NEW TIMES Describe your agony in one sentence.
NILSON I feel like I lost my best friend.
NEW TIMES How long were you a smoker?
NILSON Twelve years. I'm not young anymore, so it's not cute or funny to smoke.
NEW TIMES Which methods have you used to try and quit?
NILSON I've done everything short of hypnotherapy. I've tried the patch, counseling. I've tried cold turkey a thousand times. Now I'm just doing Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, Haribo Gummi Cokes, and sheer will power. I have some Gummi Cokes in my purse right now.
NEW TIMES Do you believe that smoking is a product of never losing your oral fixation as a child?
NILSON No. I never had a binky or sucked my thumb. I had the same as any other kid. I had a blankie and a bear, but none ever went in my mouth.
NEW TIMES How much do you smoke, and why?
NILSON I always smoke a lot when I drive. If I’m drinking, I’ll smoke a pack and some change. It depends on how I’m feeling. On a normal day, maybe five to 10. Or, if you’re hanging out with your smoker friends, you smoke. It’s terrible because over the course of my life of smoking, I’ve started two or three people smoking and feel really guilty.
NEW TIMES It’s a break from the world, the same as having a cup of coffee.
NILSON Oh, and they go so well together! Now I’m having fantasies about coffee and cigarettes … but there is a multiplicity of pleasures in life that are far less dangerous.
NEW TIMES Will you rap about smoking?
NILSON Chillin out/ Relaxin’/Smokin’ a cig … no. I don’t rap. Unless I’m drunk and Heya is on.
NEW TIMES Do you feel healthier?
NILSON I can barely tell because I’m so aggravated.
NEW TIMES Who is your favorite famous smoker?
NILSON Gilles Deleuze. Happy birthday, Deleuze!