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Ukiah-Tobacco takes series against me, 2-0 – The Ukiah Daily Journal

In a life full of exciting adventures and exhilarating escapades, nicotine has only been involved in two cases.

Both tobacco-related encounters were also thrilling and exciting, but with an added nauseating element. And most memorable because of my first experience.

Sixty-two years ago, my older brother, at that point in his career working as a bat boy for the Cleveland Indians, came home from work late one afternoon with half a bag of beechnut chewing tobacco, just like the big leaguers use.

You bet I eagerly tried it! And I loved every second of that experience, which lasted about ten seconds.

The long version is that I ended up swallowing a pint of tobacco juice with saliva, most of which I deposited in, or at least near, the bathroom toilet. Short version: Hella was sick for the rest of that afternoon and well after dinner, which I happily skipped. The euphemism “hella sick” does little to describe my robust, non-stop vomiting for a surprisingly long time.

My stomach turned and my ears perked up. I threw up from my toenails to my teeth, and went from crying to praying to promising that I would never swallow raw tobacco forever. (And honestly, it was a promise that was easy to keep. I’ve even wondered about the people who say it is so very harrrd quit smoking; I think this is the easiest thing I’ve ever done.)

But that was sixty years ago, and my thick wad of chewing tobacco gave me a lifelong vaccine against nicotine. I am immune to the seductive advertising of tobacco and I feel comfortable in smoke-filled bars. Most of my roommates, many of my girlfriends, and all of my wives smoked, so what? Some wore plaid underwear, and who cares?

And yet I wonder. Why are so many people determined to smoke cigarettes despite the health warnings, the ever-increasing price of a pack and the public’s distaste for anyone inhaling dried vegetable fumes? What’s so great about nicotine?

My sister says that if the world were to end in a week, the first thing she would do would be buy a pack of cigarettes. A friend who lives in Mendocino has tried every drug (and it’s a long list) known to Earthlings and says her favorite by far is tobacco.

Nicotine therefore seems intriguing and mysterious. Have you heard of the hottest craze since Cap’n Crunch cereal? It’s ZYN, a new, devious nicotine delivery system that hopes to rake in money before Democrats A) ban it and B) figure out what it is. Chuck Schumer has already promised to make it illegal, but still tax it; AOC and Tucker Carlson are avid ZYNsters.

ZYN arrives from Sweden in white plastic Skoal-style containers in flavors like peppermint, cocoa gum and more that appeal to kids. I am waiting for new flavors such as applesauce, peas and strained banana to come onto the market and carry the Gerber quality mark.

Remembering my previous tobacco vomit fest, I decided to dip a timid toe into the world of ZYN. I bought a slice of the stuff at a gas station (where else?) and chose what I hoped was an acceptable wintergreen with subtle notes of oak, vanilla, and fentanyl. And I chose the mildest dosage, 3 mg, which is recommended by the FDA for toddlers through preschool.

Each tiny cushion-like pellet is inserted between the upper gum and lip and remains in place for an hour. I stuck the little white plug in place and checked the time (1:46 p.m.). And there we go!

And that was really as far as we could go. A few minutes later, feeling vaguely sick and a little nauseous, I spit the warm, saliva-soaked pellet into my hand and threw it. I checked a pulse, home to my Timex, and saw that I had been gone for four minutes before succumbing to my nicotine wienie hypochondria.

Four measly minutes. What a loser. It was my paranoia from an experience when JFK was president that upset me.

I half expected to write about my heart, wild tap dancing on my ribs, hallucinations looking forward to 28 days in rehab. But that just wasn’t the case. My previous encounter with Big Tobacco sapped my will, drained my courage, and made me sad myself. “Why am I even doing this?”

It was slightly difficult. If I reported much further, Tucker Carlson and AOC might get mad at me.

I have another 29 pellets and can dip a few in one at a time to see what happens. If you don’t hear anything anymore, it means ZYN killed me. Tell Chuck Schumer.

Dog, wife and I drove to the Atlantic coast to spend a few days walking the beaches, eating boiled seagull sandwiches and worrying sick about the fate of the Palace Hotel. TWK once got carsick about 60 years ago and begged to stay home.