11
Apr
08

sometimes, you just want a cigar

One of the advantages of working at a smokeshop is that I get to smoke on the job.

I don’t often show my ugly mug on this blog, but a friend recently snapped this pic of your humble scribe doing one of the things he loves most, so here you go.

I love smoking, I love tobacco, and I personally don’t give a rat’s ass who knows it. Personally I’m getting a little fed up with being vilified by society for indulging in one of life’s great pleasures, a pleasure, I would add, that is, at least for the moment, still completely legal.

The cigar, for the curious, is a “Rocky Patel”, a Honduran cigar with a Sumatra seed, Ecuadorian sun grown wrapper. To put it simply, it is an exquisite cigar

A few random thoughts on smoking here:

Many people (non-smokers, naturally) paint the pipe, cigars, and cigarettes with the same black brush. This is utter rubbish. Comparing cigars to cigarettes is like comparing McEwan’s Scotch Ale or Sam Smith’s Taddy Porter or Old Peculiar Yorkshire Ale to Bud Light.

One drinks a good stout or ale for the flavor. The idea is to taste and enjoy the subtleties and complexities of the brew. The alcohol content, while significant, is of secondary import. But let’s be honest here: no one drinks Bud Light because it tastes good. The only reason to drink this misbegotten beverage is because you want to get drunk and it does the job, quickly and efficiently.

By the same token, no one smokes cigarettes because they taste good. The only reason to smoke a cigarette is to get that six-second-lung-to-brain nicotine hit that a cigarette provides. And just as one might drink Old Peculiar or Sam Smith’s because one appreciates the exquisite flavor of these brews, so one smokes a fine cigar (or pipe tobacco, for that matter) for the flavor. The idea is to taste the tobacco, as the leaves from various subtropical countries combine to form a complex panoply of flavors which intrigue and delight the palate.

I find it astounding that the anti-smoking zealots claim to be doing this “for the children”. Ah, yes, it’s always for the children, isn’t it? Has anyone bothered to take a gander at what the “children” are getting up to these days? Teenagers are binge drinking (usually Bud Light, not Old Peculiar), driving cars after binge drinking, using hard core drugs like cocaine and heroin, indulging in unprotected sex, and posting naked pictures of themselves on the internet. I guess this is okay, because-thank God-THEY’RE SMOKE FREE KIDS!!!! Where the hell are all the public service announcements aimed at discouraging this sort of behavior that can irretrievably alter-or end-their lives in an instant?

Actually, this isn’t even true. The smokeshop where I work is within walking distance of several colleges. Out of curiosity, I recently asked one of them why he had started smoking. I pointed out to him that he was too young to have ever seen a cigarette add on TV. In fact, the only information concerning cigarettes available to him from the electronic media (which is where teens get 99% of their information) was all NEGATIVE. Since this kid was old enough to understand the English language, he has been bombarded with nothing but adds telling him not smoke. So why does he? His answer was simple and to the point: “Everyone was telling me not to do it, so that just made me more determined to try it.” Ah, from the mouths of babes….

Here in Massachusetts, our feckless governor, Deval Patrick, recently held a press conference to announce that there would be no broad-based taxes. The people of Massachusetts, he said, were already paying enough, between soaring gas prices and an already hefty tax burden (they don’t call it “Taxachusetts” for nothing, kids.) Okay, I thought to myself, I can get behind this. For once I thought I found myself agreeing with a Liberal, until I got to the last paragraph of the newspaper story. There it was revealed that Patrick intends to raise the cigarette tax by a dollar a pack. Evidently the cigarette tax does not fall into the category of “broad based tax”.

The truth, of course, is that tobacco taxes are the favorite method of politicians who are too cowardly to implement an increase in the gas tax, or alcohol tax, or any sort of tax that might actually get them booted out of office by an incensed and already overburdened electorate. Tobacco taxes are safe because they only affect a now politically impotent minority, and besides, it’s “for the children.” I find it supremely ironic that Liberal Democrats, who are supposed to be the party of compassion and the common man have no problem resorting to this most regressive of taxes when it suits their purposes.

Unlike cigarettes, cigars are not physically addictive. You don’t “Jones” for a cigar the way you do for a cigarette. This is because you don’t inhale cigars. As mentioned before, the idea is to taste the tobacco, and to this end one simply “sips” the tobacco into the mouth, lets it linger there for a moment or two, and then exhales it. While a small amount of nicotine does enter the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth, it is not in sufficient quantities to create a physical addiction. Rather, it is a gradual and relaxing process, which is why smoking a pipe or cigar is such an effective way to relax.

Which, now that I think about it, is what I need to do right now.

-Smith

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13 Responses to “sometimes, you just want a cigar”


  1. April 11, 2008 at 2:00 am

    I came across your blog on Technorati. Nice site layout. I will stop by and read more soon.

    Mike Harmon

    Thanks for stopping by!

  2. 2 Sam
    April 11, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Well spoken, Brother of the Briar. The silliness of the “it’s for the kids” crowd will one day be exposed, but to the almost death and muting of those in it’s wake I’m afraid. I for one, think I may stockpile some Rattray’s and Peterson and MacBaren and Stokebye’s while I still can. For now my living room is still my living room, and in that room I shall smoke.

    All good choices, my friend. I might also suggest you consider trying the wonderful Virginia Flakes of Gawith & Hoggarth.

    -sps

  3. April 11, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Now see I wonder.
    In Ireland, you can’t smoke indoors in public places
    or at work.
    So can someone who works in a smoke shop smoke?
    Well actually I know the answer.
    No.

    You know the world has gone crazy when one can get a free needle from a methadone clinic, but you can’t smoke in a smokeshop in Ireland! Thanks for stopping by, ZP!

    -sps

  4. 4 Sam
    April 12, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Ahh yes, I forgot about Ol’ Gowrie from Sam Gawith. I’ve never tried it but fellow’s I trust (such as yourself) keep telling me it’s one of the best Virginia’s out there. Send me a dozen tins and I’ll add it to the cellar.

    Actually, Old Gowrie is made by Rattray’s. But it’s still a great tobacco.

    -sps

  5. April 13, 2008 at 8:40 am

    I agree that sometimes, curiosity really kill the cat, but in this, human. Anyway, cigar is not good for health. It can cause cancer and you can make your family feel unhappy. I am 15 years old and I am disgusted when I know my schoolmates smoke in the toilet. If we can, we must really start to fight cigar before it starts to rot us to death.

    Hello, Arrica! Thank you for visiting my blog. While I disagree with just about everything you write here, you are certainly welcome to express your opinion.

    What I find somewhat disturbing in your comment is that, at the tender age of 15, you have already developed a mind-set that implies that you should have the right to dictate to other people how they live there lives. You don’t like tobacco, therefore no one can like tobacco. I would point out to you that tobacco is still enjoyed by millions of people, myself included. Furthermore, I would also point out that the mortality rates for cigar and pipe smokes are significantly less than the mortality rate for cigarette smokers.

    There are many things that are bad for us: alcohol, fast cars, fast food, just to name a few. Do you feel that all those things should be banned as well?

    That said, I think there are some issues you should tackle before you take on the problem of teenage cigar smoking. If you really want to help your friends, here are some other things you might work to eradicate:

    1. Teenage drinking
    2. Teenage drug use
    3. Teenage pregnancy
    4. Teenage illiteracy
    5. Teenage crime.

    While I agree that teenagers should not smoke, the truth is the foregoing list represents far greater threats to their overall well being than tobacco.

    When you’re old enough, come visit me in Boston. I’ll buy you your first cigar. πŸ˜‰

    -sps

  6. April 13, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    When I was quite young my father and I attended a BBQ for some politico and I was being quite the sport of humor having learned so well from my brothers Don Rickles records. I was roasting everyone to much glee. One senator from Massachussets was smoking a fine ciger and I turned my guns on him and asked “Did the cat look at you funny when you dug that out of the sandbox?” I thought some of the crowd were going to need a doctor!

    Yeah, I’ll bet you were the life of the party. πŸ˜‰

  7. 7 Red
    April 15, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    So is it wrong to inhale cigar smoke? When I used to smoke, I fancied cigars quite often . . . and I inhaled. Everytime. Every draw was inhaled. Because of the taste, yes .. and also because I was a cigarette smoker and that was just habit. So is it wrong?

    Well, it’s not very good for you, given the amount of tar in cigar smoke. But last time I checked it’s still a free country. For now.

    That picture, by the way, is amazingly sexy.

    Awwww, shucks, ma’am! I’ll bet you say that to all the guys with big cigars! 😈

  8. 8 Sam
    April 16, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Well Red, I can’t say it’s wrong since every person has the right to smoke, or not smoke, as they please. But yikes, the harshness must have killed you!!! Even as a cigarette smoker, your throat and stomach must have been raw.

    As for Smith being sexy, I’ll leave my feelings in that department to myself. πŸ˜‰

    That’s probably for the best. πŸ˜‰

  9. April 19, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    But I never have one when I want one.

    Cool picture. What’s that contraption in the background? A scale? How old is it? It’s beautiful.

    It’s a scale we use to weigh out pipe tobacco. It was made in 1803, and it’s twin is in the Museum of Fine Arts. Half the fun of working there is that I get to play with the scale. πŸ˜‰

    -sps

  10. April 25, 2008 at 11:37 am

    My father used to smoke a pipe on occasion and every once in a while I feel I can almost smell it. I think it was some kind of cherry tobacco. Is there a cherry tobacco? Or am I remembering incorrectly.

    It could very well have been cherry tobacco. Cherry is a very popular flavoring for pipe tobacco.

    -sps

  11. April 26, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Ooooops, must have missed to comment on this one (was sure I did at some point?).

    Anyway:

    Nice!

    Thanks!

  12. May 1, 2008 at 1:51 am

    That is exactly how I pictured you. Handsome and smoking a sweeeeeeet cigar!

    XOX Ali

    Another one who likes a man with a big cigar. I don’t know who’s worse, you or Red! πŸ˜‰

  13. May 26, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    My thanks to all who complimented me on my big cigar! 😈

    -smith


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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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