Try Chewing Tobacco

Completed: 14. Try Chewing Tobacco

I’ve smoked a total of two puffs of cigarettes during my life. I am a testament to the effectiveness of anti-tobacco ads that aired during my formative years. Because I know tobacco is bad for your health and addictive, I wasn’t very experimental with the product as a teen, so I’ve decided that at 33, now is the time to try chewing tobacco for the first time.

Kris bought me a can of Copenhagen and gave me instructions on how and what to do with it. Put it in your lip. As he was explaining this to me, he was trying to think of the word that people use to describe the amount they put in their mouth. I blurted out, “a tiddlywink?” Which is a word that makes me laugh when I think about a southern gentlemen using it to describe this measurement. “No.” Kris then remembers,”It’s called a pinch.” He went on, “Don’t swallow it or you’ll get sick.”

It was minty and hot. It was like having jalapeno-flavored dirt in my mouth. Plus, knowing that I shouldn’t swallow made my hyper-aware about swallowing. After a few minutes, I really worried that at any moment my body, deprived of the ability to perform a basic reflex for a long 90 seconds, would do so without my control. I could see the EMTs taking me to the emergency room to get my stomach pumped. “What did you consume?” the doctor would ask. “A tiddlywink of chewing tobacco,” I would have to admit with tears in my eyes and burn in my lip. Because I was worried about my hypothetical hospital trip, I ran to the bathroom and spit it out, then maniacally brushed/flossed my teeth.

AND SWALLOWED.

Kris warned me that I would feel a little light-headed while chewing it, which I did experience.

So, no more chewing tobacco for me. I’ll stick to my coffee addiction.

-Lyssa

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