Sunday, June 26, 2011

El Tiburón

On Monday, June 20, 2011, The Costa Rican Central Bank released the new, improved, more beautiful, and less easily counterfeited, 1000 and 2000 colones bank notes. ¡Tuanis!

I did find it ironic that the government chose to depict a bull shark on the back of the 2000 colone note when they allow 100,000 sharks to be killed each month and do little if anything to curb the brutal practice of shark finning. I think this doctored image of the new bill, posted on the Facebook page of Isla del Coco, Costa Rica sums it up.

Note the, finless bleeding shark and the hand holding the severed shark fin to the left.

It's as if we've learned nothing from the United States and the once-critically-endangered bald eagle - the national bird - featured on all of it's currency and the national emblem of the United States of America. Just plain sad.

¡Pura mierda!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fumar es dañino para la salúd.

In English, "Smoking is damaging to your health." I guess I became a slave to nicotine - yes, a slave - in 1983-84 while studying architecture in Rome for a year. I had smoked the occasional cigarette in high school and college at parties and at bars, but I really didn't become a "steady" smoker until that fateful year in Rome. Italians smoke like chimneys, and asking for and sharing cigarettes was a great way to break the ice and make conversation with the ladies. I was very good at conversing with the ladies. I conversed a lot. And I got hooked on nicotine.

For years I yo-yo'd up and down with smoking as "no smoking" laws were passed in the U.S. and designated smoking areas were created for us losers. I remember one day while standing out in front of an office building in Chicago on an 11 degree day in a blizzard, smoking a cigarette with gloves on, wearing a parka, thinking to myself, "WTF am I doing out here? This is insane!" That was in 2004, and the price of cigarettes in Chicago was approaching about $5.50 a pack. Hard-core addicts were driving to Indiana where there were no "sin taxes" to pick up cartons of smokes for 2/3 the price - and to gas up for about the same! My filthy addiction began to hit me in the wallet.

What's even more perverse is the fact that, nearly all of my smoking life the worst physical shape I've ever been in has been "good shape". I've always enjoyed intense exercise. I like to feel the pain and see the gain. I love to sweat! I like to look good! I like to feel good! Yet smoking flew in the face of it all. It never made any sense and I was acutely aware of the twisted, double life I was living.

In 2005 I moved to Costa Rica. Ticos smoke like chimneys (sound familiar?). And the price of package of cigarettes was about $1.50 (it's only $2.00 now). I was still single and hung out at bars and night spots which served only to perpetuate my self-imposed slavery.

I started a business (a couple actually), fell in love with my wonderful wife. We renovated a house and moved in and made it a home. Then, we had a baby girl. She's not a baby anymore. She's a little person. And I have become hyper-conscious of every nail I put in my own coffin.

15 days ago I smoked my last cigarette. Yeah, I can hear the laughs and chuckles out there - 15 days ain't nothin'! But this time I know it will stick. Because every time I get the urge to smoke a cigarette, I look at Laila's gorgeous face and ask myself, "What would my little princess do without here Papi?". Amazing how fast the urge to smoke disappears.

¡Pura vida! And I mean it!!

P.S.: There are two Mike's out there who have been really inspirational to me in my effort to kick the habit. Thanks, guys!