Ten years ago this month, my brother, my best friend, and I were walking on the beach with a pack of cigarettes. Though I had dabbled in the habit since I was 13, it was that night that I learned what it meant to inhale, and thus the jokes about Bill Clinton’s marijuana history. I wandered down the beach, heavily nicotine buzzed, and I looked at my brother and asked for another. That summer, one pack, a bottle of vodka, and four people were too much for us to finish. We would be coughing our lungs up the next day.
July 2009 — I am now, as the medical profession would say, a “ten pack year smoker” — that is, on average, one pack a day for ten years.