10 Things We Deal With As Pipe Smokers…

The following thoughts are taken from an article I read recently, written by E Roberts (contributor at Pipes Magazine) who was mulling over the particular challenges facing the modern day pipe smoker.  I liked it, so I thought you might too!

Here are his Top 10 ‘bugbears’…

cartoon pipesmoker

1 – Getting lumped in with cigarette smokers. We’re here for the enjoyment, relaxation and flavour, thank you very much. The ever-tightening noose around our personal liberty is a cannon aimed at cigarette smokers, which unfortunately targets us proximally – the classic ‘collateral damage’. Increased taxation, unfair social segregation, and outright stigmatisation of smoking have pushed this once noble hobby to a practically underground status from which it is only now beginning to recover. Thank goodness for the old guard keeping the smoking lamp lit, and tally-ho to the new wave of pipe smokers resurrecting the passion for pipes. Which leads us to the trouble of…

leo dicaprio piping

2 – Being branded as either an “old fart” or a “hipster”.  As a by-product of the crusades against tobacco, it’s been a couple of decades since smoking a pipe was an everyman, everyday sort of pastime. If there’s ample grey in your hair, you’re automatically perceived as a grandfatherly relic of a bygone era; conversely, if you’re young enough to have never known a world without email, then surely a pipe is just an affectation chosen to complete your stylistic presentation of self. Why there is no allowance for the epicurean pursuits in gentlemen and women of any age, nation or creed is beyond me. My knee-jerk reaction is to let this sort of broad generalisation really get my dander up, shake my fist and yell at the kids out on my lawn, but I must recall that I’m a pipeman; a calmer, gentler soul, one given to contemplation rather than revolution. Still, it makes me mad when…

cool pipe smoker

3 – People ask what kind of drugs I have in my pipe (with a knowing wink). It makes me even madder that my stock answer of, “the legal kind”, isn’t as conclusive as it used to be. Nothing against other forms of recreational inebriation—but it’s the assumption that makes an ass out of you and… well, just you. Maintaining equanimity and ever the optimist, I try to take these opportunities to educate people about the joys of a delicately aged Virginia flake or creamy Balkan blend, about the many beneficial aspects of moderate tobacco consumption, and about how to make informed decisions based on objective truths. Unfortunately, this tack is on shaky ground when trying to explain how good a Lat-bomb tastes when it smells like I’m forcibly cremating a wet sheepdog that happens to be wearing my old work boots. “No, really, it’s much milder than it smells. Lots of subtle, spicy hints and layers upon layers of complexity. Mmmmm, this is some tasty stuff; you should really try it! Hey, are you all right? Can I get you a glass of water? Are you sure you just want to lie down on the floor like that? MEDIC!” Okay, okay, so I exaggerate a bit. But so do those…

wet dog

5 – Fake coughers. You know the ones—they alight gaily from a city bus, paying no mind to the diesel spewing in their faces or the plastic sweet wrapper they’ve just tossed in the street as they step nonchalantly over a homeless person, but as soon as they see the cloud of smoke issuing from your lips they turn a practiced shade of green, fix the stink eye squarely around your solar plexus (they’ll never look you directly in the eye), and cover their snouts like they’re about to run the Fukushima Dai-ichi 100-meter dash. And cough. “Ahehk, hehk”. Wimpy little coughs that are as barbed as the disapproving scowl of a Chihuahua. If only second-hand smoke would kill them instantly, as they’ve been led to believe…. But then that would take away the challenge of…

pretend cough

6 – Trying to convince women that smelling like their grandfather is sexy. Please don’t take that as an entirely sexist statement; however, women who smoke pipes are so cool that they really don’t have to do any convincing, so it’s mainly a man’s problem. The trick here, gentlemen on the prowl, is to stick with sweet aromatic blends when out and about smoking in mixed company. A solid aromatic turns heads and puts smiles on people’s faces. If she mentions that you remind her of dear old granddad, then offer to sit her on your lap and tell her a story in your suavest Hugh Hefner voice. Just be careful not to be…

lady holding nose

7 – Burning holes in your clothes. I know, I know; here I am arguing in favor of the elegance and refinement of pipe smokers, and I have to fess up to one of our (quite literally) dirty little secrets. But really, it’s practically impossible to prevent the occasional stray ember from popping out and landing on your new silk tie, space-age polyester and spandex blend thermal base layer, or technical performance cycling shorts. Good old 100% cotton is your best defence, the thicker the better. And forget it if you burn the lady sitting on your lap; there’s really no advice I can offer you for that, other than running as fast as you can. The only thing more difficult is…

burn holes

8 – Trying to explain the conditions of PAD and TAD to the missus. It’s time the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders added these two entries to their next edition, if only so we in the pipe community can have some leverage in our next domestic dispute. To anyone so afflicted, Pipe and Tobacco Acquisition Disorders are serious plights. Who among us has not had their sleep precluded due to the visions of vintage Dunhills dancing in their heads? Who among us has not had to engage in some “creative accountancy” to explain away the mortgage payment missed in favour of buying out the entire last shipment of Penzance? In an age when all our personal responsibilities have been coerced, cajoled or otherwise legislated away from us, why should we too not share in the satisfaction that these are disorders before which we are powerless? Why wonder, when I’m still trying to figure out the logistics of…

tobacco warehouse

9 – Living longer than non-smokers. “Death rates for current pipe smokers were little if at all higher than for non-smokers, even with men smoking 10 pipefuls per day and with men who had smoked pipes for more than 30 years… Pipe smokers who inhale live as long as non smokers and pipe smokers that don’t inhale live longer than non-smokers.” Granted, that’s from the 1964 Surgeon General’s report, before everyone in America realised that the tobacco companies weren’t playing fair and decided to crucify them for the next century and ban smoking everywhere. Ultimately it means we just have to put up with the ‘antis’ longer than they have to put up with us. But that’s still not nearly as bad as…

old ps2

10 – Middleton’s Cherry Blend. Good god, how can I explain this one away? I try to be fair, always looking on the bright side of the leaf for the silver lining. This stuff is a crime, though, a crime against humanity. I don’t care that it’s still one of the top-selling tobaccos of the last hundred years; its hellfire and brimstone in a pouch, and is probably responsible for more attrition from the ranks of pipe smokers than cancer, the cigar boom and Sherlock Holmes switching to the patch combined. Strange days indeed.

middletons cherry blend

Yes, these are the things I wonder about when left to my own devices, in between reviewing tobacco blends for PipesMagazine.com. But why wonder? Be big like the ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree—a pipe smoker is what I want to be.

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5 Responses to 10 Things We Deal With As Pipe Smokers…

  1. avatar Steven H says:

    I must say that the great camaraderie and support between pipe smokers is sufficient reason for continuing the hobby as much as anything else. We are a pretty tolerant, sensible and reasonable bunch when it comes to people’s likes and interests. If only the same could be said of some others. I, for one, have thoroughly enjoyed my pipe for over twenty years now and, short of being thrown in jail for it, will continue for as long as my fingers can fill a pipe bowl. Keep up the good work, EAC!

  2. avatar C-Dub says:

    As a 29 year old pipe smoker of several years, I find the first 3 ring especially true in my life. I desire nothing more than to remove my glove in a gentlemanly manner and slap the hell out of every halfwit that asks me what kind of drugs are in my pipe or why I’m trying to be cool.

  3. avatar Steve Horsfall says:

    I like no. 9 – I didn’t know that!

  4. avatar john shone says:

    I find that people find pipe smoke pleasant,and are complimentary I am converting one or two to the pipe,must be te careys ready rubbed !

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