G. L. Pease
I knew a guy whose pipes all had little grey, rectangular tags dangling from their shanks by thin white strings, each one showing the date of the last smoke, what was smoked, and a number and letter grade reflecting an overall rating of the experience. Once he’d hit upon the "right" mixture for a given pipe, it would be dedicated to that blend until either eternity’s clock stopped ticking, or the world ran out of the tobacco. There was a little notation on the hanging tags for that, too. It was a strange and almost macabre scene, like a gallery show of the tags encircling toes of the most recent unknown members of the choir invisible, having anonymously checked in at the county morgue. Something about it, too, seemed clinical and overly forensic. Dunhill LB Shell #3, laid to rest after a bowl of Stonehenge, 13 November, 2002, B+4.
The Care & Feeding of the Pipeman - by G. L. Pease
Indulge me. Take a moment to close your eyes and reflect on your earliest experience as a budding pipe smoker. It could have been months ago, years, or even decades. Imagine that first bowl in as much vivid detail as you can conjure. How does the memory compare to your current experience?
Most of us, without much effort, can recall our first pipe, our first tobacco, our first smoke. For some, it was the opening of a sensory door that would lead to a wonderful new world of taste and aroma; for others, it was like entering a chamber of horrors, a dread-filled experience that, if lucidly recalled, makes us wonder why the hell we ever again chose to wander those darkly haunted halls.
G. L. Pease
I’ve been smoking a pipe for about 30 years, now, and I’m starting to get the idea that I just don’t know how to do it. Seriously. It’s not that I can’t stuff tobacco into a bowl, get it smouldering, and even keep it going more or less until I get to the bottom, but I know there’s more to it than that, despite the choir’s sustained insistence that “it’s easy,” or that I’m “over-thinking it.” Let me ’splain.