There are all sorts of groups and organizations dedicated to helping you quit. What they are there to help you quit isn’t really the point. The point is that you stop. Smoking, drinking, over eating, you name it. If you do it, they want you to stop. There’s probably a twelve step group for obsessive stair climbers and a support group for the pathologically needy. Generally the idea is that too much of anything is a bad thing, so if you do one thing a whole bunch you are headed down a dangerous path. And yet there are such popular platitudes as, “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again,” and, “Practice makes perfect.” These are endorsements for addiction. So which is it? I think that addiction is the secret to long life. I think not having an addiction is what does people in.
I know what you are thinking. “Thunderchunk, how can you endorse addiction. Addiction is the source of all of life’s miseries. Also, post a picture of yourself with no pants on, you heaping hunk of man, you.” First off, that’s sexual harassment, and I don’t have to take it. Second, I agree. Addiction is the source of all of life’s strife and woe, in that it is the source of all life! If not for the pretty severe addiction the human race has had to air, water, food, and sex in the past, I wouldn’t be sitting here lecturing you. What’s that? Those are natural needs, so they don’t count as addiction? Fine. Lance Armstrong is addicted to cycling. Tiger Woods is addicted to golf. We should pity these people and help them, right? I mean, after all, they have dedicated all of their free time to the crippling, habitual need to engage in these unnatural activities. Sure, they’ve gotten millions of dollars in sponsorship deals and have secured their places in history, but addiction is bad, so shame on them. Shame on those rich, famous addicts.
Clearly the secret to greatness and happiness isn’t avoiding addiction, it is choosing your addiction carefully. There isn’t a whole lot of call for someone who is freaking awesome at smoking, at least not since the death of lounge singing and vaudeville. So don’t choose smoking. Likewise, eating pizza and watching porn are pretty dime a dozen talents, so honing your craft is not the best use of your time there either. But, frankly, if you find that nothing else appeals to you, then I say, grab a pizza and flip to the blurry channel. Why? Because the human race needs addiction to be happy. The existence of born again Christianity and Scientology proves this.
Here’s the celebrity timeline: 1: Get famous, 2: Get Rich, 3: Get Hooked on Drugs, 4a: Die, 4b: Get Hooked on Religion. Religion allows you to swap out the addiction that is killing you to one that merely annoys those around you. These replacement jones’ exist for poor folks too. Drugs, alcohol, crime, and jail often leads one to another useful addition, the military. Now, there are plenty of soldiers who chose a military career for other reasons, but it turns out that discipline and duty can fill the rebellion and narcotic slots very nicely for some people. The important thing is that they stayed addicted, because people who end addictions, and don’t find replacements, die.
Evidence of the lethality of going cold turkey is everywhere. A guy works the same job for 40 years, retires in perfect health, and drops dead in a week. A married couple spend 20 years together, one dies, the other dies in a day later. In the shorter careers or addictions death may not result from the sudden stop. Fame, when it stops suddenly, usually leads the attention starved publicity addicts to explode in a big fiery ball of crazy. (See anybody that was famous in the 80’s.) I think that suicides are usually the result of people who couldn’t find something to be hooked on. If these people had a nice, healthy addiction, they would have thought, “I can’t hang myself now. Lost is on in 15 minutes!”
For my final argument, look no further than Jack LaLanne. The man is a psychotic mummy who has lived a good two decades longer than anyone has any right to. You may think that it isn’t a good example, because exercise isn’t an addiction, it is just a good habit. To that I say this. The man, when he was 70, swam 1.5 miles. Handcuffed. And shackled. To 70 boats. With people in them. This is not someone with a “good habit.” This is someone who is addicted to fitness. Obsessed with it. So much so that, pushing 93, each passing moment he wills another beat out of that shriveled up piece of beef jerky that he calls a heart driven by the thought of all of the sit ups he’s going to do tomorrow. Some of you are still not convinced. Maybe you think it is because he has such a nutritious diet that he has lived so long. The man’s nutritional rules are as follows: If a man made it, don’t eat it; If it tastes good, spit it out. By that system, dog crap is a wonder food. No. It is the addiction that is keeping people like him, George Carlin, Steven Hawking, and the entire Rolling Stones alive. So get hooked, it’s good for you.