I have been struggling with how to frame this post for a while now. The subject matter may be a little touchy to some. I personally don’t think it is an issue. Maybe I am just rationalizing. Either way, I will frame my rationalization here and you can be the judge if the logic is sound.
I am reading the 20th anniversary edition of Cigar Afficianado. In it they went back to many of the subjects of their cover stories to interview them on their experiences with the story and to gain some base details about their enjoyment of cigars. Whenever I read biographies, I like to imagine how I would respond to some of the questions.
When did you start smoking cigars? I don’t remember my first but I do remember the one that really exposed me to enjoying them. I was in San Diego for the SCT Summit conference about 1998. My friend Julio and I were walking through the Gas Lamp district at night after dinner. We walked past a very small cigar rolling shop and the owner was sitting in the front window, rolling cigars by hand. I was fascinated so we went in. Turns out this guy grew up in the town next to Julio in the Dominican Republic. He pulls out a special bin of tobacco and rolls a cigar just for me. That was one of the best cigars I’ve ever had.
What is your favorite moment enjoying a cigar?. I don’t have one special more than others, but I do have several that are memorable. A few months ago with dad and Derik on the cruise in Alaska. At Derik and Jenn’s wedding with all of the guys and Derik’s uncles singing old French drinking songs. The fire pit at Bachelor Gulch late one night with Tom at our ski trip to Beaver Creek. With Meg, Loren and Michelle at the Kenny Chesney CountryFest in Foxboro.
Why do you enjoy smoking cigars? Megan is always yelling at me that I don’t know how to relax. I guess I just don’t like to, it feels like a waste of time. I enjoy reading, but because I only read non-fiction, my brain is always moving and I am always trying to put facts into context. I just don’t slow down and enjoy the moment. Given all of my priorities and other stresses, there are only a few times that I really relax. Playing golf, après ski,and tailgating are times when I feel like I slow down enough to enjoy the moment. For some reason, the act of enjoying a cigar forces me to really focus on those times and not other worries. I never listen to music anymore, but at night after everyone is asleep, I sit out on the deck and look at the stars, listen to some jazz and smoke a cigar, and I truly feel at peace.
For the record, I am not a fan of smoking. It is a relatively disgusting habit, and I know that Megan won’t kiss me for 24 hours after a cigar. Taylor hates it and is constantly worried that I will die from my one cigar every few weeks. My stress level is so high that I need those moments of clarity and focus and introspection. I don’t know why, but enjoying a cigar gives me that. I exercise over an hour every day, so I am in great shape. I feel that my running, offsets the negative effects of not inhaling a cigar now and then. For me, it helps me to cope with all the other stresses in life. For me, the mental health I gain from the hour of enjoying a cigar, offsets the negative health side effects. For me, it is all about balance. It is one positive thing that helps balance a lot of potentially negative ones. I may be making excuses, but I think the important thing is for each individual person to have at least one little thing that gives them moments of clarity and focus. Cigars may not be for everyone, but they work for me. How about you, what is your balance?