On Avoiding Suspicion
Adam and Ted have of late taken up golfing, or, more accurately, re-taken up golfing. While I've been privy to a number of conversations involving the development of proper technique, these taking place but a few feet from my desk, they haven't yet attempted to drag me out onto the courses, under the hot Southern summer sun, in person. This may be because they sense a disinterest on my part towards plaid pants, heat-stroke, and attempts to accurately propel small objects long distances in the most self-defeating manner possible, or it may simply be out of consideration of my conspicuously Northern European complexion and coloring, and not all just because they think I'm an incorrigible [explicative]. While they're off to the courses in the evenings and weekends, however, I've found a new pass time of my own, one much more agreeable to my borderline-albinism. Namely, I've been taking pictures that prominently feature backdrops consisting of the local firmament. The South Carolina shoreline, I must say, produces some amazing skies.
It began with one of the oak trees beside our own offices, but I soon moved on to contrasting "technological monuments of the mundane" against some of the more imaginative cloud formations I might spot. While taking photos of lamp posts in a supermarket parking lot in broad daylight might make me appear a touch, well, "touched in the head" to some, it eventually occurred to me that, in this day and age, taking careful photographs of power transformers, various aerials, or the like might rouse far less innocent suspicions.
But then an elegant solution came to mind - I would simply smoke my pipe while I stole my largely impromptu shots. Why? Because a pipe is an inherently innocent-looking object; an effective inducer of antigens against suspicious thoughts within the minds of others, as it was. I ask you, as an experiment, to try and picture in your head a suspicious-looking pipe smoker. What do you get?
An absent-minded intellectual, a stoic man of the sea, an affectionate grandfather, a rustic with a sure-footed sense of where he stands in the world-yes, these all come quite easily. But anyone suspicious? Hardly. The closest I could come to it was a man who appeared as if he himself strongly suspected something (in which case a Calabash comes highly recommended for best effect). A Google Image search for "suspicious smoker" turns up, by and large, men with suits and cigarettes (including one of Oscar Wilde), and, oddly enough, a number of barbeque accessories, along with a scattering of paparazzi shots of celebrities sneaking a smoke on the sly. For "suspicious pipe smoker" specifically, the only images with all three words involved in its result feature Lady Gaga, whose career has largely been built upon trying to appear conspicuously suspect, and in this case I think the affected accoutrement rather backfires, aesthetically speaking. Roughly a year ago I had it from an ex-girlfriend with a wealthy, fashionista female acquaintance that briars had become vogue amongst certain circles, so, really, seeing one in this particular musician's hands comes off as more a revival of an artifact from the age of the Flappers. The dress made of raw steak was much more effective in rousing notice, or at least in my case, appetite.
And upon the end of that rather improbable spiel (in the sense that I would assume you'd have thought it rather improbable to find yourself soon reading such a thing when you got up this morning), we're off to today's update. For this Thursday you'll find some very fine artisanal pieces indeed, from Tokutomi, Heding, J&J, Ser Jacopo, Il Duca, and Ardor, followed by fresh meerschaums by IMP, and a broad selection of briars by Brebbia, Neerup, Savinelli, and of, course Peterson - oh, and don't forget the estates of course; a full seventy-two in total.
Eric Squires: Copywriter