirus likely needs acetaminophen and cough medicine.

Not that I’ll ever do that: I can’t talk to people. I can’t network. I’ve bitched about my inability to network here on WordPress and this is no different. In fact it’s worse. I want to help in some chaotic good way but there isn’t any way to help.

Another random idea I’ve had to chaotically help in this crisis is to sell vape juice online. I’ve mentioned here I’ve started to make my own and have enough supplies to make about 30 bottles of the stuff. And if all “non-essential” shops are closed, I’m assuming this also includes vape shops. What are the vapers going to do once they run out of juice? It’ll be a crisis all on it’s own. What if I could “do some good” by selling homemade vape juice online to people in time of need? It sounds stupid as hell, but it is a valid service and the little capitalist in my head sees an opportunity to both become filthy rich and provide an actual service, even if it isn’t a “high-minded” service as other things.

I’m really thinking about doing this too. Order some more flavors and nicotine and go to town. Make a Facebook business page for “Jeremy’s Juicy Juice” or some other shitty sounding name like that. My only problem (besides the questionable legality of selling nicotine on Facebook, once again chaotic good here) is my lack of bottles to put the stuff in. I’ve been using bottles of store bought stuff to hold the homemade once they’re empty. Maybe I could source bottles from my vaping friends? Buy ketchup bottles and use those? Order a supply of bottles? But I don’t want inventory that won’t be used if this plan doesn’t work at all. I have no idea.

Smoking Sucks/Vaping is Awesome

Now that I got that unintended long introduction out of the way about how I ended up vaping in the first place, I want to explain why it’s fucking awesome for someone totally addicted to nicotine. There are just so many reasons that make it more appealing than cigarettes. In fact the only downside I see to vaping is the slight and minor inconvenience of charging the damn things. I suppose you don’t have to charge a cigarette to smoke it?

Instagram Pics

Vaping and it’s ability to “chuck fat clouds” is wonderful for your Instagram pics. I’m serious. You can blow these beautiful clouds in strange lighting conditions, filter the hell out of them, and you’re left with a masterpiece of artistic photography.

View this post on Instagram

ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space

A post shared by Jeremy Jordan (@jjwritestuff) on

The Smell and Taste

Cigarettes are fucking disgusting. Even though I smoked for about five years, I never did not find them disgusting. The smoke smells terrible. The smell lingers on anything it touches. My parents smoke and all I have to do is walk into their homes for a few minutes and I’ll leave reeking of cigarette smoke. They don’t even have to be smoking; it’s that prevalent in the atmosphere of their homes!

As for vaping? It smells great. This is slightly complicated though given the nearly endless varieties of vape juice flavoring. I’m sure some smell awful (and I’ve always found the fact that they have tobacco-flavored vape juice to be really strange) but with vapes you have options. You can find some fruity pineapple grapefruit flavored juice, or some coffee-flavored juices, whatever the hell you want you can find.

The Convenience

Smoking during the past twenty years has totally been shit on by society in general. Here in Illinois a law was passed banning smoking in workplaces; you couldn’t even smoke at a restaurant or a bar after that. This was great though; eating food in a smoke-filled restaurant was fucking awful. Even if there were separate sections for smoking, the smoke always diffused throughout the entire place. And after that? Laws and statutes banning smoking in hospital parking lots, in cars with children, and other various inconvenient minor things.

This makes having a cigarette a pain in your ass. If you’re at work you need to go outdoors, usually to a designated smoking area, sometimes off property, that might be far away from your work area. It might be cold out, or rainy, or whatever.

Not that vaping is clear-cut to do everywhere legally. It does fall into the category of ‘nicotine usage’ but it isn’t really smoking either. In fact I don’t know what the Illinois law even says in clear legal language. [SEE NOTE BELOW!] But my workplace lumps vaping in with smoking; you need to go to a smoking area to vape. No vaping while working! But the fun fact about vaping is that it’s very easy to hide. Smaller vapes can fit in the palm of your hand and don’t emit much vapor; I find myself totally disregarding the rules at work and vape wherever and whenever the hell I want. There is no stinky smell of burning plant material to out you and no open flame to create a legitimate safety hazard around fuel or other flammable materials. There is no constant plume of smoke giving your location away. Basically, even if vaping is lumped in with smoking, it’s stupidly easy to hide. You can easily vape in stores, restaurants, work places, and anywhere else without anyone noticing or really giving a damn. Just don’t be totally obnoxious about it that is.

[NOTE: I looked up the language of the “Smoke Free Illinois Act” and in the “definition” section provides this:

“Smoke” or “smoking” means the carrying, smoking, burning, inhaling, or exhaling of any kind of lighted pipe, cigar, cigarette, hookah, weed, herbs, or any other lighted smoking equipment. “Smoke” or “smoking” does not include smoking that is associated with a native recognized religious ceremony, ritual, or activity by American Indians that is in accordance with the federal American Indian Religious Freedom Act, 42 U.S.C. 1996 and 1996a.

Note that this doesn’t say anything about vaporizers. In short, at least in Illinois (your state laws can and will be different) vaping is perfectly legal, at least under the “Smoke Free Illinois Act”. I also don’t know if there are other laws in effect. This was the Big One though; the one to ban smoking nearly everywhere in public.]

Even More Convenience

Vaping supplies last a lot longer than a pack of cigarettes do as well. A single pod and bottle of juice lasts me about two to three weeks meaning I don’t need to continually restock my nicotine supplies. Consider the pack a day smoker; sure you can buy a carton of 20 packs and this might last you 20 days, but that’s a huge expense. A pack a day smoker who doesn’t stock up must stop at a shitty gas station whenever they run out and buy another pack, usually every day. This is a total pain in the ass that vaping skips right over. For the price of two or three cartons of cigarettes you can stock up on enough vape juice to last you nearly two months. Which I suppose is a good segue into the next topic…

It’s Cheap as Fuck

Once again consider the pack a day smoker: $8 per day, $56 per week, $240 per month, and $2,920 per year. This isn’t a trivial amount of money! Smoking is ridiculously expensive, made this way by the hefty taxes on the products and by the price gouging of cigarette companies who can price gouge because you’re addicted to their product and will pay nearly anything to get the nicotine fix. This was actually the main reason I quit smoking in the first place: I’m too cheap to smoke. It’s too much money wasted. And it’s the main reason I would never get addicted to cigarettes ever again.

And now consider vaping. A bottle of juice might cost, and let’s be generous here, $30. This lasts me two weeks but your mileage may vary. Still, this breaks down to only $15 a week — about the price of two packs of cigs. This equates out to about $800 per year, a third of the cost of smoking. Once again, if you’re going to be addicted to nicotine, you’d save a ton of cash by vaping instead of smoking.

I’ve recently started to make my own vape juice. I bought nicotine, the ‘filler solution’ and some flavoring. In total this cost me $35 and some rough math tells me all of the supplies should allow me to make around 40 weeks of vape juice. For $35! This is basically nothing! You can never get the expenses down to zero unless you can somehow source your own nicotine, but still these are crazily low numbers to support a raging nicotine addiction on.

There is also the fact that you need to periodically purchase pods, and while the costs of these will add up, you’d still be nowhere near the $3,000 expense of smoking. Just a rough guess, but I’d say a yearly supply of vape pods might total around $100, or you can be a heathen and use the same pods over and over until they cease to work.

Health Reasons?

So these are bit less clear cut and I can’t find any clear medical shit to say vaping is healthier. This page right here from the John Hopkins Medical Center seems to sum up the health effects nicely. In fact most medical places seem to insist that vaping is “bad for you” but can’t give any details as to why it is; section two of the article even says this gem: “People need to understand that e-cigarettes are potentially dangerous to your health.” My emphasis on potentially dangerous — we don’t know how dangerous these things are. Really I don’t think it has been studied long enough to even have good data. To discover cigarettes caused cancer required decades of good data and vaping hasn’t been around long enough to provide this yet.

That being said vaping has had a bad rap the past year with people actually dying from it. (Part one of the link above beat this into the ground. Which is a bit dramatic and missing the point entirely.) The media ran with this hype and scared a ton of people but the real problem it seems was from people using shitty, illegally-purchased, black market pods for smoking THC. Something about a buildup of vitamin E acetate in the lungs or something. The best way to avoid dying from vaping is to not use shitty, street-bought pods or juice. I mean that makes perfect sense so it shouldn’t really be news, but here we are. And the public still doesn’t seem to know much about this fact. In short: as with any other chemical/substance, don’t vape with shit you buy off the street!

I assume vaping will be healthier than smoking because it seems logical that it should. Obviously logic doesn’t make it true, but I think it points in the correct direction. Smoking is terrible for your health and vaping would have to somehow beat it to be worse long-term. I just don’t see this happening. While it might not be good for you, it shouldn’t be nearly as dangerous as smoking.

Smoking involves inhaling burning plant material. It’s never a good idea health-wise to inhale anything that is burning. I vaguely recall hearing that cooking on a charcoal grill too freqnetly is bad as the smoke from that causes cancer. In house fires smoke is a big killer, because humans aren’t meant to inhale fucking smoke. Smoking is literally this with the burning process changing and altering the already shitty chemicals in tobacco to even more dangerous chemicals.

One thing that does seem to be bad about smoking/vaping is the nicotine. Duh. Nicotine raises your blood pressure and heart rate so if you’re inhaling it nonstop (like smokers/vapers do) you’ll probably have a consistently elevated blood pressure/heart rate which isn’t good for your cardiovascular system. Once again, if you’re going to full-send a nicotine addiction at least skip the burning carcinogenic materials and keep yourself as clean as possible. Vape juice is about as simple as it can be — nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavoring — and would appear to be miles better than cigarette smoke. Sure, it’s not as healthy as not inhaling anything into your lungs at all, but no one is perfect.

Maybe I should’ve tried to get some affiliate marketing for this post? Rake in some of that sweet Big Vape money. Oh well.

Nicotine Addiction Sucks (Naw, Not Really)

Addiction is never a good thing although I supposed being “addicted” to exercise or some other positive thing is, well, positive. But I don’t think those things are real addictions and are more like well-established habits. I’ve almost gotten to the point where I require a mug of chamomile tea before bed, but saying I’m addicted to tea is totally bullshit and missing the point of what an addiction is. I always brush before work and bed, but once again this isn’t an addiction, just a happy little habit I have that is actually good for me.

Over the past three months I’ve turned into a raging nicotine addict. I should give some back story first because I don’t think no one accidentally becomes a nicotine addict just because. They don’t do it on purpose. There’s always some driving force behind it.

I started smoking when I was around 20 and did it for about five years. I quit, and it was a terrible learning experience because nicotine is stupidly addictive. Anyone who says smoking or vaping is a habit is totally ignorant of the addictive power of chemicals, especially nicotine. Everyone is different, but the havoc nicotine withdrawal wreaked on my mood led to some of worst feelings I’ve ever had. After not having a cigarette for a few hours my mood would plummet into depression, despair, and near suicidal thoughts. I’m not embellishing this either. In one of these states about three or four hours into cold-turkeying my way to being free from nicotine, my mood was total shit. I felt like crying. I felt so hopeless and lost and “strange” that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I took a few drags from a cig and instantly, instantly, felt better. It was obviously nicotine withdrawal. It made me realize that quitting nicotine wasn’t going to be easy. It required a well-thought out plan and fortitude.

Anyways, I eventually quit. But the thing with any addiction seems to be how it lingers with you forever. Before I smoked I had zero urge to smoke, but after I quit smoking there was still some subtle urge to have another cigarette. The cravings never really went away but over time they became so small and harmless that I was able to ignore them completely. Yeah, sometimes I did want a cigarette but it wasn’t needing a cigarette. Especially when drinking or having conversations I found myself thinking that I’d really enjoy a cigarette right now. Then I’d wave the feeling away.

Until about eight months ago that was. It was about the time of this post I think: totally drunken, hungover, and constantly miserable I awoke one Monday completely filled with anxiety, dread, and fear for the upcoming work week. I was hungover, terribly so, and one thing I knew that would instantly cure my state was a cigarette. Just one. Just one to puff on for about ten minutes, get the headrush and calming effect of it, and I’d be able to deal with the day. I bought a pack on my way to work, stood outside my car, smoked, and thought about life. It was like a little meditative break for myself and it was wonderful. Over a week or so this habit — and it was a real habit at the time — was to smoke a single cigarette outside my car before work every work day. Just one damn cigarette a day to collect my thoughts before work. And it was amazing. I continued on this “plan” for about four of five months perfectly. I’d have minor cravings during the weekends but nothing that wasn’t able to be easily dealt with.

Until about November. Once again, I’m a UPS employee and the holiday season is a collective hell for anyone associated with the company. Being shifted to different crews, meeting new people, having your daily work routine utterly fucked with. As someone who loves knowing the future and having a routine this is anxiety inducing to an insane degree. Double shifting and being awake and at work hours earlier than usual. Late nights with broken planes and dealing with any and all of the bullshit UPS tosses at its workers during the holidays. Given this stressful situation it was no surprise that the one-cigarette-per-day-before-work plan eventually grew into a two-a-day plan. I was working two shifts and a cigarette before each shift was the logical and natural progression. And then this turned into a third cigarette after work to “unwind.”

Truthfully, three per day isn’t bad at all. Sure it’s not good health-wise but it’s also not as bad as smoking a pack a day. And how about the cost of it? Still not too bad. I was smoking Marlboro Reds (because as I was reasoned with, if I was only smoking one cigarette a day, why wouldn’t I smoke something pricy and enjoyable instead of shitty off-brand smokes?), which cost about $10 a pack (Yikes! Back in the day a pack was only about $5.), and three per day meant that a pack would last a little over a week. $10 a week is fucking nothing; I was spending more than that on my constant fast-food diet trying to survive the peak season to the best of my ability and this was probably worse for my health than the cigs were. Also consider the fact that all the overtime I was earning was making my checks totally fat. I was grossing over $1,000 per week, so was an extra $10 weekly expense going to hurt me? Fuck no. It was well worth the price for something to aid me through the holidays. I also attribute my nicotine plan for not blatantly descending into alcoholism during November/December which I had done the previous year.

The whole nicotine addiction really became a thing with vaping. Yes, vaping. Everyone on my crew vaped, and they still do. We’re all a bunch of fucking raging nicotine addicts on our shift, with zero hesitation or shame to the fact. I wasn’t vaping at the time but was occasionally offered to try their vapes, which I obviously did. Smooth and varied flavors, heavy-hitting nicotine content, all without the stigma and ease of not needing to go to a smoke area to get your fix.

Once again, not a problem, until one day between shifts everyone was going to the local vape store, Marco’s Vapor. You might remember this post where nearly every vehicle I had was totally fucked and I was driving an uninsured Saturn to work without an exhaust. My coworkers asked me to tag along to Marco’s, which I politely declined, until one said something like, “Okay, no peer pressure or anything, but just get the fuck in the car; you’re going.”

So I got in the car. What else did I have to do? Drive the loud, roaring Saturn to the local McDonalds, scream into the speaker, and shove shitty food in my mouth in a parking lot? At least I could hang out with some friends.

The store was a very chill and laid-back place with a very casual atmosphere. They bought their stuff over the course of twenty minutes while they asked what exactly I was going to buy. “Nothing,” I said. I prefered to not make spontaneous purchases, but my coworkers were getting new vapes and juice for only $60. Hmm. I could have my own vape, my own portable and accessible source of nicotine, and not have to worry about the relatively minor withdrawals that occured anymore. Hmm. But I knew if I bought one it would be a full-send for a second nicotine addiction; there was no way to moderate vaping. Once again, pleasant smelling, no fire or burning material, no hideous smell on your clothes that you have to hide from your family. No bulky packs of cigs or worrying about where your lighter is. No trips to shady gas stations at inopportune times. And no way to stick to a stilly “one cigarette before work” plan because how would you even measure it?

So I bought one. Yeehaw. Here we go. I also bought the strongest nicotine juice amount sold: Big Dick 50 Nic. 50 mg/ml. Heavy-hitting shit. Instant dizziness, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath after you take a hit. If you take a few hits, you get nauseous. It was almost like mild nicotine poisoning with every pull from my new vape.

And here I am two months later ripping on my vape every few minutes. It almost never leaves my right hand. I love vaping while typing. I love vaping while sitting on the couch doing nothing. I love scrolling my phone and vaping. I basically love vaping nonstop no matter what I’m doing. It’s my go-to little buddy. And I seriously have no regrets.

In a way I find a nicotine addiction oddly satisfying and comforting. I don’t get the headrushes or buzzes like I used to, but it gives me a form of comfort that is ever-present that I can always look forward to. If I have some anxiety about something, rip the vape. If I feel tired, sleepy, and miserable, hit the vape. If I’m listening to music and feeling reflective and introspective: vape. Anything that goes wrong, ruins my mood, or stresses me out, the vape is always there to comfort me. If you go long enough without having your nicotine and find yourself on-edge, such as waking up in the morning, hit the damn vape. The nicotine really kick-starts your day just like a cup of coffee. And coffee with nicotine? WOW!

I know I’m just limping off an addiction here, but I don’t really care. Nicotine is a strange drug that you can actually limp off of with no real side effects emotionally. It reminds me of coffee: you wake up and have like five cups of coffee and you’re good to go. It doesn’t ruin your mood or make you totally anxious and depressive like drinking does. And prescription medication? Opioids? Those are well-known to be the worst long-term addictions you can ever have. For some reason nicotine is pretty chill where my life can continue on nearly unaffected, and in some ways even easier, than before I was addicted. I sounds really wrong to say that I enjoy being totally and hopelessly addicted to something, but as far as I’m aware, that’s perfectly how I feel.

This post was originally supposed to be about the benefits of vaping over cigarettes, but kinda turned into a long introduction/story of my nicotine addiction itself. Oh well, next post, right?