- clench it firmly in my teeth even though I'm not a cigar chewer and
- I suddenly become a sort of proto-Clint Eastwood, a combination person comprised of his roles as The Man With No Name and Gunny Highway from Heartbreak Ridge?
See, the thing is, I'm not a huge cigar fan. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy them, but not nearly as much as my pipes. Cigar tobacco is almost always harsher, doesn't have the cool smoking characteristics of a pipe, and they're usually a lot more expensive than pipe tobacco. And of course, there's a part of me that refuses to enjoy disposable items, and even though I collect cigar bands it's just not the same. But then again, I refuse to lose a good pipe because I accidentally crunched through the bit or it slipped from my mouth and ended up underneath the bushhog or lawn tractor's deck.
And so there's a place in my life for cigars. Most always outdoors, usually but not always operating power equipment.
The drawback being that cigars combined with power equipment seems to bring out my inner Drill Instructor. Don't ask me why, I'm just telling a story here, but every time I find myself with a tractor and a cigar I end up chewing the trash out of those poor puros, gnawing and masticating, all the while growling incomprehensibly at every inconvenience or barking commands at the tractor as though it were a recaltricent recruit. Cigars seem to make me permanently ill-tempered and likely to growl things like "Grrarrrrr, come on you mangy piece of shit, CUT!" This, naturally, has zero effect on a late 40's International Harvester Super A tractor or it's attendant bushhog, but it seems to make me feel better, especially as I can bite down fiercely on my smoke at the same time and turn my words into a mouth-full of grumbling and snorting, rather like a bulldog with throat cancer and chronic pneumonia.
It's strange, I assure you. But, I know my own self, and I've found a use for those cheap "Buy One Good Box, Get A Ton Of Cheapie House Brand FREEEEE!" cigars. Thompson Cigars does a good job of stocking the mid-priced smokes that I prefer when I do have the itch for a cigar, but they always seem to be more than willing to send you another four or five bundles of their cheap house-brand stuff with your order, as though that is going to influence your decision. Mind you, they're not bad as far as cigars go; quite the contrary, for the price they're simply unbeatable. They're just not the cigars I give my friends when I invite them over or I see them at parties. They are the cigars I save for my use when I just want a smoke rather than for those times when I really want to sit still and have a quiet moment spent fruitlessly looking for my soul. A cigar is just the thing to help calm my nerves when I can't find hide nor hair of it, you see.
A pipe is for when I finally DO locate it.