Friday, December 14, 2012

The way of the pipe

Pipe smoking is different that smoking a cigarette or cigar.  I don't smoke cigarettes, I used to long long ago, but I do smoke a cigar occasionally.  I love smoking a cigar.  They are especially wonderful with a nice espresso or maybe a Scotch.  But there is something that is unique about a pipe... I call it the way of the pipe.

With a pipe you cannot rush.  The tobacco needs to be laid out and dried just the right amount.  Maybe ten minutes in the warm sun, maybe a couple of hours on a table in the smoking room, or maybe overnight if its really moist.  You can't just throw it in the bowl, but it must be packed carefully, in stages.  You don't just puff and puff away, (unless you want to burn the crap out of your tongue), but you sip, and tamp, and relight.  There is this tactile, sensual enjoyment that requires the rest of the world to drift away for a little while.  And then, when you are done... you aren't done.  You must clean the pipe, and put it away carefully.  It is a wonderful ritual that cannot be concluded by smashing something into an ashtray.

Pipes also, smell wonderful.  Even the smelliest pipe tobacco is a bit more pleasant to most people that a cigar or that chemical smelling cigarette.  But if you get a nice aromatic, with hints of vanilla, or chocolate, or even gingerbread... well compliments abound.

They are conversation starters.  How many times do I have people come up to me and say... you know my dad, uncle, grandpa used to smoke a pipe. Off we go talking about fond memories, which is a wonderful way to start an acquaintance.

And lastly... a cigar is a cigar.  Granted some men like big cigars, others smaller, some like darker maduros and others lighter, but from an aesthetic point of view, a cigar is a cigar.  But a pipe gives its owner a chance at self expression.  Your pipe announces to the world something about you. 
The way of the pipe, its slow in a fast paced world.  It gives room for creative expression.  It is reminiscent of old, warm memories.  The way of the pipe is perhaps coming back, I sure hope so...

and not just for sales sake. 

“A pipe is the fountain of contemplation, the source of pleasure, the companion of the wise; and the man who smokes, thinks like a philosopher and acts like a Samaritan.”
-Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

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