Fungus absorbs oxygen and releases carbon dioxide, so we have much in common, the most important difference being that we smoke pipes with our respiration and fungus does not. We were fungus once, and the compelling argument has been made that many of us still share many traits with our fungal forebears. Our evolution split us from fungi and we became animals, digesting nutrients internally instead of externally, around 650 million years ago.
I remember it like it was last week. There were parties, of course, and all of us mushrooms celebrated the new diversity of life, some of us becoming animals and some remaining fungi. I decided to become an animal because I had a profound desire to learn ballroom dancing. I didn't know at the time I'd have to wait 650,000,000 years or that I'd never be able to dance no matter how many legs I grew.
It was lots of fun in those pre-legs days, slime-molding around in front of my mushroom cousins, showing off my internal digestion and navigable, travel-ready corporate body. I could move! As quickly as I could, I evolved opposable thumbs, because I needed a smoke.
There were parties, of course, and all of us mushrooms celebrated the new diversity of life, some of us becoming animals and some remaining fungi.
I had to wait for a while. Fire was necessary, and transportable fire was not available for many millions of years, but again we can thank our fungal brethren, because portable fire was achieved with fungus.
Fomes fomentarious, or the tinder mushroom, also called amadou, was used for starting and carrying fire by ancient humans. Otzi the Iceman, 5,000 years old and found preserved in the Alps in 1991, carried such a fire kit. Fist-sized pieces of this non-edible and highly flammable mushroom were hollowed and could carry a burning ember for days. So fungus can smoke, after all, it just doesn't do it very often.
I propose changing that. I've long admired fungus, and my plan is to introduce pipe smoking to mushrooms world-wide.
You may be opposed to this plan, and I can see why. You don't want more competition for the tobaccos and pipes you like, and since fungus outnumbers us by a wide margin, you're worried about fungal competitors buying up all your favorite brands. But this dynamic is exactly how my devious plan will work. With billions of mushrooms on the planet, demand for pipes and tobaccos will skyrocket, and the market will eventually meet that demand, giving all of us more choice and better quality.
However, there will be a period of adjustment as we elbow past mushrooms at the local tobacconist, trying to purchase just a bowl or two of Samuel Gawith. Even walking through the woods will be different, with mushrooms everywhere smoking pipes and begging for a light.
But we'll get past those initial problems and enter a new world of infinite pipes and tobaccos. It will be almost as good as internal digestion.