Pipes and Tobacco in gereral
I've always had an interest in pipes from a very young age. I was never really interested in cigarettes or cigars. I've known
a few men who smoked pipes but I never asked too many questions. My grandfather used to smoke cigars and I remember when my
father would open his letters, (back when folks wrote analog mail on paper) you could still smell the cigar smoke. Hmm, try
bringing that much character to an email!
I finally got it together and said to myself, "What the hell are you waiting for?" Sadly both my father and
his father are long gone now, although they may not have understood anyway. However I remember telling my father that someday
I would smoke a pipe; that I really like them. I think I was about 9 or 10. So that has come to pass and now I like to fantasize
that we could have or still do, somehow, share something.
I got on-line and read. I explored the nicotine addiction aspect. I explored the cost. I decided that it was okay and
a lot of my concerns where a healthy response to a lot of misinformation and irrational anti-smoking propaganda. Now after
smoking a pipe for over a year (2005), I feel no addictive cravings whatsoever. I often go days with a pipe, smoking a few
bowls a day then just as easily stop for a few days just because it's not convenient or I'm not in the mood. A week later
I might pick it up again.
I truly believe that moderation and balance is the key (that applies to alcohol, food; a healthy life in general) and
the inhaling of cigarette smoke is an improper abuse of tobacco. There are clubs and publications telling of the joys and
camaraderie of the pipe and cigar hobbies. I have never seen anything like that for celebrating the joys of cigarettes. There
is a reason for that. I look at my pipes as a chance to relax, and meditate; the equivalent of having a beer, but too much
of anything, even a good thing, is a bad thing.
I know some people are looked down upon for smoking or for being young smokers. I have been alone and doing my own thing
for so much of my life that I don't even notice or care about people judging me anymore. I usually wear big black boots, a
black kilt and have a T-shirt that says, "Don't Judge Me Based On Your Ignorance". Frankly I'm not sure anyone
really notices the pipe after taking all that in! If I try to interact with people and I get a positive response, I stay or
go back, if it's negative I generally ignore it or take it as coming from their ignorance. I smoke a pipe more for the calming,
meditative aspect and as such I generally don't smoke in crowded public places anyway. Sometimes after sunset on a Sunday
night I might light up to relax a bit before going home (I work outside, at the beach). It also keeps my hands warm. Once
when I did that an old homeless musician that I try to help out from time to time, noticed me puffing away, "So now you're
smoking a pipe? There goes the neighborhood!" I replied, "What do you mean? I was just trying to add some class
to the joint." We both had a good chuckle at that.
For some reason cigars never appealed to me as do pipes. I've had a few and enjoyed them and I may someday buy a nice
humidor for myself to have a few on hand, but pipes offer me a whole other level of interests besides the tobacco. I enjoy
all the little steps of loading and lighting, tamping, re-lighting, etc. involved with a pipe. I also like the paraphernalia
of lighters, matches and tampers, etc. (not to mention T-shirts!) I think the pipes themselves can be amazing little works
of art. I like the connection I feel with not just all other pipe smokers but also with my ancient native american ancestors,
the original tobacconists.
In the something-different department, although I do enjoy the tobaccos I have tried so far, I've also tried blending
in some Lavender flowers, Chamomile flowers and a few teas. All of which smell great, by the way, and you don't smell like
old tobacco when you're done. Whenever I smoke a blend like this I always get positive comments from passersby, and I like
the idea that besides a nice tasting aromatic, I'm smoking an all natural product that does not have any extra chemical casings
or humidifiers. Additives are for cigarettes. I have noticed that pipe tobacco in general, does not smell like cigarettes
both during the smoke and after you're done. It also does not seem to stick to hair and clothing as much, at least that's
what I've been told.
The first pipe I bought to try out pipe smoking was a factory second (Savenelli, I believe) that was not even stained
and was in a discount basket at the shop. The guy who's been helping me stained it black and red (my colors, I told him) buffed
it up and taught me how to smoke it. I have been enjoying it since. That first night I had to buy everything, but he only
charged me for the pipe and even discounted that. Nice. I then bought a cheap corn cob to try out more aromatics with and
give #1 a rest, although I don't have time to smoke that often. My third pipe, but my first good, quality pipe. is a Paul
Perri, an American maker, and it's huge! What a sweet, gentle man. He even gave me a little discount when I got it at a pipe
show in 2004. I did not know enough to realize that it's about twice the size of my first briar. I took it home and compared
it to #1 and was like, "Oh my. Is someone feeling a little inadequate?" The bowl is a little under 3 inches deep
and over 1 inch wide at the mouth. It's about 7.5 inches long. It took 90 minutes for me to get through 3/4 of a bowl the
other night. It is beautiful, with some crazy grain that this master pipe-maker managed to make symmetrical and a strange
inverted cone shape that I like (sort of Dublin-like). It also has a little foot under the bowl that holds the whole thing
above the table. Cool. Since then I've gotten a few more pipes. Some Dunhill's (one's a XL, HT Collector Shell; he took some
shirts as a partial trade!), a Celius and a Comoy that was given to me for a birthday present. At the 2005 L.A. Pipe show
I saw Mr. Perri again and got another one of his pipes, a very large, rusticated egg. Mrs Perri ordered one of my shirts!
That's something else I've grown to really appreciate about pipe smoking. The many fine and kind people I've met.