It’s the perfect companion for reading crime fiction. Hell, for reading anything. I sit there with a book in my lap and a pipe in my teeth. This isn’t a cigarette. I’m not taking the time to pack my pipe and light it because I need nicotine. I don’t need to puff at all hours.
I can pick it up when I want it. I can think, I can read. I can puff. I can join the fraternity of great men who have puffed on their pipes as they thought. As they read. As they wrote. Cigars are great for celebrating. For socializing. For drinking good whiskey neat. But a pipe for thinking.
Even the tobacco is literary. Bell’s Three Nuns was the favorite of C.S. Lewis. They say the recipe has changed since then. Maybe I’m missing out. But when you’re born too late you have to take what you can get. And what I get is tobacco. I love peeling back the fluted paper on a new tin of tobacco. And each time I open the tin again. It’s like unwrapping a present.
Into my favorite briar it goes. No glass nonsense for me. I once walked into a self-proclaimed smoke shop. All I saw was swirly, spacey glass contraptions. I walked right out. Give me something substantial. Something all the kiddies aren’t doing or experimenting.
Sure, my pipe is a cheap one. And the rim has a little char. So what? I don’t want something you can throw in the dishwasher. It’s a man’s tool. It looks like one. And it’s a tool I’m proud of. A tool I clean and take care of. But a tool I use.
Doesn’t mean it’s not a vice. I know it is. It’s an older vice. A forgotten vice. A vice I don’t need. A vice I chose. A vice I didn’t just pick up because I thought everyone was doing it. A vice I admire. A vice I can perfect. The best kind to have. After all, who wants a second-rate vice?