Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lessons learned under the hood, Part 1

On recent hot, hot, hot summer days, I have been squeezing myself under the hood of a vehicle that has no apparent will to live. It has been sweaty, sticky, muggy, messy, but it was all made at least slightly more tolerable by my pipe.
Most mornings saw me with a corncob clenched in my jaw. Before heading to work on the metal monstrosity, I'd grab one of my two standard cobs, nothing bigger than a Diplomat (and nothing as hard to find as my reed stem versions), and a little tobacco with which to fill it.
Let me tell you that the cob is made for mechanical work. It can smoke hot and hard if needed, but can slow down and simmer when the sun beats down too hard and the bench on the porch starts calling. I'll admit to being a cob lover, but I always considered them a change-of-pace alternative to briar. While that is more credit than some briar "purists" will give corn, it still did not make them a first choice pipe.
Today, though, wanting a change of pace, I brought along a Kaywoodie that I have labeled a "beater" pipe, as I feel more comfortable putting it in harm's way than many of my other briars. I lit it up as I stared blankly into an engine that was defying the laws of common sense, and I puffed and puffed a little more and then reached for a pipe cleaner. And that's when it hit me that I didn't once use a pipe cleaner with my cobs. Now, because I wanted something different, I was tied to a pipe pouch and a handful of cotton-covered wire. To make things more complicated, I had to concentrate on preventing overheating, again reminding me that I hadn't thought twice about that with my cobs. And for one final complaint, with all the exhaust and motor oil odors and flavorings on the air, I couldn't taste the cool burning tobacco nearly as much as I could the revved up tobaccos in my cobs, but I'll get into that more later.
So lesson 1 was simple. When your attention is demanded elsewhere, pick a pipe that will let you divert your focus, and in this case, that made my cobs worth every penny I spent on the Kaywoodie.


  1. Well, you have the cobs to make it happen. No excuses. You have better smoked everyone you own in the next 6 weeks. And the car? It had better be hummin'.

  2. So true, I think I'll smoke one of my 'good ole American know-how pipes right now.