Thursday, November 27, 2008

Also, never sneeze with a pipe in your mouth

So tonight I have been enjoying the silence after the kids went to sleep with my ambient mp3 collection and a pipeful of St. James Woods. A hefty blend of broken Virginia flake and real Louisiana Perique (not "Perique"). It was a slow, thoughtful day spent with the part of my family who I don't see very often, and a slow, thoughful pipe was the perfect finish (I am still trying to squeeze a few more minutes out of this bowl as I type). And I have just done something stupid for the second time in my pipe-smoking career: I burned myself.

Here at my desk, I use matches to light my pipe. I am almost always reading something on the computer screen, and usually "read through" the match when I do relights; it has become almost automatic. But a few minutes ago I overshot the bowl and the flaring match came down on my finger. It didn't hurt all that much, but it certainly got my attention. The first time I burned myself was more painful.

That first time, I was using the bigger kitchen matches and just as I struck the match, I lost my grip on it. I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt at the time, and the flaring match flipped out of my right hand, up inside my left sleeve, leaving a nasty burn on the inside of my wrist before it was extinguished.

By the way, I really hate Diamond brand matches. They are badly inferior, in my opinion. Prone to breakage--I have had flaring matches snap in two many times. I used to get Ohio Blue Tips at H.E.B. and I thought they were excellent matches, but not even H.E.B. carries those anymore. Only Diamond. Sigh.

So what is the moral of this story? I'm not sure. Maybe it's: sometimes you need to take your eyes off the screen. Perhaps it is: leave the 19th century behind and get a decent butane pipe lighter (never!). But I am more prone to agree with Homer Simpson's sentiment: There is no moral. It's just a bunch of stuff that happened.

And now the last whiff of smoke has wafted to the metaphorical rafters, a pleasing aroma unto the small, old gods of pipe smoking. But my finger will heal, and tomorrow is another pipe.

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