Many of my life’s fondest memories includes the use of smokeless tobacco since it was such an integral part of my life for a little over a decade. I remember one time when my younger brother wanted me to give him a ride somewhere and me demanding he take a dip of my Copenhagen as payment for my time and trouble. In addition, I insisted he keep the pinch of tobacco in his mouth for the duration of the presumed short outing. Isn’t that what big brothers are for? I also recall deciding to stop at a carwash, on the way to wherever, to prolong my brother’s first dipping experience. If I remember correctly, and I’m pretty sure that I do, my young passenger got sick while I was washing my car, but luckily I had chosen the self serve option, so we were both outside of the vehicle when the vomiting began. After my car was spotless my brother no longer felt like going anywhere except back home to recuperate. Good Times.
The most memorable time I ever had involving snuff was also the longest I was forced to endure a single pinch of tobacco between my cheek and gum. Immediately after arriving at the hospital, when my wife was in labor, I placed a fresh dip of Copenhagen in my mouth. Eight hours later we had a beautiful baby boy, and I was finally able to leave my wife’s side, for just a moment, to rid myself of the now bland substance. I then immediately, of course, put in a fresh pinch of tobacco and all was well. My most unique experience with the stuff was my most desperate experience as well, and it was obvious proof of my addiction to smokeless tobacco. When I was a young adult I needed my two bottom wisdom teeth removed, so after the procedure the lower half of my mouth was tightly packed with gauze. This presented me with a major problem, of how I would be able to enjoy a dip, while in this predicament.
I summoned my ingenuity and placed a pinch between my upper lip and gum for the first time in my life. The novel idea was definitely outlandish, but it did the trick, and I learned that day I had another option for storing tobacco. The newly discovered technique came in handy whenever my lower gums were too irritated, from so much dipping, to put in a pinch of tobacco the proper way. I did hear somewhere that every can of smokeless tobacco (Copenhagen at least) has chards of glass mixed in; therefore, allowing the tobacco’s nicotine to enter a dipper’s bloodstream more rapidly, through the numerous miniature cuts produced in the lip, and enabling the user to become addicted to their product much faster. I tend to believe that theory because there does seem to be minuscule pieces of something shiny in Copenhagen, when examining the substance closely, and it does appear to glisten like glass in the sunlight.
I no longer have to worry, whether Copenhagen contain chards of glass or not, because I ended my love affair with smokeless tobacco over 23 years ago. I no longer have to be concerned with the financial burden of a nicotine addiction either. The price of a can of tobacco had risen to $1.29, when I ultimately stopped dipping, and I recently noticed my favorite brand of snuff is now selling for about $5.00 a can. I’m so thankful I’m no longer a slave to that stuff. I needed 3 pieces of Nicorette gum, and some tears, to quit my 10 year tobacco addiction. My determination and willpower could only take me so far, until I was at my wit’s end, and then I needed a piece of the Nicorette gum to regain my sanity. The tingling sensation and hint of nicotine in the special gum was sufficient enough, to extinguish my tremendous craving, at least for awhile. The withdraw from the addictive substance was overwhelming and almost unbearable; hence, the tears.
My mother-in-law was certainly thrilled when I finally gave up dipping. She had boldly suggested I quit, even as far back as when her daughter and I were only dating, by giving me some information on the perils of smokeless tobacco. The pamphlets included several photos of young men who had lost portions of their faces, due to mouth cancer, caused by dipping tobacco. At that time the pamphlets weren’t enough to “scare me straight,” so I continued using. I also persisted in superstitiously purchasing only the Copenhagen cans marked with the warning label, “May cause birth defects” instead of the ones stating, “May cause cancer.” What ultimately did motivate me to end my decade long addiction to snuff was my son. One day, while looking at my toddler, I realized I had the responsibility of doing everything in my power to be there for him, during his formative years, and that meant giving up tobacco. The thought of a pinch of tobacco between my cheek and gum, after all these years, is still enticing, but I no longer feel invincible, and I know the consequences can be deadly. I can only hope there’s Copenhagen in Heaven.