Earlier I mentioned that I started smoking a pipe when I was fourteen years old. And a friend, who is a non-smoking scistoid nutball, asked if teenagers should be allowed to smoke, ever. Well, my parents would nowadays end up in legal trouble, but at the time they didn't forbid it after it was apparent that I had taken the plunge. My mother gave me a long medical lecture, promising all manner of ailments and psychological problems including stunted growth -- she was shorter than me by then -- and threatening dire moral failings as well, but by smoking three Kent
Filter Kings during the harangue she unglued her own discourse.
KENT CIGARETTES, WITH THE FAMOUS MICRONITE FILTER
But that begs the question, should juveniles be permitted to use tobacco? To which the answer is, more or less, the same as whether or not they should have rich and fulfilling sex lives: not until they are eighteen.
Smoking, like sex, is allegedly an adult decision.
The boundary is set in law, even though some might argue that it's arbitrary. Some people shouldn't engage in 'sweaty business
' until they are past retirement age, and I really wish the drunken young folks on Polk Street on Saturday nights would put it out of their mind until they lose their jobs and go back to live with mommy. Unfortunately, they engage in all manner of disgusting amorous behaviours while drunk in public, and then go home to facebook till dawn.
Far better they should not drink, not hump legs, and not smoke ciggies.
Never-the-less, once they're eighteen, they can decide for themselves.
Again, I started smoking at age fourteen.
Sex had to wait several more years.
Tobacco alleviates frustration.
It's almost miraculous.
I personally feel that cigarettes
, and big cigars far too often a sign of depravity. But pipes and pipe tobacco demonstrate a sound moral compass, and young men and women should all own at least one decent pipe, and have a pouch or tin of high quality tobacco around their digs at all times. Nicotine is good for short-term memory -- perfect for when you have to cram for a test -- and, though a stimulant, it calms you down.
Cigarettes are too easy and too addictive, much like vapor devices (e-cigs), and cigars deliver an enormous load of the N vitamin, far more than you really need. Besides, there's something suspiciously penile about cigars.
But a pipe inculcates a contemplative mindset and improves the mood.
Once people get into pipes, it trains their aesthetic eye.
They develop good manners and thoughtfulness.
Books are bought, ideas developed.
Trust me, you really want your daughter to smoke a pipe. If you smell a whisp of Latakia or Perique escaping from underneath her locked bedroom door, she's probably studying, and in any case is not engaged in risky behaviour with the boy next door. She's got her head screwed on right, and instead of dropping out of junior college to raise a brat, she'll go on to graduate school.
That's what you want, isn't it?
The town where I grew up flourished because of the cigar factories that were founded there in the late nineteenth century, and two of them remained when I was in high school: Hofnar Sigarenfabrieken N.V., and N.V. Willem II Sigaren. Both factories are defunct now.
But at the time, almost all my classmates smoked, and although cigarettes were a social lubricant as well as a mark of rebellion, many of them eventually gravitated toward the local product, albeit not the big fat torpedoes that farmers and factory workers liked, but the elegant half-coronas and senoritas with fine Sumatra wrappers.
The entire town smelled like a humidor.
Pipes were thought a bit unusual.
But not at all uncommon.
I have reason to assume that the majority of my classmates are now fine upstanding citizens of sober habit and sensible conduct.
Except, perhaps, for the cigarette smokers.
They're still a question mark.
I firmly believe that the second they turn eighteen, boys and girls should head over to the nearest quality tobacconist and purchase one or two decent pipes and some tobacco. Their parents should provide them with enough money to make the visit worthwhile, and perhaps accompany them so that they can make good choices.
For the pipes, I would recommend Savinelli.
It's a great smoke even at the low end.
You'll get your money's worth.
From $70.00 to $150.00.
For the tobacco, a few tins of medium to full English blends, meaning products that have between thirty to fifty percent Latakia, some Turkish, and a base of aged Virginias.
Not as subtle, perhaps, as fine flakes and Virginia-Perique compounds, but easier to get the hang of, and very tasty. Turkish and Latakia are naturally low in nicotine, which helps in the beginning. Later on they may wish for something headier, but developing the right smoking rhythms takes time.
Good pipe tobacco costs between fifteen and twenty dollars a tin (1.75 oz, or 50 grammes), depending on the brand. Names to look for are McClelland, G.L. Pease, Stokkebye, Orlik, Dunhill, and Solani.
Samuel Gawith, Gawith Hoggarth, Rattray, Germain & Son.
Also MacBaren, but avoid the aromatics.
English mixtures, Balkan Blends, Orientals.
Besides, if you're going to offpiss the non-smoking tofu-heads (and you will), you might as well go for something that will give them apoplexy.
Anything with heaps of Latakia is guaranteed to do precisely that.
They'll probably huff lots of marijuana to calm down.
Marijuana is both therapeutic and green.
Accepted in Berkeley.
Remember, you have to be at least eighteen to purchase tobacco.
By the way, at present I am smoking some very fine spun-cut discs.
Rich, sweet, creamy, and soft; no tongue bite.
Life is good. Trust me, really good.
Except in Berkeley.
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