14
Nov
07

Still smoking, and proud of it

I love smoking. There, I said it. It takes a certain amount of testicular fortitude to say this nowadays, but it’s just so liberating to say it out loud! I think I’ll say it again: I adore smoking!

To me, smoking a pipe or a cigar is one of life’s great pleasures, akin to a fine whiskey or wine, or a nice cup of coffee or tea. My fascination with the pipe goes back to my childhood, when “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” and “The Lord of the Rings” were among my favorite reading.

Whenever I fill my pipe–perhaps a Sasieni made back in the 1920’s out of briar that was 100 years old back then–with a fine matured Virginia, sit back, light up, see the ember glowing in the bowl, and taste the exquisite flavor, my mind and soul find peace. There really is nothing to compare to the taste of the Virginia, the feel of the warm briar in my hand, and the visual beauty of the finely grained wood. They all combine into one of the most satisfying sensory experiences known to man.

And yet, because I indulge in this pleasurable and completely legal activity, I am basically one step above a child molester in the eyes of the politically correct. In fact, I’m not sure that the child molesters are not held in higher esteem in those quarters.

The ridiculous extremes that the anti-smoking movement has come to is best illustrated by the case of Scott Rodrigues, an employee of the Scots company who was fired, not for smoking on company time, but simply for being a smoker. This sad story can be read here.

Of course, this should come as no surprise, as the Scotts company is run by a martinet named Jim Hagedorn. Scotts employees are urged to take exhaustive health-risk assessments. Those who refuse pay $40 a month more in premiums for their group health insurance.

Using data-mining software, company analysts scour the physical, mental, and family health histories of nearly every employee and cross-reference that information with insurance-claims data. Health coaches identify which employees are at moderate to high risk. All of them are assigned a health coach who draws up an action plan. Those who don’t comply get whacked for another $67 a month.

This is an unconscionable invasion of privacy.

Some argue that smoking drives up health care costs, and that is no doubt true. So do a lot of things. But the only ones who get fired are the smokers. Not the drinkers, not the overweight, not the reckless drivers. Just the smokers. If one is going to argue that health care costs should be the sole yardstick for social policy, then one could logically argue in favor of prohibiting any woman over the age of 40 from conceiving a child, since beyond that age the chances of having a high risk (and therefore, very costly) pregnancy increase exponentially. Clearly, no one is advocating such an odious policy, at least not yet. 28 States have passed laws prohibiting the firing of smokers just for being smokers, but sadly Massachusetts is not one of them.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find this article in the normally liberal Boston Globe. The author, Alex Beam, has a history of being a little out of step with his liberal employers, which is, of course, why I like him. I’m just amazed he’s managed to keep his job this long.

I was so impressed with this article that I have added a link to Dr. Siegal’s blog over there on the right. Just click the blue caduceus to read how one brave physician is putting his career on the line by standing up to the politically correct anti-smoking radicals.

Now, without further ado, I am going to shut off this blasted computer, fill my Sasieni Four Dot (that’s a pipe, for the uninitiated) with Dunhill Aperitif, fill a glass with Old Bushmill’s, and continue reading my Conan Doyle.

-smith

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15 Responses to “Still smoking, and proud of it”


  1. November 15, 2007 at 2:56 am

    I’m a former smoker – usually the worst kind of “smoker-hater”, but you have my sympathy. We become bogged down in the trivial and it’s hard to guess what the next point of contention will become. I wouldn’t care if someone chose to smoke crack on their free time. Why, then, would I even raise an eyebrow over a tobacco smoker. Absurdity rules.

    Hello, John!

    Thanks for stopping by. You’re right, absurdity does rule, especially on this issue.

  2. November 15, 2007 at 7:21 am

    I think (but I may be wrong) the lawmakers will settle down on all the trivial legislation bull when the “natural” disasters pick up the pace and everyone is quarantined because of the raging pandemics, food and fuel shortages, etc. Come to think of it, maybe you should be stockpiling some tobacco. It will probably be worth its weight in gold by then.

    Well, you have more faith in our legislators than I do. But you’re right about one thing: I am stockpiling tobacco against the day when tobacco is illegal and marijuana has been legalized. Hmmm, I wonder how pot would taste in a Sasieni. 8)

  3. November 15, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    “I think (but I may be wrong) the lawmakers will settle down on all the trivial legislation bull when…”

    We’ll change your pseudonym to “Lolly-Ana” 🙂

    Hey, hey, hey! Don’t you go pickin’ on my Lolly! She has political asylum on this blog! 😉

    Sadly, though, you’re probably right.

  4. 4 Spaz
    November 15, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    Hey there,
    my Grandfather is nodding his head right now saying “this Mr. Smith knows what he’s talking about”. And I never disagreed with my Grandfather.

    Your grandfather was obviously a very wise man.

    I do commend a company that offers health related services, however I don’t think it’s right to make it mandatory, worse charge for non-participation. On the flip side I do know of a European company who gave incentives for participating in their health concious programs that they offered as a pilot to reduce absentiism. Both the company and the employees were extremely happy with the results.

    Ok, fair enough.

    Bushmill’s is it? Interesting. You are right, whiskey does fit into that list of great pleasures. Learned that from a former boyfriend who trained me to distinguish whiskeys by taste only, while sitting in front of a fireplace and listening to Celtic music.

    So you like whiskey and Celtic music, do you? Damn, why are all the best women always already married? 😦

    Very nice post.

    Thank you! I try.

  5. November 15, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    Smoke ’em if you got ’em that is what I always say. Damn, anti-smoker nazi goons can kiss my ass.

    Ummm, well put. 😉

  6. November 16, 2007 at 12:19 am

    Smith said: “Sadly, though, you’re probably right.”

    HEY! HEY! HEY! etc.

    Ummmm, yeah, whatever you say. 😉

  7. November 16, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Well, I was going to respond here, but just as always, I had to get lengthy. So, I tracked my latest entry back to here. Enjoy and great post!

    Just read your post. Well done, my friend.

  8. 8 Billy (A Liberal Disabled Vet)
    November 16, 2007 at 11:12 am

    I still smoke. I began smoking at age 15. I was quickly up to two packs a day (apparently I have an addictive personality (which is one reason I don’t want to try any hard drugs, or even marijuana)). Anyway, I tried to quit, but couldn’t. So I switched to smoking a pipe (luckily, in the part of the country I was in at the time, a teenager smoking a pipe was odd, but not strange). I still smoke a pipe (my favorite is a hand-carved meerchaum (carved by a guy from Georgia I met at a forest fire) and an occasional cigar. I do not smoke in the house (my wife and kids are non-smokers). The only car I smoke in is my commuter car (the one my wife calls ‘the pigmobile’). During the winter I really slow down. But I really enjoy smoking about four or five times a week.

    As part of my job, I am fire militia. I get sent to forest fires (usually out west) where I staff roadblocks and such. I smoke heavily at fires. When I am working seventeen hours a day (or night) and sleeping in the back of an SUV or in a tent, smoking keeps me awake without the caffeine crash. I tell you all that so I can tell you this:

    Last year I was at a fire in Northern California along the Klamath River. The terrain there is steep. It is hot and, for the west, humid. There are bad inversions (smoke trapped in the valleys) and the smoke includes resins from poison oak which causes eye and throat irritation. I was at a roadblock in a town called Forks of Salmon (100 people). Visibility was down to less than 50 yards. A county sherrif pulled up. I was smoking a cigar (I was not in a government vehicle and was standing on a paved road with no combustibles within 10 feet, so I was legal). He got out of the vehicle and asked if I had had any trouble. No trouble. Then he asked how I can smoke a cigar in all this smoke. My reply? “It’s the closest I can get to fresh air around here.” He laughed.

    Anyway. It’s good to here someone who is not only willing to admit to smoking, but will tell why they like it.

    Everything in moderation.

    Always a pleasure to meet a fellow pipe smoker. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. 9 Red
    November 19, 2007 at 11:00 am

    May I stand next to you while you enjoy that pipe .. ?

    Red, you can stand next to me any time you want to. 8)

  10. November 20, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks for your post…in just a bit, I will light an Opus X in your honor…

    A high honor, indeed! Thank you.

  11. 11 Spaz
    November 20, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    Hey there,
    this day started out well and then somehow it got to be one of these days where smoking a pipe and drinking whiskey just seems to make way more sense.

    It usually does. 😉

    As the sun is getting ready to leave today I’m left feeling a little empty. Not because there’s nothing going on but because there’s too much. Up for drink?

    With you? Anytime.

  12. November 20, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    Not sure I ever told you this, but I found your site because of the pictures you posted of Gerald Ford smoking his pipe. I was looking on Google for an avatar to use for a pipe-smoking forum I had recently joined, and I found your site through the picture. Can’t believe I never told you that before.

    See? Even now Gerald Ford remains a force for goodness. 😉

    Anyway, great post. I need to check out your pipe articles. You are a true hero of mine, if maybe a small part because of your stand on smoking. Keep it strong my brother. I’m off to pack a bowl myself. I think it will be Frog Morton On The Town tonight. Yes, that sounds excellent.

    FMOTT is always a good choice! Thanks for the kind words.

  13. November 20, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    I read your Sasieni article! The whole thing! Makes me want to go garage-saling to see if I can find a rare Sasieni. To tell you the truth, after reading your article, if I came across ANY Sasieni at a garage sale, I’d have to buy it, just so I could bring it home and try to date it, per your article. I’d love to tell you that I picked up a beauty of a pre-transition Sasieni for a dollar!

    Wow. The whole thing? I’m impressed! If you do find any Sasienis, make sure you give me right of first refusal! 😉


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taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood" ~ Dr. John H. Watson ************************
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