Roger VanGorden and I freezing ourselves on the patio in Alexandria, VA
in 2011, for the sake of reveling in the Brotherhood of the Briar.
"A pipe is the fountain of contemplation, the source of pleasure, the companion of the wise; and the man who smokes, thinks like a philosopher and acts like a Samaritan."
-Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton
Today is International Pipe Smoker's Day. Raise your pipe in celebration!
According to the IPSD Website,
WE ENVISION A WORLDWIDE COMMUNION
of pipe-smokers that is bound together by a shared love for pipe-smoking, mutual respect, and goodwill • We envision a society that respects the informed choice and adult use of smoking tobacco • We envision a world where governments act in good faith and integrity, and have the political will and personal courage to express their values appropriately through legislative means • This means that as a group we are united and strong in our beliefs, have understanding, patience, wisdom, enjoy the philosophical aspect of pipe-smoking, and seek to promote pipe-smoking as part of a lifestyle that can be thoroughly enjoyable to adults through the responsible use of tobacco.
To foster links across the globe in honor of friendship, benevolence, and tranquility; and to celebrate the fraternity of pipe-smokers across all borders.
On this day we will take a breather and celebrate the noble art of pipe-smoking and the noble spirit which pervades the brother/sisterhood of the briar. We will put into practice the time-honored and ancestral traditions of raising our pipes in toast to each other in the evening in unison and, thus, share a bowl together.
Today’s hectic environment almost dictates that we run on full efficiency, have total involvement in our work, our families and in every aspect of what we do to survive and achieve in a world set at high speed.• With ever-changing values it is the intent that The International Pipe-Smoking Day will allow us, the Brothers and Sisters of the Briar to step back and appreciate our rich historical value. • For pipe-smokers and pipe-smoking everywhere the day will be emblematic of our shared values, history, traditions, and aspirations.
For those of you who have long admired the art of the pipe, but didn't know where to start when it comes to partaking of the joys of the leaf and briar, The Art of Manliness website features a Pipe Smoking Primer, written by Jason Mills.
The 1979 Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health (Table 7, Section 13, page 17, or page 637 in pdf form) shows that, in one study (H. A. Kahn), pipe smokers of 1-4 bowls a day actually have a lower mortality rate than non-smokers. Table 8 of a second study (E.C. Hammond), shows pipe smokers who smoke more than 9 bowls a day, again, had a lower mortality rate than non-smokers.
That's because a pipe keeps us calm and free from hysterics. In fact, messing with a pipe allows the experienced puffer to avoid answering a direct question for as long as 45 minutes.
"The pipe draws wisdom from the lips of the philosopher, and shuts up the mouth of the foolish; it generates a style of conversation, contemplative, thoughtful, benevolent, and unaffected..."-William Makepeace Thackeray, from The Social Pipe
My favorite pipe in my collection is a Stanwell calabash shape, and my tobacco is a custom blend by Dunhill from a dwindling stock that is getting low enough for me to worry. I haven't smoked much in the last year, so that's helping to save the stockpile. Until the early 2000's, I could still get my custom mixture from Dunhill in Chicago, then New York. That stopped when they went out of the pipe tobacco business. Dunhill has began to reissue its tinned tobacco in the U.S. in 2010 but I don't hold out hope for the custom mixtures ever again. *sigh*