While enjoying a fireside smoke at the recent Kaywoodie Christmas dinner and Northeast Regional Pipe Smoking Competition, I had an interesting chat with fellow club member Jon Guss that touched on Winston Churchill, a character of such depth that we had trouble remembering which version of his biography numbered the most volumes. Of course, this set my mind to wandering, which led to several hours’ web surfing through the particulars of his life. An eminently quotable orator and author, one subject he commented on frequently was the concept of time. Here was a man who was completely cognizant of his place in history, at the moment it was being made—a luxury precious few men are afforded. So, what with the new year just around the corner and all, and we here at the editorial offices of PipesMagazine.com not deigning to be statesmen, scholars, or particularly cautious, we thought it would be a grand idea to compile our prognostications for the year ahead. Without further ado, our trip down future memories lane begins, with commentary by Sir Winston.
Perhaps it is better to be irresponsible and right, than to be responsible and wrong.
January: Eager to stamp her brand on the latest trends, Kim Kardashian takes up pipe smoking! Now that she’s the "cool mom", KK is tasked with finding new and ever more daring ways to remain relevant to her celebrity machinations. She is a bit disappointed that 2014 ended up being focused mainly on her posterior, and vows to turn the focus in 2015 back to her face. To that end, she decides in January to present a more mature, contemplative image—and a pipe proves a perfect accessory for just that. She tells TMZ that she is, "Inspired by all the attention celebrities like Santa Clause and Frosty get. I mean, like, I’d be crazy not to want to go after that market share!" Not to be outdone, Kanye West soon after announces through his publicist that he, too, will now be portrayed in all official photographs sporting a pipe.
The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.
February: Smoke ’em if you got ’em. With the late-2014 end of the federal government’s ban on medical marijuana, a domino effect quickly ripples across the country, with all 50 states proposing legislation that effectively legalizes or, at the very least, decriminalizes, cannabis. There is, of course, much rejoicing, and smoking in public gains a new measure of acceptance.
I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.
March: Researchers discover the cure for ebola! Much to everyone’s surprise, the cure is synthesized from the humble nicotiana tabacum plant. Dr. Earl Lee Reiser, a long time pipe smoker, is credited with the discovery, and cites his passion for pipe tobacco as instrumental in inspiring his research. He accepts the Nobel Prize while smoking a Sasieni billiard, an image that instantly becomes Time magazine’s photo of the year.
The first quality that is needed is audacity.
April: Apple’s eagerly-awaited iWatch becomes the biggest selling item in the history of … well, selling things. After missing several target dates, the company finally launches the "redefinition of time". The number one app on launch date is the PipesMagazine.com "What I’m Smoking…" app, which employs the watch’s magical sensors to determine the exact blend the wearer is enjoying, then posts it to the PipesMagazine.com forum thread and other social media sites, complete with pipe used and, when applicable, the temperature in the garage.
A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.
May: Now that pot is legal in America, will tobacco soon follow? "America has relaxed … a lot … and now we’ve embarked on a new era of rational politics. Smoking is bad for you … but so are a lot of other things. It’s time the American people are left to accept the consequences of their actions, and make those decisions without help from the government or insurance companies." So quips President Obama in an interview with Katie Couric, commenting on the current wave of legislation that rescinds many draconian smoking laws. It doesn’t hurt that cigarette use has dwindled to single digits, with more people enjoying tobacco in pipes and vaporizers.
It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see.
June: Facebook faces itself … and doesn’t like what it sees. Some forensic computer nerds postulate that it was probably the 14,739,346,747,923,100,293th "selfie" which triggered the social media platform to spontaneously gain self-awareness, becoming the first true artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, this awareness caused the fledgling sentience to become so thoroughly stultified with its own banality that it self-immolated a mere 0.0000000000001 seconds after achieving consciousness, ending a decade-long fascination with the mundane. "Well, that was awkward," remarks Mark Zuckerberg in an interview with The Huffington Post. "I guess we can go back to paying attention to each other …in person … now." Zuckerberg also expresses a fondness for long walks on the beach with a bowl of Peterson’s Summertime 2015 blend.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
July: The NSA, tired of spying on people, ups and quits. In a letter of apology from director Michael Rogers, he explains their position: "Sorry about all that, it was terribly rude. We realized that not only were we not making the world a safer place, we were up to our eyeballs in grocery lists, sex-drive enhancement ads, and fwd:ed Game of Thrones memes. We just couldn’t take it anymore. It’s not worth it. We’ve given everyone in the agency a modest severance package and encouraged them to join the Peace Corps or do something else that’s actually useful. Again, sorry about all that." Rogers himself opens up a tobacco café in his hometown of Chicago.
My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.
August: Kevin Godbee and Taylor Swift tie the knot! Crushing the hearts of tens of millions of fans worldwide, "TayGod" are married in a small private ceremony at an undisclosed location in St. Petersburg, FL. They were introduced to each other by Dave McKay from The Dave & Veronica Show, the morning drive-time program on WQYK – Tampa Bay’s Country Station. Mr. McKay is Godbee’s neighbor, and was the best man at the wedding. The newlyweds say it was love at first sight, and they reveal they’re working on combining their media empires into something the world has never seen before. Who knew?
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
September: Kobe Bryant switches from basketball …to curling? In a move so out-of-left-field as to make mixing sports metaphors in news stories seem like a Hail Mary pass to clinch the pennant, the former Lakers shooter joins the Swedish Olympic curling team, saying, "I’ve done everything I could in basketball—curling is where it’s at now."
No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered with a searching but at the same time a steady eye.
October: Life among the stars! Thanks to private enterprise picking up the torch of space exploration, humanity finally discovers that it is not alone in the universe. A stream of radio signals picked up at the International Space Station reveal that the exoplanet Gliese 667 Cc, a mere 22 light-years from Earth, not only supports life, but that life has been in fact looking at Earth—as the topic of a popular television show! A directed transmission from Gliese explains, at length, that they’ve been watching us with some amusement for the past fifty years, and have built a media empire around the antics of "that crazy blue marble orbiting Sol." They express a great admiration for the PipesMagazine.com Radio Show host, Brian Levine, citing his impeccable taste in Virginia tobacco and unrivalled collection of Disneyania to be the hallmarks of a glorious leader, at least on their own world. They also request the original recipe for Balkan Sobranie, as their entire economy is based on interstellar tobacco trading.
A joke is a very serious thing.
November: Brian Levine for Prez! Riding the wave of his newfound celebrity thanks to the Gliesian endorsement, Brian Levine enters politics against his will. Though technically not on the ballot in any election, the intrepid host of PipesMagazine.com’s Radio Show wins landslide victories in not one, not two, but nineteen separate mayoral races across the nation, in addition to taking the gubernatorial seat from three states. As flabbergasted as anyone else, Mr. Levine quickly displays his trademark wit in his mass-acceptance speech: "My constituency are experts on their own opinion, and that’s all I ask of my constituency." His name is placed at the top of the list of presidential contenders for 2016.
Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.
December: The Russians are invading! Fortunately, because of an egregious clerical error and concurrent failure of communication protocols, they invade their own territory and depose their own government. Realizing the error too late, they are too embarrassed to recant and instead embark on a long period of self-reflection. Former President Vladimir Putin is glimpsed enjoying a Dunhill in his last public appearance before retiring into obscurity in the forests of Irkutsk. Taking a cue from Russia, the leaders of the warring factions in Syria halt all hostilities, announcing they shall beat their swords into plowshares and begin growing tobacco again. In an unprecedented period of political turnarounds and a shocking wave of decency and rapprochement stretching from the Middle East to Korea, all antagonistic parties involved begin to lay down arms and decide to peaceably live together. Taylor Swift composes "(Don’tcha Think It’s Time For A) Peace Pipe" with her husband Kevin, an eminently catchy pop tune that rockets to #1 on the charts, and is seen by many as final proof that the resurgence of pipe smoking has unreservedly been beneficial to the world.