Hank 22 – Abstinence

A. Miller
I’m at my daughter’s soccer practice and the sun is starting to set and the first leaves are changing color and we may or may not have just dropped a 25 pound weight on the head of a rattle snake that wandered onto the field.

I need a pipe.

But I don’t have one right now (because of public places and it not being the 60’s etc…). Why oh why do I not have a pipe?

Well, while I wait on kids running and playing, and I’m painfully aware of my tobacco-less state let’s get to your questions, perhaps berating other tobacco lovers will sate me.

Dear Hank,

It’s been about a month, and for reasons I can’t disclose without offending my better half (cough cough), I have vowed to not touch the glorious leaf for a year. A year.

I’ll say it a third time just to let it sink in. A year Hank! I can’t smoke for a year!

I have tins—worse—TONS of amazing tobacco just languishing away on the shelf for 12 months.

It’s an offense to humanity. It’s a disaster of epic proportions. I’m one month in and wondering if 12 months is a reality. Am I fooling myself? Can perique really last that long? They say that age is good for tobacco, but will my tobacco still love me if neglected entire for a year?

My pipes aren’t clean and I’m hoping they clean their [redacted] selves this year.

Oppressed and confused in a suburban house somewhere

Dear Oppressed and confused in a suburban house somewhere,

It happens to the best of us. It nearly happens to all, er…. at least 10% of us, at some point in time. I strongly suspect your non-disclosable reason would reflect the non-disclosable reason I had back in 2003. But I hate to bring us all down dwelling on the idea of smoke-free lifestyles.

Here is what you need to know:

1) Tobacco isn’t just better after a year of aging, it will literally knock your socks off once you’ve gone a year in abstinence. This comment was going to be much more inappropriate but I decided to tone it down for the kids.

2) You’re not alone, others have had to go before you in this.

3) Puppies are people too. Or at least, will still be your friend even if all your other friends leave you for greener pastures (AKA the smoking den).

4) Your boss has always been a pain in the ass, you’ve just always had better means to cope than you’ll have now. This isn’t new, you don’t need to quit, but it wont get better until nicotine fills your blood stream again either.

5) People aren’t inherently unenjoyable, there are things to like about them, it’s just that they were indeed more enjoyable when you had something to distract you from talking to them. Something, I don’t know, hanging from your mouth for example.

6) It’s totally normal to hug your pillow at night and rock yourself to sleep during difficult times. Just don’t post videos of yourself doing it to social media.

In a year you won’t smoke any tobaccos that are less than a year old. And it will be glorious. Until then, we’d dump out a bowl for you, but we packed it really well and it’s smoking fantastically. So….

Oh, and to your other questions, yes your tobacco’s love is unending, never-failing, and your pipes will clean themselves if given enough time (the same way a toilet does).

My Camoy is delightful and mocks your temporary abstinence,

Dear Hank,

When I smoke my pipe it gathers moisture and I used to use a pipe cleaner to clear this out, but have since found that if I blow back through the pipe the moisture will settle at the bottom of the bowl and give me another ten minutes of good clean smoking before repeating itself.

I’m curious, will blowing back through the pipe ruin the pipe or long-term ruin the experience?

Thanks in advance,
Javier in Corpus Christi

Dear Javier in Corpus Christi,

Pipe cleaners were invented for kids to make fancy crafts. They were never intended to be used in pipes.

Learning to smoke without a pipe cleaner is one of the best things that can happen to you. It’s sort of like learning to drink coffee black, no one really enjoys it, but if you act like you enjoy it, people assume you’re really pretty tough. Of course, you could always just smoke a cob…. (ahem). But I don’t need to go down that path every column—or do I?.

Blowing back through your pipe will likely not ruin anything. However this does bring up an interesting point. If you’re a snorkeler you might have seen the snorkels that have a valve at the bottom so you can blow back through them and remove any excess water that might have made it’s way in. I have always thought we should have these for pipes. There may need to be a warning label under the bit that says something like, “Do not hold over your white pants or leather shoes while blowing moisture out.”

But alas, if the pipes work as well as the snorkels, it may be entirely in vain (aka a marketing gimmick). But then, stingers are still a thing so….



I heard from a friend of mine that you’ve been dispersing brilliance of all kinds for years, and entirely for free. He said that you just love your pipe and are therefore happy to tell others how to enjoy it more. Frankly I think my friend is a liar. I think you’re probably financially incentivized to offer mediocre advice. But, whatever the case, I need to know something….

Is there life after death? I know this is a heavy question for this column, but I have to know, is there an eternity with tobacco? Or must I enjoy as much as I can now, knowing this is all there is?

Ever concerned with the hereafter,
Dillon – a Wonderer

Dear Dillon – a Wonderer,

ME? Financially incentivized? Does my advice appear as one who get’s paid to give advice? If I was PAID to give advice, wouldn’t my advice have to be actually helpful? But let’s just ignore this.

That is a big question Dillon. However I question your title of wonderer, because it sounds to me more like worrier. The truth is, you don’t need to know what happens in the hereafter. You need to know what to do with your tobacco in the here and now. The answer is two simple words, hoard and enjoy.

That said, I can tell you a few things about the hereafter with some level of certainty. There is definitely tobacco. Everything else will be different and even the pipes you smoke will look different, but tobacco will be completely recognizable, as will your favorite blends. There will be stores everywhere dispensing the glorious leaf and you won’t need money. You won’t need to sleep either, so you’ll never need to put your pipe down, it can hang for eternity from your lips.

How do I know this? Well, I simply refuse to believe that it can be any other way.

Believing what I want to believe has broadened my mind and made me a generally better individual,

See you next month.

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