I wasn't going to be your traditional pipe smoker.
I've been a non-smoker all of my life, and then on a whim I've become obsessed with pipe smoking...
It doesn't make a lot of sense. I'm in my mid-thirties and have never smoked anything. I've never felt the need. I've always known the health risks. WTF?
It all started with the Notorious MC HO. He was in town from Ventura, Ca visiting us corporate wonks in Knoxville, TN. At the end of the third or fourth day he, madcap62 and I went to the local brewery. We sat outside, discussing various schemes for conquering the world of NT development. He and Madcap62 decided to smoke a couple cigars he had brought with him. I declined because I don't smoke.
And then it happened. One of them said "I had you figured for a pipe smoker anyway." Or something to that effect. And the concept just resonated in me. The thought seemed so absurd, so hilarious, so contrary -- I had to do it.
I couldn't sleep that night. I was slamming the net hard to learn everything that I could. I studied finishes and forms. I learned about the cult like following of the danish pipe makers. I learned about the history of pipe smoking. I scanned eBay for deals on estate pipes. I was ready. I was going to do it. It was inevitable.
That weekend I went to the drug store sheepishly to prepare for my first experiment. I needed equipment. I needed supplies. The internet is terrific for a great many things, but determining your taste in tobacco is not one of them. I had no idea what I would like or dislike, so I had to buy one of each genre of tobacco - english, aromatic, blended, ribbon cut, flake, etc.
And since this was going to be my Pepsi challenge, I needed a separate pipe for each variety of tobacco so that the flavors would not intermingle and confuse my pallette. I bought a couple Missouri Meerschaum pipes ( A.K.A. Corn Cobb Pipe - don't laugh, the ccp is quite respected for both its history and its utility. Not only is it truly american, but it does not impart any foreign taste to the tobacco like a briar pipe can ).
I headed home and proceeded to smoke my first bowl of Captain Black Golden Cavendish. It was OK. A very dry smoke. I wasn't impressed. When I had completed the smoke, I brushed my teeth and flossed. That was day one.
Day two I went after the Prince Albert Cherry-Vanilla Aromatic. Not bad. Seeming less strong, but with more tongue bite. I was warned of this on the net. The sugars that are added to aromatic blends cause the tobacco to burn at a higher temperature.
I really couldn't say which I liked more. They were both just kind of blah. I think that was when it started to set in that I wasn't going to be your traditional pipe smoker. I think most smokers do it for the nicotine. But not me. If I could find nicotine free pipe tobacco, I'd jump on it ( the closest thing I've found are the Turkish or Oriental blends, but they still have plenty ).
No, I'm in it for the nostalgia. For the esthetics. The geek in me is fascinated with the form of the pipe, the technique for blowing smoke rings, the methods of manufacture. The romantic ( yeah right ) is interested in the history, the romanticized concepts of tranquility and contemplativeness, the nostalgia for a connection to my (dead ) grandfathers, the myth of the pipe smoker. Not to mention the libertarian in me wanting to exhibit one more expression of free will and protest.
Man, it is suprising that I haven't always been a smoker.
My wife ( who thankfully is still humoring me ) says she is not too worried about me because I don't have an addicitive personality. I don't know if personality comes into play with nicotine addiction, but I will say that I'm consious that it could be a problem, and that I do have an obsessive personality ( ya think? ) that allows me to drop one obsession only to pick up another.
Any way, cut to 2 weeks later and I have a small collection of relatively rare pipes, and a nice collection of tobaccos. My biggest worry at this point is my technique. I just don't feel like I know how to properly pack a pipe. Or even how to hold the pipe in my mouth without putting tooth marks all over it. Also I need to get a nice calabash for my collection.
Vega said on 2003-12-17 06:29:42:
A fellow libertarian AND a pipe smoker! Your story sounds just like mine, although I only just started yesterday. I had been thinking about it for quite some time, since I've enjoyed cigars (rum dipped and wine flavored) for quite some time for their aroma and flavor, and had been curious about pipes for that reason. I searched on the net and did lots of reading, and resolved to buy myself a pipe and some tobacco. After my first smoke, a silky smooth, full bodied, subtly but magnificently flavored house blend from a local tobacconist, I was converted. My pipe is a cheapy $20 Savoy bent briar special with a nice partially textured finish. I look forward to collecting more and better pipes. Cheers!
Benz said on 2003-06-09 12:16:28:
So I'm being blamed in part for another Franxman obsession. I guess I still would claim to be a good influence. That makes: 1. Funky clocks 2. Tivo 3. Cigars>pipes I pity your wife. I pity your tobacconist. I pity all who the folks who stumble across this blog of obsessions. But I can't wait to see where you go with it.