Everything. Living. Smoking.

In my case, most of my bad habits are connected with the only way I know to make a living. In order to keep reading and writing, I need the junky energy that scotch can provide, and the intense short-term concentration that nicotine can help supply. To be crouched over a book or a keyboard, with these conditions of mingled reverie and alertness, is my highest happiness. (Upon having visited the doctor, Jean-Paul Sartre was offered the following alternative: Give up cigarettes and carry on into a quiet old age and a normal death, or keep smoking and have his toes cut off. Then his feet. Then his legs. Assessing his prospects, Sartre told Simone de Beauvoir he “wanted to think it over.” He actually did retire his gaspers, but only briefly. Later that year, asked to name the most important thing in his life, he replied, “Everything. Living. Smoking.”

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