Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On giving up my pipe

I have stopped smoking my pipe despite having a good stock of tobacco. The reason is that since I hads my scare in June with shortness of breath leading to three days in hospital, I have gone off it. It does not taste so good anymore. But if I am offered a cigar I will smoke it and see.
Why did I smoke a pipe? As a teenager I worked in a filling station where cigarettes were sold but they never appealed to me. Too slight a pleasure and too expensive. Starting a pipe when I was about 16 I found it pleasurable and it made one look older and different. I gave up when I was 18 and a student in London. Harold Wilson's government put up the price to over five shillings an ounce and I deemed it too expensive. I did not start again until working for a church in Nigeria which forbade both alcohol and tobacco. Unbiblical legalism brought out the rebel in me and when visitng a Christian Reformed missionary I joined him in the enjoyment of a cigar. After that I went back to a pipe from time to time to the disgust of my wife who had married a nn smoker. I found the pipe pleasurable. It gave one something to do while reading or driving. I would give it up for a while, particularly when depressed, and then resume. With friends often travelling from overseas, particularly the USA, I rarely paid the iniquitous level of taxation paid on tobacco in the UK. I enjoyed the liberty to smoke and detest the nanny state which bans smoking in public places.

Having given up I see three benefits. No more holes burned in my clothes. No more early morning expectoration of something most unattractive. Best of all, my singing voice has improved for hymns in church. But I do miss the pipe and its illustrious history.

So may thy votaries increase,
And fumigation never cease,
May Newton with renew'd delights
Perform thy odoriferous rites.
While clouds of incense half divine
Involve thy disappearing shrine:
And so may smoke-inhaling Bull
Be always filling, never full.

I look forward to a pipe with these three in heaven and a cigar with Spurgeon.

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