At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


She said that the pipe looked cool, she really liked the image. She was with a young man -- a gentleman at least several months if not a few years younger than myself, that is -- and two other ladies, and all of us had stopped to admire the view from that particular vantage point. The piers spread out below, Alcatraz in the distance, and far beyond that the vast savage hinterlands of the other side of the bay, where the wild tribes of suburbanites and trailerparkers live, committing their cannibal acts and voting tea-party. Or going to church.

It is refreshing when a young lady nowadays thinks that pipesmoking is 'cool'. When I first picked up the habit, at fourteen years of age, that was something that I also thought. But at that time it was a rather private 'cool'. It wasn't the primary consideratum behind the new-found habit. But I did know that cigarette smoking verged on sleazy and depraved, cigars just weren't my ticket, and chewing tobacco of any kind was incredibly nasty.
Pipe-smoking was a thoughtful thing to do.
And that is what it has turned out to be.

Pipe-smokers are conditioned to remain calm, and maintain the pipe at an even burn, never letting it overheat. Cruising altitude, so to speak. Ideally from first match till tapping out the ash should be a steady and smooth ride, culminating in the realization that that was a damned fine smoke. Very satisfying.
If all goes well, something worthwhile ill have been accomplished while engaged in the process. A work of literature will have been consumed, all the tolerances on an isometric drawing will have been inked in cleanly and accurately, or a piece of equipment lovingly restored. Algebra homework will have been done.

The pipe-smoker remains even-tempered throughout; one does not want the burn-rate to spike, the load in the bowl to turn sour, or the pipe to go out.
Practical jokers may set off fire-crackers right behind the person with a pipe, but it cannot startle him. There's a proper burn-rate.
At all times, calmness and proper burn-rate.
When I crashed my car years ago, I clambered from the wreckage with my briar still clenched between my teeth, and the bowl still evenly lit.
It had reached the proper burn-rate, and was at perfect cruise.
A cigarette smoker would have fouled himself instead.

So yeah, yes, pipe-smoking IS cool. And I am extremely glad that you think so. People who feel that pipe-smoking is cool are truly very nice people indeed, and always seem way more intelligent than the common herd. Their company is welcome and refreshing, their eyes are brighter, and their coats much shinier than the drab little wretches that skulk away scowling unhappily and scrunching up their faces.

I was on my front steps a few days ago enjoying a bowlful of Virginia flake, when two dessicated stick-insects of the middle-aged single-woman persuasion came down the street. Once they saw me and my pipe, they veered off to the edge of the sidewalk, and as they scurried past me even went out into the street to avoid coming anywhere near the fumes. Their expressions, behind the hands holding their noses, betrayed pain, outrage, despair, nausea, rodent-like emotions, and venomous hatred of men enjoying a bit of fine tobacco.

At the point when they were nearest, I drawled "ooh, poor babies, nosey-wosey all hurt-hurt?"

It's a very wide sidewalk, and there was a breeze. They could not possibly have even smelled the smoke from their distance. But the sight of a pipe aroused a well-trained disapproving repulsion.
People like that should choke on their wheatgerm.
Get a lump of tofu stuck in their throat.
Pipe-smoking is cool, bitches.
G'wan, suck it up.

"Ooh, poor babies, nosey-wosey all hurt-hurt?"

I'm convinced that most of the folks who evince dislike of smoking in general and pipe-smoking in particular have unresolved father issues. The man may have been a perfectly decent bloke, either a Harvard professor or a simple hod-carrier from Poughkeepsie, but he was somewhat oblivious to their desperate sensitivity, poetic natures, and sheer down-right specialness. Throughout their lives, he treated them as normal children developing into normal adults, never once veering into wide-eyed wonder at the sheer treasures of keenly-honed artistic insight and meaningfulness that were thriving in his own home.
Oh the sadness, oh the tragedy!
The bastard!

Either that or they're scared of their therapist. The man probably took his pipe out of his mouth at some point, and remarked "oh grow up, you sodding little pussy".
It was a well-reasoned word of advice.
Thoughtfully delivered.

My sympathies lie with the therapists; they have to deal with a lot of self-absorbed freaks.

On the other hand, people who like pipe-smoking are more than likely to have had normal relationships with their parents. Yes, they saw the flaws, but they also realized that the adults in their lives were, on the whole, pretty good people, whose insights and attention eventually made them the fine young adults they are today. Their mother and father did their best to provide them with a safe and comfortable place and time, so that they could develop into mature adults themselves. They are grateful for the years of happiness and support.

Maybe they still don't know what they will do the rest of their lives, but they feel confident that they'll manage to find interesting and worthwhile things along the way.

Without recourse to pot, spirituality, and puritanism.
Avoiding wheatgerm, tofu, and spirulina.
Dating a pipe-smoking man.
Or woman.


NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


  • At 9:05 AM, Anonymous e-kvetcher said…

  • At 9:41 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    I fondly remember that commercial. Thank you for providing the link.

    Somehow, I think that a former D.S would indeed be excellent.

    But that's just me.

    And this city.

  • At 4:40 AM, Anonymous Jimbo said…

    Oh now leave my pot be!


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