Monday, June 26, 2006

Stabbing yourself in the face doesn't give you cancer either...

From an anonymous comment under my blog entry on trying to quit smoking on a particuarly nasty production day, which can be found here.

Smoking causes cancer.
Body Modification doesn't.

I'm left to assume that this is not only a comment on the blog entry, but a comment on a column I recently wrote on body modification, in which I said some less than flattering things about the practice. In the column I chose to connect more common forms of body modification, like piercing, with some of the more non-traditional, like chopping off your toes to varying lengths, or intentionally getting shot. And then implied that there was something a little bit nuts about all of it.

Which, you know, I still sort of agree with. In spite of the fact that, yes, body modification doesn't cause cancer. Because in and of itself, that's really not a terribly good reason to do something. There's plenty of things that don't cause cancer that you still shouldn't do. Running razor blades up and down your arms doesn't give you cancer. Shooting heroin doesn't give you cancer. Eating things like rocks or soil doesn't give you cancer. And these are all things that people do, for a variety of reasons. And yes, it's usually because they're messed up in some way.

As for my smoking, it's not without its messed up reasons, which are best described by author, humourist, and all-around smart-guy, Kurt Vonnegut.

"The public health authorities never mention the main reason many Americans have for smoking heavily, which is that smoking is a fairly sure, fairly honorable form of suicide."

There's a reason that I'm drawn back to smoking at times of great stress or great depression. It's because it allows me to feel like I'm actually participating in the act of ending my life. Just in a way that actually takes awhile to accomplish. And one in which, if I ever got my act together, and ever felt positive and successful enough for a lengthy enough period of time, I could still probably shake before it had done any sort real long term damage.

So there you have it, Mr. Anonymous: You might have been a little uncomfortable with my attempts to point fingers at your pathology, but aren't we a little bit more even now that I've poked a finger at my own?

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