Dangerous Beauty

28th November, 2003: Posted by glpease in Pipes

There are pipes in my collection that are not the greatest smokers in the world, yet they somehow draw me to continue reaching for them. Something about them whispers in my ear, “Just one more bowl, and I’ll be all that you want me to be.” These pipes manage to seduce me into smoking them again, and again, and again, singing their siren’s song from the rack each time I sail by, until I buckle, succumbing to the sweet melody. Every time, it’s the same. I take the pipe, admire its form, its beauty, its wood, its construction. I choose a tobacco, and prepare for the rites.

“Yes. This will be the bowl that gives reason to my reverie. This will be the bowl that sets this pipe on the road to smoking greatness. I just haven’t tried the right tobacco in this one, yet.” One more chance. One more.

Again, the tumultuous trist between briar and leaf begins. Filling the pipe lovingly with gentle fingers, or cramming tobacco into its bowl with a mad frenzy will make no difference. It’s always the same. The first few puffs are wonderful; the pure taste of the tobacco is delivered clearly. But too soon, the pipe’s faults begin to appear. The seduction over, the pipe and I are now well into the rocky period of the relationship. Too soon, I recall why I cursed this beauty last time we spent time together, and then curse myself, knowing that, in all likelihood, I’ll do the same thing again, and again, and again.

There are horrible looking pipes in my collection, albeit few, that smoke divinely, yet they don’t find my lips as often as these alluring beauties. There are magnificent pipes there, too, that never fail to deliver a great smoke. But, how intriguing are those? Those are the reliable, wonderful old friends whose company we enjoy with ease and simplicity - the ones we too often take for granted. It’s the bombshell, the high-maintenance pipe that fascinates.

And, fascinate, it does, as the serpent fascinates its prey. It’s hopeless to resist. I know I’ll fall, always seeking the happy ending.

Sometimes, fortunately, perhaps even often, the happy ending is written by the time and turmoil spent with the serpent pipe, and it ends up smoking beautifully. That first, sweet, rich smoke may come at a high cost, but the pleasure is made somhow even more sweet for the pain. Is it worth it? That’s hard to answer. What is certain, is that I am sure to do it again, and again, and again.