This morning, I paid $7.60 for a pack of Marlboros at the local grocery store.

Ouch!

The new federal cigarette taxes went into effect today,, TRIPLING the federal tax on tobacco to $1.0066 per pack. Here in Washington State, this federal tax is on top of one of the HIGHEST state cigarette taxes in the nation, $2.025 per pack. That means that smokers here in Washington, like me, are paying $3.03 per pack in taxes.

I can't afford this anymore!

I understand why they are raising the taxes: to pay for child health care. And I'm all for that. It's also the best way to discourage smoking: taxing is always a better alternative to prohibition, which just criminalizes addiction (As a nicotine addict myself, I know that, were it made illegal, I'd end up in jail, because making something illegal won't stop me from getting my fix).

But raising the prices through taxation will.

Which brings me to my dilemma: I simply can't afford to smoke any more. My income is so limited that it's simply no longer possible. I've been scrambling for months to support my nicotine habit, and I've barely kept on top of things. But I'm clearly not going to be able to do that any more.

So I have two choices: Quit, or start stealing to support my habit. (And I know myself very well -- I *will* steal if I am jonesing bad enough.)

I don't want to quit. I really don't. I love smoking. I love it more than life itself, because I'm willing to keep doing something that will kill me.

But it seems that the choice is being taken out of my hands.

I'm going to have to quit. And I'm terrified, because I know what happens to me when I haven't had my nicotine fix. It's worse than heroin.

So. If I am going to quit, I am going to need help. Desperately.

I've been most successful quitting in the past with nicotine patches. But right now,
I can't afford nicotine patches. And unlike cigarettes, I can't just walk up to someone on the street and ask to bum a nicotine patch, the way I can for a cigarette. And unlike cigarettes, nicotine patches aren't sold in individual packs the way cigarettes are. I have to buy a whole box of patches at a time, and these cost around $20-$30 apiece. *sigh*

So here's what I need: I need someone to help me buy nicotine patches. Yes, I know, I'm annoying about bumming cigarette money. But this time, I'm asking for help for a good cause.

If you want to help me quit smoking, please donate!



2008.12.01 Where's George? dollar bill
I intentionally blurred out the serial number and series on the scan so that no one could use this image to create false trackings of the bill on the site. It has happened!
Yesterday, while buying a pack of cigarettes at the Rite Aid Pharmacy in downtown Bellingham, I received this bill in change.

It's a "Where's George?" bill! I haven't seen one of these in a while. I logged into my WheresGeorge.com account and entered it. Turns out, it got stamped in Lynnwood, Washington, back in August -- just like me, it had migrated from Lynnwoood to Bellingham!

Here's the tracking report for the bill:
http://www.wheresgeorge.com/report.php?key=4b449fdba80eda78b0e09e007cbe9b20ae1608da01e24d5b"

Back around the turn of the Millennium, I used to play this game obsessively. I'd mark all of my money with a stamp, enter the serial numbers into WheresGeorge.com, and then turn the money loose into the wild. Very, very OCD. (I used to have money back then, when I was working as a corporate manager for Morris Communications, during those heady Dot.Com gold rush days.)

I actually had some bills turn up in some wild places, like Puerto Rico, Belize, and Iraq. I had a bill used in a police drug purchase. I even had two bills that I got in change from a gay sex club in Augusta, Georgia (yes, I indicated this on the tracking report -- and [livejournal.com profile] atldaddybear knows where I'm talking about!) that hit 4 times apiece!
(1, 2) Talk about gay visibility in the South.

After a couple of years, though, I got kind of burned out on Where's George? It was cool and all to see where my money went after I spent it, but it was a lot of work (and, as I said, very, very OCD), and so I stopped completely by the time I started school at WWU. Other priorities, you know.

But on those rare occasions when I come across a WG bill in the wild... I log back on to the site and track it!
I got a letter from the Washington DSHS today, saying they are discontinuing my medical coverage and monthly cash benefits, effective immediately. (For some reason, I'm still getting food assistance, though).
A plea for financial help )


Let me reiterate this point: I'm asking for LOANS, not handouts. I will repay any money I receive as a result of this plea (Plus 10% interest. Seriously.)

Think of this as an investment in me, my education, and my future. Any amount will help.

Thank you.

Donate here:





To my fellow USAians:

About that stimulus check you're getting from the government this week: Enjoy it.

Because I'm not getting one.

I didn't make enough money last year to get one.

In fact, when I did my taxes for April 15th, not only did I not get a refund... I had to PAY $70 in owed taxes (money I really couldn't afford, and had to borrow to pay).

I find it really ironic -- and you don't hear about this in the media at all -- that those of us in the lowest tax bracket, those who could use the check the most, aren't getting a rebate check at all.

So I sent in my money to the IRS April 15th, and watched it vanish in a puff of smoke, into Iraq military contractors, into interest payments on debt, and into stimulus package rebate checks that are going to people who need the money less than I do.

Who's bitter? Me? No way.
.

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