I assume most people know the story of Lou Gehrig. Gehrig was the great New York Yankee first baseman, the orginal iron man. For you youngsters, he's the guy Cal Ripken caught and passed in his consecutive games played streak.
Anyway, Gehrig was as good as they got, perhaps overshadowed somewhat by his more flamboyant teammate, Babe Ruth, but Gehrig was a big reason why those Yankee teams were virtually unbeatable in the 20s and 30s. So Gehrig's career was going along just fine when he was diagnosed with (how's this for a coincidence!) Lou Gehrig's disease, otherwise known as ALS. Not only was his career in jeapardy, it was understood that he didn't have much time left to live. The Yankees held a Lou Gehrig day at the ballpark, fans piled in to hear what he had to say, many were unaware of his condition at that time, but Lou and his teammates knew. He was dying.
Lou stepped to the microphone and uttered the now famous words "today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth." If you've ever seen the film or heard his voice, you know he meant it. In other words, he wasn't telling everyone a lie, he really did, taking everything into consideration, believe his life was truly lucky at that moment.
Gary Cooper gets it wrong. He played Gehrig in the movie version of his life, and if I have my history correct, the film was made shortly after Gehrig's actual death. Understandably, Cooper is playing it like a man trying to "keep a stiff upper lip," trying to remain optimistic in the face of such adversity. He's wrong though, Gehrig understood something that Cooper could not. He understood that when life gives you Lou Gehrig's disease it can open your eyes to the reality of how wonderful this life can be.
So what does any of this have to do with me reaching my 100 days quit? Nothing, except that I do understand Gehrig. It's not the quitting tobacco that makes me realize this, I guess I was thinking of what I'd say in my "HOF speech," and me being the ironic doofus I am, I thought it might be funny to start the thing that way: "today I consider myself...blah blah blah."
The joke was on me though. I do consider myself...blah blah blah. You see, to make a long story short (too late), and to keep from taking this back too far into my past, my wife died three years ago. She had cancer, not related to anything she did in her life, it was just one of those things. Needless to say it had quite an effect on me and my two children (both pre-teens, my son has Down's Syndrome). I could go on with more, but that's why people sometimes look at me and only see the tragedy.
Not me though, I've spent most of these last three years clawing my way out of a hole, back among the living. I've made several changes in my life, one of the most important being, of course, quitting tobacco. It took me longer than it should have to do it, and I will never forget that this is a journey of a lifetime, not one that ever ends, but when I stopped using 100+ days ago I knew there was no way I'd ever go back. How could I? Today, I consider myself the luckiest idiot former tobacco user on the face of the Earth. I can't fully explain why, maybe some of you reading this will understand, maybe some of you won't. I can tell you it feels great to be me today. I don't necessarily recommend getting to this point the way I did (I doubt Gehrig would recommend his way either), but I do recommend getting here.