As Rare As The Ivory Billed Woodpecker

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anthonyrosenthal74

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
7,489
670
-Wolflarsen on the "How Many Of Us Are There thread.

I've met exactly zero pipe smokers in my 40 years on planet earth. If it weren't for this forum it would feel like I'm the only one.
Ah.. the pipe smoker in the wild. More elusive than the famed sasquatch, or yeti, or the Loch Ness Monster, or leprechauns and unicorns! Even more elusive than a leprechaun riding a Loch Ness monster doing battle against a Sasquatch riding a unicorn while a Yeti watches on and laughs while drinking a Himalayan beer from the skull of a dragon.
I saw one once, from afar. He was getting into his car and I was on foot. I saw him from across a mall parking lot and I shouted as loudly as I could to wait just a moment because I'd like to talk to him. He heard me, hesitated a moment as he looked in my direction, and proceeded to continue getting into his car. I of course shouted more loudly, waving my arms around while running as fast as I could through the lot to catch him before he left. He, obviously didn't want to chat though, because he peeled off out of the parking lot pretty quickly, almost hitting another car in the process. Shortly thereafter I was approached by mall security and asked to leave.... er... escorted off the property.
Another time at a hotel I was walking past a door on my way to my room, when I caught the scent of latakia emanating from behind the door. How wonderful, I thought, as it was another chance to meet another pipe smoker! So I knocked...
"Who is it?"

"Hi, my name's Anthony, I'd like to talk to you about...."

"Go away!"

"I just thought, sir, you'd like to talk with me about..."

"I don't need no pamphlets, and I don't need to go to your church! Go away!!"

"But, sir, I really only... I thought perhaps, you might like to...." Of, course at this time, security was tapping me on the shoulder and shortly thereafter escorting me off the property.
Meeting pipe smokers is hard!

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
29,383
8,733
Nothing quite that rejecting, but I did speak to another old fella in the grocery parking lot who never broke stride, announced over his shoulder that he smoked Prince Albert, and looked like he might break into a run if I sped up. I do have a local pipe shop where pipe smokers have been seen sitting at a table, sometimes as many as three or four, all in one place at one time. I'm always in the middle of errands, grabbing my baggie of bulk blend and flying off, so I'm yet another elusive man of the briar. That's what's good about clubs or shows, seeing real people smoking pipes, not ghosts or Yeti. Some are probably afraid of getting an anti-smoking lecture, or like me, just haven't budgeted to time for casual conversation.

 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,277
1,029
Lexington, KY
Oddly enough, I met another pipe smoker 'in the wild' yesterday. By 'in the wild' I really mean 'at the dog park', but we briefly spoke about pipes before going on our separate ways.

 

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alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
5,321
12,055
Alaska
Only pipes getting smoked in the wild up here aren't filled with Tobacco. We have 30 dispensaries for every tobacco shop. And we have 30 dispensaries. I'm no arithmetician but.........carry the one............that makes one.
I did see a guy smoking a pipe once on a bike trail near my parent's home. He was disheveled and had a shitload of bags with him. I was so desperate for pipe friends I had to engage. I thought maybe he is just eccentric? Maybe it's a lifestyle choice? Maybe he is a commercial fisherman?
I approached and said "A fellow man of the pipe! What blend are you enjoying this afternoon?"
His eyes got very large and he replied "Ffffgeeeeeekkkkkkk!!!! Grrrrbnnnnngaaahhhh!"
I said "Interesting!" and fled rapidly.

 

voorhees

Preferred Member
May 30, 2012
3,805
745
Gonadistan
Around here they are rare as well. I do my part to spread the word. Stay involved, etc. Its lonely for a pipe smoker for sure.

 

fusion

Junior Member
May 18, 2019
96
2
I go to a Cigar HERF every Saturday morning, there are usually about 8 to 10 people there, 2 of them are pipe smokers and another 2 who only occasionally smoke a pipe. Other than that i dont think iv have ever seen anyone smoking a pipe (well in the last 10 years or so)

 

scloyd

Preferred Member
May 23, 2018
2,837
1,677
I was at the post office today in Huntley Illinois and I spotted a white haired gentleman get out of his pickup with a pipe in his mouth. I was going to approach him a strike up a conversation, but the way he parked his truck (not really in a spot) he looked as if he was in a hurry.
Spotting another pipe smoker in the wild...made my day.

 

didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
4,394
3,035
30
WI
The last pipe smoker I saw in the wild, looked to be possibly a homeless man, but I could be very wrong. I got off the train in Joliet I'll, and while I was in the cab, on the way to the hotel, I saw him. He was chatting with another man who had a bicycle with him, on the sidewalk downtown. The scruffy man had what seemed to be a very old well smoked corncob pipe. Made me grin uncontrollably.

 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,277
1,029
Lexington, KY
Yeah, a couple of the homeless guys who live down here in my town smoke very well-used corncobs. Sometimes if I have a partially-full tin on me, I'll give it to them. They seem to like that better than pocket change :puffy:

 

anthonyrosenthal74

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
7,489
670
I approached and said "A fellow man of the pipe! What blend are you enjoying this afternoon?"
His eyes got very large and he replied "Ffffgeeeeeekkkkkkk!!!! Grrrrbnnnnngaaahhhh!"
I said "Interesting!" and fled rapidly.
:rofl: I just died laughing!

 

seanv

Preferred Member
Mar 22, 2018
1,562
1,830
Canada
I have seen two other pipe smokers recently. One was enjoying a pipe in his car at a coffee shop and the other was driving. Very rare sightings indeed.

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,843
1,662
Maryland
postimg.cc
the few that I've encountered seemed truly puzzled that someone else would be interested in their pipe smoking and I felt a bit like an annoyance to them (all older, OTC guys).

 

malicev

New member
Jun 11, 2019
13
0
Atlanta GA
I have not gotten to meet another pipe smoker in real life. I was at a party once smoking my pipe and a friend of a friend pulled his church warden out of his car. We smoked a bowl and talked. Unfortunately it was more of a prop for his renn fest costume.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
29,383
8,733
Another problem is not wanting to disrupt someone else's life by suggesting they smoke a pipe. Families of smokers, who don't smoke, want the smoker to quit, and families of non-smokers don't want them to start. And if the person is young, even though they are an adult, it is like you are corrupting or misleading them, to some onlookers, and if they are older, you are jeopardizing their health. So you almost have to see someone with a pipe in order to approach them about it. There's a strong impulse to leave well-enough alone. I sure wouldn't want to give a cob pipe and a pouch of tobacco to a non-smoking college student. He or she will have to find their own way to that, if they do.

 

odobenus

Senior Member
Dec 15, 2018
448
875
Vermont
Nice thread, Anthony, and hilarious story. Maybe I'm lucky. I have a friend -- also a farmer, but older generation -- who is never without his pipe. The cake on that thing is insane. He only smokes Sir Walter Raleigh and has zero interest in trying anything else. Because we are both pipe-smoking farmers, some people assume he is my dad. And there are two other farmers who I've somehow talked into smoking pipes with me every now and then, though I wouldn't call them committed to the hobby. Something about farmers?

Other than that, I keep seeing a guy with a pipe in town -- he lingers at a bench behind our vendor tent at the farmer's market. I stare at him awkwardly, trying to determine what pipe he uses and what tobacco. The weird thing is that he's clearly smoking it but I smell nothing at all.

 

seldom

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2018
1,024
891
I've encountered a handful of pipe smokers in Germany. I don't spend much time in the city but when I'm there I occasionally see one or two. I've also seen a man smoking a pipe away from the city at some castle ruins. It's still unusual enough that a young man wanted to take my photo while I was smoking in town.
On the other hand I searched every day for 6 months for the Ivory-bill and never saw one. That is because they are extinct.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
29,383
8,733
seldom, I believe you are correct about the birds. They became rare, and then disappeared, and then became mythical. They were big birds, visible, and with a distinctive call, so if there were a small population somewhere, there would be sightings, audio recordings, and possibly occasional remains, none of which is evident. Yours was a noble quest to actually track Ivory Bills, if any, down. A friend's father hunted red wolves in Texas for most of his life, by scores, but when they disappeared, he decreed that they had moved northward, maybe to Montana. There are a few left in captivity, and a supported colony or two in the east, but basically they will soon be gone. I don't think pipe smokers are mythical yet.

 

seldom

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2018
1,024
891
mso489, interesting about the red wolves. The taxonomy of red wolves is controversial. They are essentially gray wolf/coyote hybrids. Some people consider them distinct enough, with hybridization happening long enough ago, to warrant species status. Others refute this assertion and describe them as a sort of subspecies of gray wolves. Recent whole genome sequencing shows that red wolves share ancestry with gray wolves and coyotes and are about 40% gray wolf and 60% coyote.

My work with Ivory-bills started after a supposed sighting, suggestive video, and a peer reviewed journal article by Cornell researchers claiming irrefutable proof that the Ivory-bill still existed. They were wrong. Ivory-bill audio is ambiguous enough that other noises can be confused for them. They historically had very large home ranges so it could be hard to find them in the same place. However there is simply not much suitable habitat left, exhaustive searches were unsuccessful, and the evidence of continued existence is extraordinarily weak. It can be hard to prove an absence, but in this case I am convinced that Ivory-bills are extinct.

 

timt

Preferred Member
Jul 19, 2018
1,196
1,174
I too caught a glimpse of a pipe smoker in a grocery store parking lot. He was a fairly dapper older gentleman, getting into his nice pickup while firing up, wife in tow. I admired him of course and thought of taking a photo with my iphone. Rare sighting indeed.
Another time, another pipe smoker spotted me. Neither of us were smoking at the time but I did have a newly purchased pipe and a tin of tobacco sitting on my table at a White Castle (fast food joint). Obviously pleased with his rare sighting of another pipe smoker, he approached me while expressing his love for Orlik Golden Sliced. We chatted for a moment and he left with his food. Definitely a memorable moment.

 

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