Thursday, March 19, 2009

On Smoking

I am a smoker. I understand that's not the most popular thing
these days, but there you have it. I smoked my first cigarette when I
was about 12 years old. That was way back in 1982 or so. If you do
the math, that means I've been smoking about 27 years or so. Kind of
scary when you put numbers to it :p

When I was in college, I stopped smoking store bought cigarettes,
and started rolling my own smokes. This was about 1990-1991. So,
I've been rolling my own smoke for almost 20 years. I have been a
steady client of a company called Natural American Spirit. The offer
a variety of tobaccos, including 100% Organically grown, and 100% US
grown tobaccos.

To be completely honest, I probably originally switched because I
was a bit of a crusty-love liberal in college, and NAS has the
association with western indian tribes, including the always cool
Thunderbird logo. However, after switching, it's become quite a
favorite. While I may be addicted to tobacco, I'm addicted to good
tobacco. I enjoy smoking a pure tobacco, that doesn't have any of the
extra crap added in.

It's actually kind of funny if you stop and think about it. I've
become a bit of a cigarette snob. I enjoy my hand-rolled cigarettes,
and look down with a bit of disdain on store bought smokes. Mostly, I
think it's because of hte smell associated with cigarettes. My
home-rolls, while definitely smelling like tobacco, don't have the
acrid smell associated with manufactured cigarettes. I've often had
people who can't stand the smell of a manufactured cigarette, tell me
that they like the smell of my smokes.

While I hold no illusion that smoking is anything other than bad
for you, I've clung to the hope that my hand-rolled smokes, being of
natural tobacco and cotton fiber rolling papers(Rizla Blue by choice)
is not nearly as bad for me. I don't know if that's an enabling
attitude that I've used to justify smoking, or maybe an actual fact.
I'll leave the final decision to someone smarter than myself.

Things have changed now though. While I still enjoy smoking as
much as I ever did, I have other factors to consider now. I've
stepped outside to smoke for years now, out of consideration for my
better half, who doesn't smoke. She tolerated me smoking inside the
house for a long while, because the tobqacco I use doesn't leave an
acrid smell. However, I started stepping outside several years ago,
the first time she got pregnant. Now that I have children, I still
step outside, but I'm beginning to worry about the image I might
present to my little ones. My oldest is pushing 3 years old now, and
I don't want her to grow up thinking that cigarette smoking is
something she should try.

I've smoked cigars and pipes off and on down through years, and
have accumulated a modest pipe collection during that time. I've been
thinking of trying to switch to smoking only a pipe. I don't know
why, but that seems a better option in my mind. Not for any health
reasons, as I'd still be smoking the same type of tobacco, but for
image reasons. In my head, I can imagine my oldest, several years
down the road, wanting to try a cigarette from a peer, because she's
seen me smoking, so it can't be all that bad. However, if her images
of me smoking all revolve around a pipe, I don't think it conveys the
same image. It seems to me, and I may be wholly wrong in this, but it
seems that smoking a pipe is something that's looked on fondly by
people as something their elders do. Not something you'd want to try,
and certainly not something young people do. I'm thinking that
perhaps if my children only see me smoking a pipe, they will be less
inclined to try smoking when they get older.

I guess that makes me somewhat of a hypocrite, but aren't all
parents to some extent?

I'm going to explore my options. I've always favored small pipes,
that don't hold more than say 15-20 minutes worth of a smoke. I've
got several that are the big hour+ smoke bowls, but have never been a
huge fan of those. I'll ahve to see what I can find available out
there. I've actually always been a fan of the small, clay pipes.
used to be that I could pick them up for a couple of bucks at the pipe
shop, and when it broke, as it inevitably would due to my rouch
handling, just pick up another for a couple of more. It seems that
for some reason, the small clay pipes have fallen out of favor amongst
the pipe-smoking community though. I find very few clay pipes in the
shop anymore, and the ones that I do find, are larger, and the
manufacturers seem to be very pruod of them, judging by the price-tags
hanging on them.

Ah well, something to investigate. If anyone knows of a source
for inexpensive($5 or less) small, clay pipes, please let me know, as
I'd love to have a source for them. I don't know if my attempt to
switch to pipes will be successful or not, but I'm gearing up now for
a switch in the next few weeks. Maybe Easterish. The end of Lent
might be a good time for the switch, as I'll be able to partake of the
things I've given up, so giving up a habit for a different one might
be a little bit easier.

I'd better run, Oh-Dark-Thirty comes early tomorrow....


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