THE PLANK OCTOBER 22, 2007
Over on what is undoubtedly one of the more peculiar (though highly entertaining) celebrity blogs going, Stephen Fry offers another of his infrequent and very-nearly-interminable "blessays," this time on the subject of his own addictive personality. He has this to say, for example, about his long romance with tobacco:
Imagine that one day someone hit himself lightly on the head with a parsnip. Instead of stopping (for this is a foolish thing to do) he carried on doing it. When he eventually did stop he went about his business but discovered, much to his surprise, that he had a sudden unconquerable urge to hit himself lightly on the head with a parsnip all over again. So he did. And the more he did it, the more he needed to do it. The act of doing it gave him a tiny surge of joy, a little rush of pleasure that had to be elicited, never mind what a twazzock he looked, parsnipping himself on the head all day.
Smoking is no less stupid than that. In fact it is a whole bicycle-shed more stupid, because it's smelly, unsociable, carcinogenic etc etc etc. But the principle is the same: smoking has absolutely no point other than to stop the misery of not smoking. Smokers claim that it aids concentration, soothes the nerves and so on, but we know really that it only does those things because it's tobacco addiction that messes with concentration and jangles the nerves in the first place. Tapping your head lightly with a parsnip would aid concentration too if not doing it made you all jumpy and desperate.
For comparable reminiscences on Fry's past relations with sweets, cocaine, and other irresistibles, read the whole thing here.