Why did you ever…?
As I go trolling and scrolling daily through some of the many cigar groups that are out there in Facebook that I am a member of, I often see an interesting question. Why or what made you want to start smoking cigars? Obviously a valid question, a good conversation starter, and quite frankly everyone has a different story to tell, and every one of them is interesting. So on that note, I thought I would take my turn in answering that question. Why did I start smoking cigars?
First off, I came from a non smoking family, so I can’t say I was influenced by a relative or close family member (although I did have a great uncle who smoked pipe, but I was never close to him, or any relative really, but I started smoking pipe for the same reasons as cigars). I did have a few friends in high school who would have a Swisher on occasion, but then again at the time, it never really influenced me to take it up. I grew up as the quiet kid who stuck to himself and really didnt care about what anyone else did anyway, so peer pressure on myself would have been wasted. To this day I am still anti-social, or some may say I am socially stunted, in that I don’t like crowds or parties, any of that stuff. My idea of a good time is relaxing, spending time with my family (wife and 3 kids). Just the way I am and the way I was brought up. Work, behave, eat, sleep, repeat. So when do the cigars come in? I’m sure you are thinking. I could give a shit about your life story, just answer the damn question. Well, like anything, you have to start somewhere.
I was 18 or 19 when I had my first cigar, I admit I always enjoyed the smell of a cigar, and of course there’s the image of badasses and tough guys smoke cigars while, well, kicking ass and being tough. Not really my thing, I don’t have anything to prove to anybody, so pretending to be a badass would have been laughable. So one day I decided to try one out, on a whim, it might have been a rough day or something, I am not sure and I cant remember shit anyway. What I do remember is that I was living on my own in a one bedroom apartment, working two or three jobs plus going to college. I was an art major, imagine that, a fat bearded dude a painter. I was going for a major in art studio with a concentration in painting (I was actually pretty good and had a lot of potential: I was labeled by the art department heads as an experimental non traditional expressionist painter) and had a minor going on in art history and anthropology. I ended up dropping out after three years due to financial issues and a case of depression the size of Texas. (forgot to mention that, I am a depressive, been that way all my life too, it explains my attitude, self deprecating humor, and anti social behavior I’m sure). My first cigar turned out to be one of your every day run of the mill Swishers. Sweet, cardboard tasting, and over all meh. But at the time, I did not mind it, it was a new experience, and I thought what the hell, I’ll try a different one some time. Then started the usual line up of gas station goodies, Dutch Masters, Phillies, William Penn, Black and Mild, Captain Black, both the wood and plastic tips. I was enjoying them because I didn’t know any better, however now and then I do enjoy a Backwoods. I was finding that taking the time to sit back and have a cigar was relaxing, time to wind down, slow things up and think. It definitely worked for me. Fast forward two years, zoom through the parts of financial issues, losing my apartment, dropping out of school, losing my jobs, all that fun shit I want to forget. I began again. I got a job, moved back out of the house, got a new apartment, things were on the upswing again, then one day while thumbing through a magazine, I found an advertisement that will forever change my life. Thompson Cigar Company: 30 count humidor with 20 Thompson Mild Connecticut cigars. Just a heads up, during the last two years with all the crap going on, I hadn’t been smoking. The ad caught my eye, and I thought, well its $30, I haven’t had a cigar in two years, lets do this. At this point I still had no idea about what a premium cigar was, what the hell is a humidor other than a box to store cigars in, wtf is a hygrometer? This was before the internet and google, well, the internet was dial up but no, there was no google or any of the resources that are out there today. Four weeks later the box arrives, yay cigars. First thing I do is rip into the bundles of cigars, wow, real cigars, but wait a minute, they don’t have any holes in the tip, what the hell. That’s when I started looking through the catalog that came with the order, and discovered these things called cigar cutters. Lacking any of that stuff, I sharpened a pencil and poked a hole in the end, and lit it with an old Bic I had laying around. Wow what a difference, sure today I’m sure I would say that the cigar is a real dog turd, but hell, my first real handmade cigar. Excellent. From there I started ordering samplers, at one point I ordered my first box of cigars, they were St George churchills. So on and off for the next ten years I would have one or two cigars a week, intermixed with the couple Dr Grabow pipes I had. Got married, financially things were tight so I stopped smoking again (just one of the reasons why I hate people who dry beg. If you can’t afford it, you don’t need it) Fast forward six years and I got back into cigars and pipes again, and by this time there were great groups on Facebook, the information out there incredible, the amount of companies, blends, and types were over whelming, and here I am trying to build my palate back up, time to order about five thousand samplers and try everything I can get my hands on, so over the last four years or do that is what I have been doing, and loving every moment of it. Now I have a china cabinet that was converted into a humidor and a whole bunch of fancy shit. So why did I start smoking cigars? Because I damn well wanted to. We all have stories, and I thought I would share mine.
Whats your story?
Until next time, smoke up, smile and be glad you never smoked a Bikers Butt cigar. A real dog turd.