Pipe Smoking Hurdles

Usually the Monday Blob reflects what is coming up in the newsletter, which also goes out on Monday. But this one is different because I wanted to take the time to address the question that Mike from Briar Blues posed in his latest give away.

Here’s a link to the give away video, in case you missed it.

He wanted to know about what you think is the biggest hurdle you had to overcome when it comes to smoking your pipe. That is a great question. Not only because it can help people overcome similar problems they might be experiencing, but also because it makes you look back and understand and see different phases you might have gone through.

When it comes to making mistakes, I’m an expert. If there is something stupid that can happen to someone, I’ve done it. Since we are talking about pipe smoking, at a time in history when it is very uncommon, most people learn from trial and error. With the internet as a handy tool, that is becoming less the case.

Those that took up smoking between the late 70s and the mid 90s have taken the most lumps, in my opinion. But that’s besides the fact. Rough seas make for good sailors is my mantra.

Me? Make Mistakes!

As I think about all the mistakes and naïve phases I went through, what strikes me most is the fact that I didn’t even know at the time I was making them. It wasn’t like I was struggling to solve a problem. More like the fat, dumb and happy type of pipe smoker.

Never occurred to me that lighting a pipe with a torch lighter could damage the wall of the pipe. Not until someone said to me “what the heck are you doing?” Oh, didn’t think of that.

After packing a pipe for the thousandth time, I stumbled across the perfect way to pack it and be able to feel that it was right. Didn’t notice that I was screwing it up until I finally did it right.

I had cleared hurdles I didn’t even know I was jumping. The latest example was cleaning my pipes right after I smoke them. Several years ago I had decided to keep the cake much thinner than the nickel size that you hear recommended. I keep it to dime width or thinner. But the post ritual cleaning was something I never did, waiting until the end of the month and batch cleaning. Spending the extra minute each time has significantly made my life easier.

Tips like that (I got that one from Briar Blues) seem small, but have a large impact. Might not call them a hurdle, but it’s those little things that take you from a casual smoker to someone that knows what they are doing.

Biggest Hurdle

So what would I consider my biggest hurdle? I guess it would be the one that I have struggled with the most, or haven’t overcome. For me that would be cadence. Often, more than I care to admit, I smoke much too fast. It all depends on my mood or my disposition.

When I’m relaxed and not thinking about anything, I can sip all day. When I’m doing something else, like writing a piece for the Briar Report, I get anxious. When that happens, it’s like a freight train pulling out of the station. Next thing you know, my tongue feels like it got run over by a payloader.

Something like that can ruin all the pipes for the rest of the day, if you’re not careful. Of course I know better. Many times I’m even conscious of it, but that doesn’t mean I can control myself. Just get too carried away. That of course, leads to many problems not just a burnt tongue. Excessive moisture, hot bowl and actually more relights since you end up getting ahead of yourself when you should be tamping the ash down. Not good.

It’s Me

I would define the hurdle as being me. I’m my biggest problem when it comes to enjoying a pipe. I know better but can’t control myself. There is no doubt that I can’t concentrate on more than one thing at a time. You would think that one doesn’t need to concentrate on smoking a pipe, and you don’t have to, but if you let it get pulled into an anxious state of mind, it won’t be good.

Pipe Smoking should be relaxing and calming and often it is. But other times I have a bad habit of raising it to a level it’s not intended to be. It may or may not be a hurdle I have to overcome, but I certainly continue to struggle with it. Not all the time, luckily.

I have really enjoyed watching some of the responses to this question. Seeing some people who haven’t made many videos lately come out to give their responses. It’s such a wonderful thing to see. Hopefully we can get to hear what you have to say on the subject.

Pipe Smoking News

Be sure to open your newsletter when it comes out this afternoon. Also to check the latest news and information over on BriarReport.com. Every little bit helps and it keeps the lights on. Plus, where else are you going to get that kind of news? Nobody else cares about it more than we do here. If you are watching Tick-Tock videos, you’re most likely wasting your life. Not a joke, sorry.

Thank you so much for everyone who stops by, and a very heart felt thank you to those that check in with me when I’m not Blobbing to make sure everything is OK. It is, but you know how it is sometimes.