Gifting Pipes and a Few Deadly Sins
Some time back I purchased a pipe and accessories kit for a good friend of mine. We've been co-conspirators in monkey business of all sorts since our college days, and when I took up a position here at the Smoking Pipes offices, he expressed an interest in picking up a pipe. I'm tempted to say "I owe him one," but in truth it's more like a bunch, and as such I felt obliged to make sure my buddy got started the right way, with a finely crafted and good-looking smoker, proper tools and cleaners, and a tin of Frog Morton (whose mellow nature I believe is perfect for beginners, allowing them to experience the blend's complexities without tongue bite).
By now, dear Reader, you might think you know where this post is going; Something something, something about the goodness of giving, about sharing a passion with a close friend, etcetera. Nope.
My intentions were pure, born of camaraderie. I had visions of the two of us smoking and drinking scotch together on the front porch, weaving plans for global domination or and the like. But the intricacies of human nature, oh those intricacies, meant that the whole ordeal was tinged with greed and jealousy.
By all accounts, I'm a good person. I know this about myself, because people tell me this, and because I feed the semi-feral kittens behind our customer service annex every day. I enjoy being polite to others and being helpful. But apparently "giving"... I'm not so good at this.
In retrospect, I know where the whole endeavor went awry. While trying to find the perfect pipe for my friend, I picked one that I really liked. I don't know how everyone else does this, but my method for choosing a briar piece is simple: browse around until one "sings" to me. What I bought him was a red-finished Silk Cut Radice Billiard, a one of Luigi's more English-looking pieces, albeit with a slightly pronounced heel that spoke of its Italian origins. And it was beautiful, more beautiful than any pipe I personally owned at that time. It was a beautiful soprano of a pipe. There was lust in my heart for this object that I was set to give away. I'll confess I was tempted more than once about not giving it to him, about picking up a lesser piece for my cohort and keeping that hot little sandblasted number for my own collection.
Of course, I did hand over the pipe in the end, but to this day, every time I see it, a part of me still wishes I hadn't - and I in turn feel shame at this weakness of character. I told him about my inner turmoil, as we are both often intrigued by the font of comedy that is the irrational human spirit. My buddy was, indeed, thoroughly amused by my conflicted soul.
Keep the above anecdote in mind when scouring today's pipes by Alex Florov, Grechukhin, Scott Klein, Ashton, L'Anatra, Randy Wiley, Winslow, Cavicchi, Erik Nording, Savenelli, Peterson, Stanwell, along with the seventy-two estate pipes. Don't feel so bad if you're tempted to reserve the singers for yourself, and pick the ones you only regular-like for your friends - they're all kind of jerks anyway.
John Sutherland: Marketing Mngr and Sr. Photographer