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The man who killed himself

Two cigarettes

There once was a man. He started smoking cigarettes at 17 years of age. At first, he was just seeking some cheap thrill. But it made him feel liberated, and he decided to smoke more of them.

Before he knew it, he was buying a packet of cigarettes every week. But he was still young. Soon, one packet wasn’t enough.

He was becoming addicted to smoking.

At 18, he couldn’t go a day without a smoke. He became dependent on cigarettes. Two packets a week became three. Three became four. Four became five.

By the time he was 19 years old, he was smoking a packet of cigarettes everyday. But he thought nothing of it. To him, it was a means to an end. The most normal thing in the world. He was loving it.

Then he got a nasty cough. His doctor told him he was smoking too much and needed to cut down. But he wouldn’t. He felt invincible. Nothing could touch him, he thought. “The cough will pass,” he said. But it didn’t.

He continued to smoke more and more. One packet a day became two. Two became three. Three became four. The cough never went away. It got worse. But he put up with it, unperturbed. He was invincible, after all.

Then he got a chest infection. His doctor told him it was the cigarettes that were causing it. But still he continued smoking. “I can deal with it,” he said. “It’s not going to kill me is it? It’s just an infection!”

Now almost 20 years old, he was smoking seven packets of cigarettes a day. But he was in his prime. Having the time of his life. He thought that if he gave up smoking, he would lose everything. Little did he know that they were killing him.

The day after his 20th birthday, his doctor diagnosed him with lung cancer. The doctor said that if he didn’t give up smoking within a month, he would be dead by next birthday. The man accused his doctor of lying and stormed off in rage. “How dare he suggest that I am killing myself,” he said.

He could not accept the fact that it was his own fault that he was dying. He blocked it out of his mind, and continued to live a life of excess. But his health deteriorated fast.

A few months later, after falling seriously ill, the man returned to his doctor. The doctor told him the cancer was now terminal. He was going to die.

“There must be something you can do!” said the man. “I’ll do anything, I don’t want to die! I’ll even give up smoking!”

From that day forward, the man worked extremely hard to give up smoking. And he succeeded. “I’ve done it! I’ve finally given up!” he said, before collapsing. In his 21st year, he was dead.

Now here we stand, at the beginning of the 21st Century. Are we going to give up?


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