Pockets are a pipesmoker's best friend. And we need a lot of them. The minimum for going out into the world is a pipe or two, a tobacco pouch, pipe cleaners, a lighter and tamper, and we need places to put those things, along with a wallet, phone, keys and pocket knife. It would be nice to just materialize these items on demand and dematerialize them when done, but until that technology is available, pockets must suffice.

I'm partial to a fishing vest myself. The perfect garment, a fishing vest can accommodate everything I carry. And they have enough pockets so I don't have to wear pants. However, my wife and daughter won't be seen with me when I'm so dressed. They think it's a hideous look. I long ago gave up any concern about how I look (or smell, for that matter), so I don't understand the objection. However, as a concession, I refrain from wearing a fishing vest when out with my family.

We need more pockets in all of our clothing. Tee-shirts, for example. I don't understand a tee-shirt without a pocket. Where are you supposed to keep your lighter? Sport coats are good, but I never wear those because they can make me look respectable. They have pockets though, and I'm a fan of those.

A guayabera is a great shirt with four pockets, but most need dry cleaning and I'm far too lazy for trips to the cleaner. Cargo shorts are good too, and I have the legs of a turkey vulture to show off in them. They're almost as comfortable as no pants, but with the advantage of pockets. Fanny packs are also excellent accessories; sometimes I wear two crossed over my chest like bandoliers.

I don't understand a tee-shirt without a pocket. Where are you supposed to keep your lighter?

We pipesmokers make sacrifices for our pursuit of excellent smokes. If we want to smoke out in the world, we have to carry stuff, and that may mean giving up our fashion sense in pursuit of practicality. But pockets definitely help.

I had the privilege years ago of meeting the pocket's inventor, Elijah T. Pockett, a pipesmoker who needed more opportunities to carry items on his person. He started sewing patches of fabric to his clothing in a formation that would become known as the Pocket. It was pipesmokers who initially favored the innovation and ushered this new technology into the mainstream. Pockett went on to become so wealthy he no longer needed pockets, instead hiring a servant to carry his pipe smoking accoutrements for him.

During the early years of pockets, pipesmokers ruled the world because they were the only ones who had them. You can't carry the key to the nuclear football without a pocket, after all. But then non-pipe people started to see the advantages and ruined everything. They started carrying non-pipe items in their pockets, like weaponry, cell phones or junk food. Soon the pipesmokers, who used their pockets only for good, were overrun and the non-pipe smokers took over, pockets overflowing with documentation, arbitrary authority and, heaven help us, Tic-Tacs.

That's why the world is in the mess it is today. If pipesmokers had been left to run the planet, as nature intended, things would be fine. It's time someone among our ranks invented something to regain our advantage. The world will experience harmony only when pipesmokers again rule.

Category:   Pipe Line
Tagged in:   Editorial Humor Pipe Culture


    • Dan H. on July 11, 2019
    • Guayaberas are wonderful, and if you buy a non-linen version, they won't wrinkle or fall apart in a washer and dryer. Truly, the perfect shirt for a smoker. You could have a pipe in one pocket, a couple of cigars in another. How about a pocket for tobacco? Check. And maybe one more accessories? No problem. You're all set for any contingency. I tried linen versions at first, but I am also lazy, not to mention sloppy, so that didn't work.

    • Stephen H. on July 14, 2019
    • Chuck,
      Thanks for another insightful piece on American culture. Upon retirement, I bought 4 pair of cargo shorts and 10 T-shirts, with pockets. I hung up my "big-boy" pants, except for Sunday morning, forever and do not miss them, at all. My footwear swings back and forth between my New Balance sneakers with velcro straps and my Ecco sandals. I have an old straw cowboy hat for outdoor wear. I bought a butane pipe lighter with a built in tamper and knife and have a bunch of old leather tobacco pouches that hold both tobacco and pipe cleaners. So, before an outing, I load up the shorts with lighter, pipe (usually and old, beat up, Peterson 312 system), and tobacco and I am good to go.
      I haven't written any novels nor have I postulated on the space-time continuum; but those who worked with me knew that all of the serious thinking was done outside with the pipe puffing away like old number 9.
      I enjoyed your discussion of pockets, but found your challenge to pipe smokers to return sanity back to the world even more interesting. Perhaps you could start a movement...

    • Kevin M. on July 14, 2019
    • An excellent commentary. Let me add a plug for a small back pack. It allows comfortable portage of other items a piper may want to tote — water, a beer or two, snacks, a book, phone, camera, wind breaker, wallet, spare change, sun glasses, a hat, sun screen . . . I tend to “lose” things in pockets. The more pockets, the more places to hunt through. The major disadvantage of a small back pack is the tendency of accompanying females to plead for space in it. My defense is to carry only small back packs. I often carry my back pack slung over one shoulder.

    • Jim C. on July 14, 2019
    • Chuck, I couldn"t agree withe you more on the value of pockets for us pipesmokers. In fact, I now will not buy a tee-shirt that does not have one. However, a surer bet, I agree, would be a fishing vest that has numerous pockets. Unfortunately, in this oppressive heat it is a bit too much to wear down here in the South, in the summer. Any other suggestions? BTW, what the devil is a "guayabera" and where do you look for one? Please enlighten. I never heard the word before.

    • Maxwell Eaton on July 14, 2019
    • I am a man of simplicity and believe firmly, less is more. Therefore, I like to pack a bowl with integrity, (not a brand of tobacco) at home. I carry my pocket knife at all times and a lighter of distinction is always at its beckon call. Please recognize that I do not argue with those who demand numerous pockets for their Briar enjoyment, but please do realize that with enough tobacco at your side, going home is only an option and too many pockets can confuse the mind and divert attention from the main event, a calm and relaxing smoke.

    • Dan H. on July 15, 2019
    • Yo Jim, a Guayabera is a Cuban-style shirt, also popular in other parts of Latin America. They usually have 4 pockets. One on each breast, and 2 directly below those. In the illustration at the top of the article, the gent holding the bulldog pipe is wearing one.

      They're comfortable in the heat, and very handy for smokers.

    • Jim K on July 18, 2019
    • Not sure which is more frustrating pocket-wise; a nudist holiday or spilled ashes and tobacco bits in cargo shorts headed to the laundry. My wife has no sympathy either way.

    • Gregory Wilson on July 30, 2019
    • Cargo shorts in the summer and a huge collection of Sports jackets from light weight to winterweight which can be worn over Norwegian sweaters and under Shearlings. Since I'm retired I rarely where suits anymore but since all are beholden there are 2 extra ouches inside each Coat and in the beholden cashmere overcoats. Been smoking pipes over 40 years now and am prepared.

    • James Brewer on April 26, 2021
    • After way too much research, I settled on the “Tactical Vest” from “511tactical.com”. Mine has pipes in it instead of pistols.

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