I bought my first carton of cigarettes at an Air Force PX for one dollar almost 70 years ago. That’s 200 coffin nails at a half cent a piece. I guess that’s the type of pricing lure that pushers use on beginners.  If cigs went for $8 a pack then I would have settled for chewing gum. Before I shook the habit many years later I was inhaling 14 packs of carcinogens a week at 35 cents a pop.  I thought smoking was getting too expensive (Hah!) and my doctor had said I should quit and also get more exercise.  So I quit cold turkey and my exercise of choice was climbing the walls for about a month until the monkey hopped off my back.

Now I’m battling my ice cream dependence.  Back around 1935 you could get a double dip ice cream cone for five cents.  Nickels weren’t too difficult to come by for a cagy kid, but there was another problem – which two flavors to order and which one should go on top?  Soda jerks would wince when I walked up to their counters, especially at Howard Johnson’s which boasted 28 flavors. I was just learning to read and often asked the dippers to recite the available flavors.  One impatient guy insisted I take the mystery flavor of the day.  I think he just made that up.

Ice cream isn’t bad for one’s health if eaten moderately.  Ah, but there’s the rubber (which rhymes with blubber).  My bathroom scale tells me I’ve been overdosing and I’m worried about some ominous signs.  It was probably my imagination, but when I cut myself shaving this morning that blob on my face looked a lot like cherry vanilla.

I’ve tried to cut back. I even joined a self help group, “The Happy Losers”, but it didn’t work out. We should never have held our meetings at Friendlys.

I’ve had my ice cream quota for today and should be strong enough to hold out, but my stash is calling to me from the freezer. As I watch the Mets on TV. I can hear an alluring pistachio and strawberry duet that’s drowning out the 30,000 noisy fans at Citi Field.

Maybe I’ll try that 12-step program I’ve heard about. Come to think of it, 12 steps will just about get me to the freezer.

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