Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

Getting Fitter

The Vast Expense Of Suicide


Here we go again.

I’ve made so many attempts to stop smoking over the past couple of years that it even bores me. Perhaps I can bore myself all the way to better functioning lungs.

There’s an additional pressure right now, of course. Cigarettes are so preposterously cheap in India that I’m not going to tell you what we pay for them for fear of alienating whatever cigarette smoking readership I have. Seriously though, they’re cheap. I smoke about forty a day, and money hasn’t been an effective motivator while here at all. I could stop completely and not really notice much change in my finances.

In one month’s time we relocate to the UK. If I’m smoking forty a day at that point, I will be broke in one month and one day (or maybe one month and one week, if I grab some packs to take with me). I will probably be in actual debt in two months.

No matter how much I want to, I really can’t afford to kill myself this way. Cost finally does matter.

I don’t know whether it matters enough though. It should, but cigarettes have a really powerful grip. A restless mind makes excuses to hunt them down, and promises things will be better if you have just one harmless little puff. I’ve handled other addictions reasonably well when I finally got round to doing so, alcoholism being the most notable (also goats, but we don’t like to talk about that). A mastery of smoking – or at least, a mastery of non-smoking – has eluded me.

Still, last night I did two things. Firstly, I entered The Great Scottish Run – the annual half marathon event in Glasgow. It’s in October, and having an approaching event is a good way to bear down on fitness and health. It’s not a cure though – I ran both the Delhi half marathon and the Mumbai full marathon as a heavy smoker – but it’s a point of focus.

I also had my hypothetical ‘last fag’, and stuck a nicotine patch on. It’s still there seventeen hours later, and I might get through the whole day without smoking. That would be a good start.

In light of an anticipated difficult first 24 hours, I rearranged my calendar last night in order to have next to nothing to do today. That’s meant squashing things into the rest of the week, but if this works out than it will be worth it.

On the plus side, 24 hour nicotine patches mean the return of the nicotine dreams! For the uninitiated, being drip-fed a stimulant like nicotine while you’re asleep leads to some exceptionally vivid dreams. What’s more, mine are usually narratives – they have internal logic and so on. I don’t usually remember dreams at all, so genuinely enjoy these. Last night I was spider-man, sort of. Not the Spider-man (I didn’t meet him, but knew he was out there somewhere), but a sort of learner Spidey. Leaping about, I can confirm, is easy and fun. Web spinning is difficult. The swinging is okay once you get going, but hitting what you’re aiming at is a proper nightmare. Much more difficult than it looks. There was an office block with a dragon in it too, and some very kinetic leaping about in stairwells to get away from it.

I love nicotine dreams.


Oh yes, saw Spider-man 2 yesterday, which of course explains a lot about my dreams. A great cast playing engaging characters, some stunning direction and genuinely tense action sequences… and eight sub-plots all looking for uber-plot to bind them. They searched in vain, making the whole thing rather aimless. Despite all its good bits, Thor 2 and Winter Soldier were both much better and more confident films because they remembered to have a main story worth spending a couple of hours with.

So there.

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