The first Peanuts
television special, A Charlie Brown
Christmas, had been on TV the previous Christmas and that made me even more
of a fan of the strip. I couldn’t get enough of Charlie Brown and company.
My phone rang fairly late one evening
during the summer of 2000. I was in bed, but my son was still up. On the
phone was a nurse from the nursing home in Vevay, Indiana. My mother
was staying there recuperating from knee surgery — her left knee. She
had her right one replaced a year earlier.
September 22, 2013, around seven o’clock in the morning, I smoked my last Pall
Mall cigarette. It was the last one in my pack and the last one I ever intended
to inhale and exhale. I was going to give up tobacco for good.
Walking home, I remembered being in a decent mood before I
entered the store and now I felt pissed off. I’m in that damn Walgreens
at least three times a week spending plenty of money. Why the hell
would a cashier try to squeeze a little bit more out of me? And what
business is it of hers if I want to drink Diet Coke? If I wanted to
drink a gallon of Tide detergent, that’s my business and not hers.