I grew up in a family where smoking was taboo, which is not a terrible thing. When I was in college, I smoked an occasional cigarette with friends during study breaks. Still, I did not really find the experience enjoyable.
A church group of men in my congregation called TWC (Theology, Wine, and Cigars) meets monthly. I indulged in a couple of cigars. Personally, I found them too strong for my taste. But while some of them were puffing on some fine cigars, others were enjoying their long-stem churchwarden pipes.
I decided to buy a pipe and try it a couple of weeks ago. Even though I didn’t know what I was doing, I found the experience enjoyable and curiously relaxing. Pipe smokers say they enjoy the ritual of preparing and lighting a pipe, and I must say that the practice takes one’s mind off the concerns of the day a bit.
My first pipe tobacco was a cheaper brand called Wind River. The tobacco has a lovely smell, but I think the product was too dry because my pipe bowl burned down quickly. It was still a pleasant experience, but I think I got 10 minutes or so worth of smoke.
I was looking at pipe tobacco blends and came across one called Presbyterian. I thought to myself, a Calvinist blend of tobacco might be my destiny, so I ordered a few cans. I tried my first bowl of it, and wow! It has a sweet taste to it, and the tobacco lasted a long time in the pipe bowl–probably half an hour. It was a cool, dry smoke, and it was a perfect session–in part because I had gotten better at preparing my pipe bowl.
Smoking is not a healthy activity. I have seen people die from lung cancer, which is not a fate I would want for me. Pipe smoking is probably the least risky way to enjoy tobacco. You do not inhale the smoke into your lungs, but you enjoy the taste and sensation of the experience. I believe in moderation; just like anything else, it will be just fine. There are risks for oral cancer, but I have read on the best ways to avoid that. I would imagine my chance would be no more than drinking alcohol in moderation. After I smoke a pipe, I soon brush my teeth and cleanse my mouth with hydrogen peroxide and mouth wash.
The irony of my new activity is I picked it up from church! Who would have thought that? That’s okay, though, because I love my compatriots. When we meet, we will look like some hobbits enjoying some pipeweed before the second breakfast. I guess we could say holy smokes!