Quote from Melissa Broder

Here's why I'm afraid of life after death: What...

2018-05-01

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Here's why I'm afraid of life after death: What if there is no nicotine gum?

I must have access to my nicotine gum at all times. I kiss with the gum. I sleep with the gum. Anything you can do without the gum I must do with the gum. I am chewing the gum right now.

I chew the gum, because I don’t trust the universe to fill me up on its own. I can’t count on the universe to sate my many holes: physical, emotional, spiritual. So I take matters into my own hands. I give myself little “doggy treats” for being alive. Each time I unwrap a new piece of nicotine gum and put it in my mouth (roughly every thirty minutes), I generate a sense of synthetic hope and potentiality. I am self-soothing. I am “being my own mommy.” I am saying, Here you go, my darling. I know life hurts. I know reality is itchy. But open your mouth. A fresh chance at happiness has arrived!

I’ve been chewing nicotine gum for twelve years. I haven’t had a cigarette in ten years. So you might say the gum works, except now I have a gum problem. I am so addicted to the gum that I have to order it from special “dealers” in bulk on eBay. I get gum on all the bedding. There are many reasons why I don’t think I will have children, but the necessity of getting off the gum during pregnancy is one of them. When it comes down to anything vs. the gum, I always choose the gum.

Now let me just say, before we go any further, that if you’re thinking of using nicotine gum to quit smoking you should not let my experience scare you. I am the addict’s addict. Everything I touch turns to dopamine. I can even turn people into dopamine (ask me how!).

Melissa Broder
Melissa Broder in "So Sad Today: Personal Essays"

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