Austerity Now!

Being self-employed is challenging. Then again, so is being employed and come to think of it, being unemployed is assuredly demanding, but in not quite the same way. It seems most of what we face in life is difficult.

My chosen profession as a Realtor® creates ebbs and flows of highs and lows. Peaks and valleys in business bring the accompanying peaks and valleys in discretionary funds and the time has come to reign in spending like Greece, but without the rioting and social unrest.

I’ve had to expend significant capital of late on the business itself, which has brought about the need for constrained spending. It’s not my first austerity package, and I have developed a keen eye for wasteful expenditures.  In the past, johnnie_walker_black_label_scotch_whisky_4397004_i0easy reductions were found by eliminating Mr. Walker’s amber restorative for example, which while delightful to consume, comes in at a whopping $145 a gallon and probably gives one cancer. No, this time the cuts will require more creativity, and perhaps more sacrifice. As I opened my cabinet this morning for my ritualistic caffeine pill and nicotine gum, I had to reach deep into the box, for there was only one strip of cool-mint flavored drugs left.

I started chewing nicotine gum several years ago after reading that it was a powerful fat burner, and that unlike other fat burners, one didn’t adapt to it making it less effective over time. I started very slowly being quite wary of its sordid reputation, but the more research I read the more I was convinced that not only was nicotine good for fat burning, it was a cognitive enhancer and a powerful appetite suppressant, and that its dangerous reputation was guilt by association with the cancer causing cigarette smoke nicotine is so closely affiliated with.  Soon, my 2MG dose in the morning became a 4MG dose, followed quickly by another 4MG’s before heading to the gym. Then a 4MG piece after breakfast, perhaps one while going for a long drive. One in the early evening while walking the dog was pleasant, and sometimes, even late into the evening if I was feeling hungry but didn’t want to add to the day’s caloric indulgence, I’d sneak another 4MG piece of the apparently addictive substance.

Now I have proudly proclaimed many times, and I’m sure the boast can be found on this blog somewhere, that I don’t have an addictive personality and can stop doing anything at will. My résumé features what can be considered almost insurmountable addictions that I have waylaid effortlessly, including cigarettes, coffee, alcohol and chocolate. I once went 30 days with no Cool Whip. While I don’t wish to relinquish the stinging, peppery burning in my cheeks, the price tag is too steep, especially at the high volumes I’ve been consuming. A box of 170 pieces looks like an endless supply when first opened, with row upon row of yellow rectangles, sealed in absurdly difficult to open, multi-layered foil packets. I tear off the box top exposing the armada of drugs knowing that I can make them last if I want to, and feeling the power of restraint run through me. Yet somehow, as if time itself has been compressed, I find myself staring down at the last lonely ribbon of warriors. I decided today that a replacement box was not in the offing, and exercising tremendous willpower, I reduced their number by only one. Just 4MG of nicotine for today, December 19, 2016, but in only 7.5 hours, I will allow myself 4 more.

I tend to rip the bandage off quickly when a decision is made, but this time it felt different. Had I gone on with my usual unfettered chewing I’d be completely out in two to three days, and this being Christmas and all, it felt wrong to cause myself such abrupt sorrow. Instead, I will milk this last batch of nicotine with small teases of what once was, until the last foil wrapper is discarded, and I have to avoid the aisle at Wal*Mart that houses their replacements. May the strong winds of capitalism fill my sails soon, for until then, I will be tossed about by the whims of the seas.

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