On May 21st, 2009, we flew back to Colorado for my nephew’s graduation. It was a full flight and we were split up with my son and wife sitting about 10 rows ahead of me. I was stuck in a middle seat. To my left and in the aisle seat was a big guy, probably 6’6” and 250+. We start talking and long story short, he lives in Colorado and was out in Virginia seeing a Doctor, a specialist. After a bit, he tells me he has cancer. I ask what type and he tells me tongue, mouth and throat and its far along that they are not optimistic. He then proceeds to pull out his can of choice, Skoal Long Cut Wintergreen (my brand). He says, it’s because of this stuff. Right then and there the hairs on my neck stand up. He puts the can on the tray table and proceeds to put in a fatty, basically squeezing a full can in his lower and upper lip. The sick thing is, my lip starts tingling, my mind starts racing and I want to bum a dip from the guy. I tell him that I chew, he looks at me, straight into my eyes and says stop, stop right now. About an hour later, he spits out his dip and pulls out a foot long sandwich with massive amount of onions (basically, the whole cabin reeked of onions after he was done). He eats the sandwich and says “man there is nothing like a dip after a sandwich with a ton of onions, my taste buds are dead and onions are the only thing I can really taste and they enhance the flavor of the chew.” He opens the can, finishes what was left, opens another for more and falls asleep with a dip in his mouth, his mouth open and snoring. I smelled his breath mixed with onions, wintergreen, tobacco and possibly rotting flesh for the remaining 2 hours of the flight. We never spoke again. When we landed and were deplaning, I wished him good luck and he just looked at me and grunted.
I believe things happen for a reason and I believe this guy was my Grim Reaper, my Freddy Krueger.
That was the day I decided to quit, but did I quit, oh no, of course not. Had tried in the past, but never succeeded for more than 2 weeks. But that guy, a passing stranger, gave me nightmares for the rest of 2009. Basically every night, I would think of him, I would get up in the middle of the night and stare at my self in the mirror, stretching my lips and tongue looking for signs.
January 1, 2010, I decide to quit. Who was I kidding; I made these resolutions many times in the past and failed. This time, however, Freddy Krueger was residing in my dreams. So, after a night of web surfing, staring at mouth cancer photos, and trying to scare myself to quit (this never worked in the past either) I came across a link to KTC on some web site, somewhere. I clicked the link and started reading. Here were a bunch of guys that were in the same position as I was. I read the success stories, HOF speeches, the posts. I knew I found my salvation. I made the decision to give my word to my KTC brothers and quit on February 16th, 2010.
I have been quit for 101 days as of writing my HOF. I quit for myself, my wife and my son. The Grim Reaper has left my dreams. I do think of him often and pray his life is without anguish. I never got his name.
Thank you to all my KTC brothers and Administrators.
I promise to stay quit today.