- May 15, 2014
For the longest time I was a solitary pipe smoker. Even as a cigar smoker I did not participate much in any community. I read some magazines and books, I spoke with employees of stores and the occasional smoker I met but as hobbies went, I didn't feel the need for much input. In the last year that has changed drastically and I have benefited greatly from my interactions here and learning from the pipe smoking community at large. The first thing I noticed was the quality of people that I encountered. This is truly a great resource for our hobby and a place of both generosity and camaraderie. What took me longer to notice though is that pipe smoking also seems to draw out rumor, conjecture and much speculation about our hobby. Most is good natured, driven by curiosity and generally hearsay is taken as just that. I myself am certainly guilty so this is not about pointing fingers or making judgements. I should also note that this forum seems to be much more casual about and respectful of these subjects than a few of the other places I have poked my head into. That said, there seem to be quite large swaths that take both the desire for such scuttlebutt quite seriously and become well invested in stories they have heard second hand. Now don't get me wrong, I believe that for the vast majority it is a passion for our hobby that drives this need. None the less the type of information in question is rarely functional to improve one's smokes. The tobacco and pipes smoke as they do regardless of such politics. Is it the simplicity of what we actually do that sends people scurrying for more but mostly irrelevant information? Is there something about the deep roots of tobacco that intrigue people to speculate on things and claw for answers while few to none exist or are lost to time? Is it simply passion for our long and storied history and the natural desire to fill in any blanks that exist? I must say that in most of my hobbies such discussion was more about performance or competitive edge and less for its own sake. In many hobbies it is all but nonexistent. Even when I was smoking and reading up on cigars it rarely ranged outside complaints that demand was lowering the rolling quality of some of the big names in an effort to meet demand. Sure some is searching for justification on why one dropped so much on a TAD or PAD but surely it extends beyond that horizon. What do you think causes pipe smokers, to varying degrees, to be so opinionated about people and events they do not know and were not there for?