The Pope's a "Quitter" and So Are You

Pope Benedict XVI is a “quitter.” He officially “resigns” at the end of the month, but “resign” is just a fancy, or “highfalutin” word for “quit.”Despite the historical significance of a Pope “giving up,” one could easily forgive an eighty-five year old man for “quitting” a demanding job like being the Pope.

There are times when it is good to “quit” or to “resign” or to “retire”  - which is simply another word for quitting because you’re old and don’t want to have to figure out the DVR in order to watch “The Price is Right.”Maybe you’re a football player and you worry about sub-concussive trauma. Maybe you’re a lawyer who’d rather teach art to high schoolers. Go ahead “quit” – you’ll be better off.

“Quitting” is also a good thing if you smoke, drink to excess or do lots of drugs. Unlike a job, one doesn’t “resign” to “quit” things, one “resolves” to “quit” them. Back in the day quite a few people (okay, two that I remember) wondered when I “quit” smoking. The truth was I never “quit,” because I never started smoking. “Quitting” smoking for me would be like quitting the papacy, or my baseball career - these are all things I’ve never done, and are thus easy to “quit.”

When one tenders a “resignation” (in other words “quits” fancily), one does not expect the old job to come running to get you back. When one “quits” a bad habit, the bad habit is always there waiting to come back into your life. “Just one drag of a cigarette.” “Just one drink.” “Just one French fry.”

Perhaps we should tender a letter of resignation to our bad habits, just to make it official: Dear Cigarettes, I have decided that it is in the best interest of my long-term health to sever our relationship, etc. Would that make “quitting” any easier?

When you think about it “quit” is the easy way to stop doing something. It’s really a “giving up” or not putting more energy into the thing you are “quitting.” I try to go for a walk every day – yet, it would be easy to “quit” this habit. A bad habit, on the other hand requires a good deal of effort to “quit” so there must be another word that addresses the difficulty of “quitting.” “Abstain” comes to mind, but then that leads to “abstinence” which means it’s always on your mind.

Perhaps one could “combat” smoking. Or “punch” smoking.

Eh, I give up. I mean “quit.”

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