Day: November 9, 2023

Thur. Nov. 9, 2023 – still not quite right…

Cool to start, warming later, and some chance of rain. It didn’t rain on my yesterday, but there were dark clouds in various places at various times. I think today might be even more threatening.

I did do my pickups, after emptying my pickup. Got some building materials. Got some household stuff. Got some stuff for the BOL. Picked up the kid and did her stuff in the late afternoon.

Started listening to the audiobook for “Live and let Die” by Ian Fleming… It’s an interesting timecapsule. 1 ounce gold coins from pirate treasure were only $20 each. Bond rides an express train from NYC to Florida. The word “negress” is used more than once… The whole modern EMS and hospital system doesn’t exist. Q smokes a pipe, Bond smokes 3 packs of Chesterfields a day and drinks Old Grandad. I’m 2/3 of the way through the story and I’ll probably finish it while driving around today.

I’ve got some driving to do to pickup a few more things.

One thing that I’ve been noticing and thinking about is “where did all the pipe smokers go, and WHY?” Every old story has most of the men smoking pipes. I just finished listening to Ann of Green Gables, and there is mention of it. Ian Fleming mentions it in what, 1959?. The book of bohemian poetry I was reading mentions it constantly. My uncle smoked in the 70s. Many of the dads involved in scouting when I was a kid smoke pipes. You used to see signs prohibiting “pipe and cigar smoking” while allowing cigarette smoking. Almost every old advert featured a man outdoors smoking a pipe, all the entertainers did, and frequently had pipe models named after them. Pipe racks and humidor jars were common in homes.

As I learn more about pipe smoking, estate pipe buying, selling, and refurbishing, I’m struck by the number of brands and manufacturers. There were hundreds in the US alone. Where did the smokers go, and why? When and why did smoking a pipe go away while cigarette smoking flourished? I was the wrong age during the transition, so I didn’t particularly notice, but maybe some of you did and can comment.

I’ll add that there are still enough pipe smokers that my HEB has pipe tobacco and cleaners in the locked tobacco merchandise area with the rest of the smoking stuff. There are dozens of youtube channels dedicated to the pipe despite not being able to monetize them, and the youtube demographic for pipe hobbyists is definitely “younger men”. From the content and comments they clearly think it’s part of lost manhood and better days. So as an observer of culture, and being suspicious by nature, I ask “what changed?”

I’ll offer this observation- pipe smoking is relaxing and contemplative. You do it too fast, hard, or carelessly and you burn your mouth and tongue. Cigarette smoking is NOT relaxing, had a lot more nicotine, and is chemically habit forming. Cigars have a more ‘celebratory’ feel, have always been the symbol of success, and ‘fat cats’ or wealth, while pipe smoking has been the realm of the common man. The corn cob pipe is ubiquitous in US folklore and history. There was a huge cultural shift, and most people didn’t notice.

From a prepper standpoint, smoking tobacco is easiest to prep for with pipe smoking. The tobacco can remain sealed without ill effect (and with some benefit from aging) for years, maybe even longer. Pipes are simple and can be made from almost anything. Treated well, they also last for years, and can be refurbished. Pipe tobacco is much cheaper, in general, than cigars or cigarettes judged by amount of smoking time per dollar too.

Whether you approve or disapprove of smoking in general and or in particular, people have been doing it for a long time, and will likely continue. As a trade good it grew the wealth of nations and changed the course of history. Liquor, tobacco, sugar, coffee, and spice. Those were the things people wanted, were willing to risk everything for, and they are currently astonishingly cheap compared to any other time in history.

Think about it for a bit, then put that in your pipe and smoke it…

Consider your stacks of ‘trade goods’ and luxuries… and then decide if you need or want to add something, and stack it high.


NB- of course Robert smoked a pipe, but I left him off the list because he didn’t stop.

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