Years ago an affinity with the neurotic element became obvious. Which those who associate with me would not dispute, though by that recognition they tar themselves. Peculiarity is not a disease, save in the eyes of exceptionally normal people. Who are suspect.
Neurosis may be manifested in several ways. Attention to the finer aspects of food, coffee, tea, tobacco, the proper preparation of noodles and seafood particularly, and period or costume jewelry. To the exceptionally normal, much of this is irrelevant, and a pointless obsession with minutiae.
They do not understand detail, and have scant grasp of nuance.
My friend the bookseller is neurotic, my ex girlfriend also, a lot of people in my past, and several of the pipe smokers of my ken, a few of them very much so. One of them makes exceptional shortbread and corn chowder.
All of them are, sometimes, confounding.
It is a good thing.
WITH ALL THAT FRESHLY IN MIND, AND ALSO REMEMBERING THAT THANKSGIVING (COMING UP THIS THURSDAY) IS WHEN WE SHOULD APPRECIATE THE GOOD THINGS AND PEOPLE IN OUR LIVES EVEN WHEN WE ARE RESOLVED TO BE ANTI-SOCIAL -- BUGGER THE BALL GAME, TURKEY, AND THE COMMUNAL SHOPPING FRENZY -- THE FOLLOWING MAY NOW MAKE MORE SENSE THAN OTHERWISE.
Cleanliness is godliness.
This morning I reamed and cleaned two dozen pipes, which I shall smoke over my four day weekend, and after that going forward into my work week. The open tins or jars are three Greg Pease products, two Dunhill blends, a Sam Gawith flake, the last of the frog that I opened when little white nipple guy was around, Drucquer & Sons 805, and my own concoctions.
[Addendum as of noon the next day: Plus the tins of Saint Bruno Flake, Giubileo D'Oro, and Capstan. Forgot about those. Oh boy!]
Everyone needs a little round wooden ball (the cap of a Cholula Hot Sauce bottle is perfect) with which to evenize the rim bevel of those pipes which have rim bevels. Butz Choquin, Comoys and GBD are brands that often have those, as well as some Petersons.
The advantage of a rim bevel is that it maintains a perfect circle, even when excessive heat has charred the wall, by off-setting darkening and scorch marks. Which is a problem caused by filling your bowl entirely.
There is no law that says you have to stuff it all the way.
It's a bad habit. Please stop doing that.
There are a few smokers that I have shared some of the freshly opened 14 ounce tin of Drucquers Blend 805 with, and several more with whom I won't.
That tobacco was bought in 1981, and one does not waste such a product on those whose smoking habits indicate that even the curiosity value would not be worthwhile, let alone any appreciation. Though they are friends.
One of the people I did share it with subsequently inquired what it was, and where it might be got. It was delicious and wonderful, and he wanted more. Alas, Drucquers is long gone. The tobacco that remains is a very finite resource. What I did not mention is that I have enough to last me over a year. But there will be more at the next meeting.
Lane Limited 1-Q.
Anyone who smokes 1Q is probably maltreating his or her briars. Five of my customers do so, and their pipes testify to their crimes. Underneath the filth, gunky carbon, and tar layers inside their bowls are heat-fissures, soggy bits, boiled-in exudate, and probably the last mortal remains of Jimmy Hoffa. Their briars range from idiosyncratic peculiarities which now really should be thrown out, irredeemable wreckage, to exceptionally nice pieces by famous companies and carvers, permanently ghosted by funkum. They are very nice gentlemen, of fine character and interesting mind.
I have committed to pipe mud.
The second cup of coffee.
The first pipe enjoyed this morning was a rusticated no-name filled with Greg Pease's Montgomery, which his tin blurb describes as several grades of wonderful flue-cured leaf, from soft yellow to deep red, combined with just a touch of dark-fired Kentucky for added richness, the finishing touch being a special process which he does not explain. It is very enjoyable indeed, the variegated sweetness combines nicely with an old-fashioned bookish odeur. Very American, yet very English.
Starting on the second bowl, in a canted Dublin circa fifties. May need a third cup of coffee. Occassionally I pick up one of the reamed pipes and admire the dark inner surface. I really should start thinking about a shave and a shower, and then heading off to Chinatown for a bite to eat.
The pipe in my pocket will be the straight bulldog I bought in Den Haag one summer, and perhaps the tobacco will be the twelve year old EMP.
It is a nice sunny Autumn day, and I may just have a snack at a bakery instead of lunch.
Now where the heck is my lighter?
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