My name is Dewlaps and I am a recovering online tabloid gossip addict.
It’s been over two months since I last looked at my three tabloid gossip web sites. (Note that I am still using the possessive “my”.) The three sites I used to look at every day. Multiple times a day. To make sure that I was caught up on who was screwing who, what they were wearing while they were doing it and who was watching. Making sure that I stayed on top of breaking news, like when Mel Gibson yelled anti-semitic slurs at a cop while he was being arrested for a DUI. Or Britney Spears forgot to wear underwear while pumping her gas.
Kicking this gossip habit was one of my New Year’s resolutions posted on my blog on December 31, 2008. It took me half of 2009 to kick it but I really didn’t try until I was on vacation over the summer and realized that it had been a few days since I had checked the sites because I was too busy living life. And I haven’t looked back since. I wonder if People.com, PerezHilton.com and TMZ.com noticed a drop in their site visits over the summer.
I don’t really have an addictive personality but I have learned from past experience that the best way for me to quit anything (potato chips, gummy worms, mindless internet surfing etc.) is cold turkey. One day, just stop and don’t look back.
That’s how I quit smoking. I was never a big smoker, only a social one, until my first marriage started falling apart. Then I became one. I never smoked in front of my kids but I would sneak out onto the back patio to smoke while they were playing inside or watching TV. I would also wake up in the morning, take the kids to school, then come home and go for a 3-4 mile run. When I was finished, I would pour myself a big cup of coffee and sit out back and smoke. That’s kind of gross.
In December, it will be almost 6 years since I quit. It was a year and a half after my first husband and I separated. And I was about one month into my new relationship with the guy who would become my current husband. I already knew that he hated the fact that I smoked. His mother had been diagnosed with lung cancer years prior and she had been a heavy smoker. I knew that if I wanted to be with him, which I did, I would have to quit. And I had been thinking of doing it as a New Year’s resolution. But a few weeks before the New Year, I got sick, with a kidney infection, and ended up in the hospital for 4 days. I felt so awful in the few days before I was admitted that I hadn’t been smoking. So by the time I got out of the hospital, it had been a week without a cigarette. The hard part was over and I just decided to stop then.
I had one or two after that. But they didn’t taste right. And I felt tremendous guilt. And now, when I see and smell someone smoking, I feel a little disgusted. Kind of how I feel when I think about my old tabloid web sites. And I’ve even taken my no-gossip resolution a step further. The old me would allow myself to purchase tabloid magazines when I went on a trip. I don’t do that now either. I just make sure I pack all of The New Yorkers I haven’t read yet plus a few new books. It just makes me feel better. Kind of like carpooling, recycling or riding my bike to the library. Or not drinking sake anymore. (Sake hangovers are the worst, plus the calorie and carb counts are extremely high.)
Now if I could just spend less time on the Public Records web site. Do I really need to know which of my neighbors hasn’t paid their property tax or has defaulted on their mortgages? But I’m not ready to give that one up yet. If I ever become a private investigator, that knowledge will come in handy.
P.S. Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of Life’s Dewlaps. 72 posts in one year. I hope I haven’t offended, shocked, alienated or just plain pissed anyone off too much. Thanks for being a part of it.