Do you know the pipes I’m on about? The beautifully crafted wooden barrels attached to a stem from which you breathe in burning tobacco fumes. Not too long ago, a saw a man smoking tobacco in a pipe and it made me wonder, why don’t we see pipes anymore?
Now, I typed this question into google and I had a lot of drug related internet finds pop up. I don’t mean crack pipes or meth pipes. I mean tobacco pipes. Doesn’t it seem an odd occurrence to see someone choosing to smoke tobacco out of a pipe rather than a cigarette? Yet, if you were to ask past generations, you would find that the pipe was used more often than it is now.
Did people become more informed about the dangers of smoking tobacco? Yep, we all were told that tobacco and nicotine were bad for your body. It was shown that pipe smoking may not be a heavy contributor to lung cancer (as you don’t inhale the smoke into your lungs), but it does lead to oral cancers. But the numbers of smokers hasn’t necessarily decreased. We still have smokers, but just less pipe smokers and more cigarette smokers.
From my little bits of reading, it seems that pipe smoking is a lost “art” because it takes time. You can get a nicotine fix from a cigarette super quick. A pipe must be enjoyed, slowly smoked, allowed to smolder. And who in the heck has time for that anymore? We want fast results. Efficiency. Out with the pipes. In with the quick fixes.
But that isn’t the generation that my grandpa emerged from. Ever since I was little, I have memories of Pap-aw sitting outside, under his porch, every morning. He had his Nescafe instant coffee, a Jimmy Dean sausage biscuit, and his pipe. And every morning (and throughout the day), he sat and drank his coffee, and ate his Jimmy Dean biscuit, and smoked his pipe. Slowly.
Are we missing something from this generation of my pap-aw? I’m not advocating smoking. How can you advocate something that will most likely lead to cancer? But I am advocating slowing down. Why don’t we have hour long coffees and breakfasts each morning? Because we are always rushing around. Meeting with this person. Working late. Night classes. Clubs. Dinner parties. Church. Hobbies. All of which are good. But are they drowning out the ability to take slow, deep breaths? Not of tobacco, but of life. In the midst of the day, are we taking time to breathe in what is around us? I want to slow down and breathe in life.
Maybe don’t reintroduce pipes into normal society, but introduce slower living.
Although, as an aside, pipe smoking is gaining momentum again amongst the hipster, arty crowd. That’s the crowd I have always wished I could be a part of, but will never see the day someone would call me hipster….