Thursday Inspiration — Cold Turkey

The time was just past 11:00 in the morning. The month was August. The year was 1983. I was sitting at my desk in my office on the twentieth floor of a high rise office building on Broadway and 53rd in Manhattan.

I took the last cigarette out of the pack of Marlboros that was in my shirt pocket and stuck it between my lips. I crumpled up the empty cigarette pack and casually tossed it into the trash can next to my desk. I reached into my front right pants pocket, pulled out my Zippo lighter, and with my thumb, I flicked the lighter’s wheel, which ignited the flame. I held the flame up to the tip of the cigarette, and inhaled deeply, drawing smoke deep into my lungs.

Then I noticed that there was another lit cigarette, half smoked, sitting on the edge of my glass ashtray on my desk.

I knew at that instant that it was time to quit smoking. I had two cigarettes going at the same time, having started to smoke a new cigarette before having finished the one I had already been smoking.

I snuffed out the old cigarette in the ashtray, took another drag off of the cigarette I had just lit, and then snuffed it out in the ashtray. I picked up the ashtray and emptied its contents of half a dozen smoked-to-the-filter cigarettes and their ashes into the trash can. I got up, empty ashtray in hand, walked to the men’s room, where I washed out the ashtray.

I walked back to my office, set the clean ashtray on the outside corner of my desk, and put my Zippo lighter next to it.

The time was just past 11:00 in the morning. The month was August. The year was 1983. I was sitting at my desk in my office on the twentieth floor of a high rise office building on Broadway and 53rd in Manhattan. That was the moment when I quit smoking. Cold turkey. That was the last time a cigarette touched my lips. That was the last time I inhaled cigarette smoke into my lungs.


Written for Jim Adams’ Thursday Inspiration prompt, where the prompt word is “smoke” and the prompt picture is at the top of this post.

18 thoughts on “Thursday Inspiration — Cold Turkey

  1. newepicauthor April 22, 2021 / 7:53 am

    In the ’70s, I decided to quit smoking cigarettes, co I bought a pound of weed and every time I had the urge to smoke a cigarette, i lit up a joint and I never bought another pack after that. Your story sounds like it was true, but I never know for sure with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marleen April 22, 2021 / 2:32 pm

    It’s a really good story. I’d like to think it’s true… especially the part about quitting cold turkey. I like the details like cleaning out the ashtray (and really the whole story) too. My dad quit in 1973. He went to an outdoor challenge seminar up north for, I think, a few weeks. He never even flirted with a cigarette after that.

    I, however, smoked a cigar on the deck yesterday. I took the advice of a song I recently shared: “puff puff puff puff your cares away.” I’ve never smoked [anything] regularly and never will. I just wanted to break the routine of late. I’ve been under a lot of stress. (I did get a breakthrough of good news today.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. leigha66 April 26, 2021 / 9:39 pm

    When I get excessively stressed I think about smoking a cigarette… I have heard they calm nerves. But my lungs tell me they would like to stay clear. Good story!

    Liked by 1 person

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