Confessions of a Wayward Pipe Smoker
I have something of a confession to make. I am kind of a pipe smoking disaster. I was visiting a friend recently and as we spent the afternoon hanging out, I watched him diligently clean each pipe he smoked. Every smoke was in a different pipe. He rotated, cleaned, and babied his pipes. While I greatly admire this, I find myself utterly incapable of that sort of diligent care of, well, anything. My office desks, at work and at home, each have piles of pipes on them, in ashtrays and, occasionally, actually on pipe racks. Some of the pipes contain, gasp, dottle from previous smokes that I haven't yet cleaned out. I regularly run out of pipe cleaners, forgetting to buy more until my pipes are so grungy that cleaners become absolutely imperative. Once every great while, I sit down and clean twenty or thirty pipes at a throw because I've just let them get too nasty. I am a bad pipe smoker. I recognize it. I don't embrace it. I constantly declare that I'll change. That I'll stop leaving random pipes all over the house with tobacco still in the bowls, that I'll carefully and diligently wipe out the chambers and run pipe cleaners through the shanks after each smoke, that I'll actually practice what I preach. I also waste a lot of tobacco because I'll put down a half-smoked pipe and absent mindedly pack another. If I were eight, and if eight year olds smoked pipes, my mother would have taken away my pipes because I wasn't properly caring for my things.
I'm dedicated to reforming my delinquent pipe smoking behavior. I'll start caring for my pipes properly. I will stop smoking half a bowl and forget about that pipe. I'll remember to carry pipe cleaners with me. And a pipe tool. I'll be good to my pipes. Pipes smoke better when you care for them properly. They look prettier when they're all shiny and the silverwork hasn't turned completely black. I'm sure I'd derive some extraordinary sense of satisfaction from the fact that all of them were in order, cleaned, squared away and ready to go.
Of course, that would require a level of organization that I haven't yet managed in pretty much any area of my life. It's looking increasingly unlikely, as I get older, that I'll ever actually grow up sufficiently to do things like this. I love smoking my pipes. I really do. And whatever you do, don't do what I do. My understanding is that caring for pipes properly is a far more rewarding experience. And, of course, if you care for a pipe at even a minimal level, it will last, well, if not forever, than close enough to forever for none of us to ever notice the difference.
And that's part of the fun of pipes. These are permanent objects. If you smoke a cigar, you're left with a stump and, perhaps, a pretty paper band. If you smoke a pipe, you can return to that old friend over and over. Our old friends deserve our care. I recognize this and strive to improve my nasty pipe smoking habits.
And with that, I encourage you to check out today's update, replete with lifelong friends to be, with pipe makers ranging from Peter Heeschen and Rad Davis to Peterson and Savinelli, there's something here for every pipe smoker, the diligent, and the not so diligent, alike.
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Sykes Wilford: Founder/President