I love ‘em. Yes, I know that a major portion of the population is against smoking everywhere and anywhere, and I respect that. I have never in my entire life smoked a cigar in front of anyone…and never will. Okay? Fine…I mean the nasty things are just in my mouth… unlit…for respect…You’d be surprised and to cause unsolicited complaints…You’d be very surprised or maybe not.
Most cigar smokers I know are ladies and gentlemen, they behave quite well and are usually shocked as to the stories they hear.
Many years ago I was on the subway going downtown to do a radio show on the city’s radio station and to kill time I sat down and pulled out a copy of Cigar Aficionado. At the time the magazine basically had mediocre articles about various things, decent photography and of course the extremely important ratings of cigars. I sat down and began to read about my babies. Looking back I think it is funny that the photos of the smokes all look the same. How can you tell how good a cigar is from a photo anyway! I am staring at the picture of the stogie minding my own business…whatever that is…and an elderly lady seated next to me taps me, a bit hard and says, “You’re not going to light that thing in here are you?!!”
I turned to her and said, “Ma’am. Why would I light up a magazine? And besides there is no smoking of any kind in the subway.” She gave me the twisted-face-look and turned away. I went to the radio show and of course mentioned the subway ride on the air. By the time I got home somewhat later I got a call from the station manager. She said that a lot of people were calling in with similar stories:
- I was reading the cigar magazine by the pool and the life guard came over and asked me to not to smoke.
- I went to play at the Broadway Show I do and after setting up my saxophone and clarinet in the pit, I had sometime…so I took out my copy of a cigar magazine and a cellist came over to me and told me there is no smoking in the pit!
I do a lot of traveling and not long ago I was in Kusadasi, Turkey. As usual I had a big sixty ring seven inch Maduro in my mouth and as I was walking down one of the side streets a vendor looked at me like I had leprosy and screamed, “You Crazy! You crazy! You die!” And at that point she lunged at me, pulled the cigar out of my mouth and threw it into the sewer. I tried to explain to my dear friend that yes I am most definitely crazy, one would have to be crazy to be a xylophone soloist, and eventually will die but not just now as I still have a show to do that night…Fine Lady.
My personal favorite is when I was in Oman. Don’t ask…please…just don’t be a woman in Oman. That place could use a lot of w’s. As I strut down the street dressed modestly but of course with my large brim Cuban hat that was made in the USA by an Australian company. I stop for a moment to shift my cigar to the other side of my mouth and I hear a local camel ride guy call out to me. “Senor, Senor, Cubano! You will enjoy the ride.” I have never gotten up on a camel in my life though I have smoked a few in emergencies and I’m thinking this will make a great photo and I call back to him, “Coming, be right there, oh yeah!” But when I get close his eyes dart up and back from my cigar to my American flag pin and as I witness the disappointment in his face as he says,
“Oh you are American. You are not Cuban. You…”
I stop him and say, “Oh you caught me. I was trying to pass for a Cuban because I hear that you give discounts to them but…yes…you have found me out! I am an American. Some of us do smoke cigars. Here’s ten dollars for your camel and a fine fifty-four ring, six inch Maduro for your sir.”
I was once in a test group for cigars. They asked, “What brand do you smoke?” I tried to explain to the Youngish testers that unlike cigarette smokers who smoke the same brand for years, cigar guys, that include ladies of course, and I know quite a few, enjoy changing brands, trading with each other and use different sticks for different licks. I could tell they weren’t listening to me at all.
I also feel that I have hooked dozens of people onto cigars. Their spouses despise me. They tell me their husband or wife smells of cigars, curses and spits all the time and all of a sudden likes to listen to Xylophones. And I am proud of that fact.
With very few exceptions I have changed cigar buddies as often as I change the brand of my cigar.
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