INSTRUCTIONS ON RAISING CHILDREN
And a profound misfortune, as it so happens.
It's actually his "good lady" who is having the baby.
Though he is excessively chubby in sympathy with her.
Naturally we, his fellow tobacco mavens, have been fully supportive.
We've shared lots of information about condoms and their function with him these past few days.
Those aren't just for laundry coins, you know!
Prophylactic devices are infinitely useful.
More so if neither of you are married.
His "good lady", it turns out, is vexatious.
Over the weekend she went through his stockpile of cigars and pipe tobacco, and instructed him to get rid of a large portion of it.
The baby will need extra room. She insists that his past-time will have to bend to her demands.
The outrage among his concerned friends is palpable.
I, as the leader of pipe-gang, have been unstinting with kind words.
ADVICE TO A YOUNG FRIEND
If your child is a boy, not too much of a problem.
Just don't drop hot cigar ashes while you're changing diapers.
For the rest, let nature take its course, and keep him away from team sports.
If, however, it's a girl, EXTRA effort will be required!
You'll have to start conditioning the infant early.
Make sure that the smell of pipe tobacco is imprinted before she can even walk or talk, so that she instinctively associates good memories with the aroma.
Choose the tobaccos you smoke around her wisely.
Let delicate whisps of your favourite flake steal through the house during happy moments, and above all ensure that her vicious non-smoking troll-mom doesn't lecture the kid about tobacco.
If you catch your daughter trying one of your pipes, perhaps when she's thirteen or fourteen, invite her quietly to go back behind the barn with you for a friendly father-daughter chat about flue-cured, sun-grown, Perique, Latakia, packing techniques, bowl shapes, and such like.
Just take care that your "good woman" doesn't hear about it.
In this, as in so many other things, that horrid creature is bound to be a bad influence.
Allow the little girl to sniff your bowls occasionally, let her know that pipes are nice things ("see that lovely grain, sweetheart?"), and be gently supportive of her first experiments.
With the right encouragement early on, there's no doubt that you will be buying her a gorgeous high-quality straight grain for her sixteenth birthday.
Make sure to set funds aside for that.
A girl's sixteenth birthday is special, you know.
So is her eighteenth - she'll be able to buy her own tobacco.
As well as her twenty first, when you finally take her to the cigar bar.
Daughters are precious, and must be carefully nurtured, so that they do NOT turn out like their ghoblin-hag moms who want you to sell off some of your tobacco hoard.
You mentioned that she was even eyeing your pipes speculatively!
Tell her that HECK will freeze over before you put those up on e-bay.
And hands off the Samuel Gawith, you... THING!
As well as the G. L. Pease!
Have you considered building a man-cave behind the house? A secret compartment between some of the walls, like a giant humidor?
Perhaps an extension to the basement - she'll never go down those steep concrete steps while she's carrying, and by the time she spits the child forth from her loins, you could have another decade's worth of pipe tobacco and stogies stashed away safely without her ever even knowing.
Burrow into the hillside - once you're deep enough, the temperature will stabilize.
With due dilligence, your little girl will grow up normal.
Not interested in expensive purses or designer shoes like her mom.
Instead of jewelry, gimcracks, makeup, and her own car when she's a teenager, she'll want sensible things like a Dunhill pipe and her own set of Shas.
Italian straight grains plus several dozen reference books.
Ben Wade, Butz-Choquin, Charatan, Comoy.... And a library of timeless literary classics of her very own!
A few Peterson System Standards and some Canadians by the same company, plus Brendan Behan, Padraic Colum, JP Donleavy, Roddy Doyle, James Joyce, Charles Robert Maturin.
See, that's the problem with today's young women - far too much exposure to shallow shopaholic morons in the extended family, not nearly enough pipe smokers.
If their fathers had been paying sufficient attention while the girls grew up, they'd now all be happy well-adjusted academics with bright bespectacled eyes and excellent taste, instead of superficial self-absorbed little dipheads demanding jewelry and other pointless frip.
Always make time for your daughter.
When she's older, both of you will be glad you did.
If she turns out well, you can leave your pipe collection to her.
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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
Labels: THE WALL (CIGAR SMOKERS)