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Cigars: One of the Last Hopes to Preserve Real Friendships

Marvin R. Shanken, Gordon Mott
From the Print Edition:
Jim Nantz, May/June 2011

The reality is that people don't talk to each other anymore, especially the younger generation. No face-to-face conversations, no sitting down for a cup of coffee, no pausing on a park bench to chat about the weather. Many people in the digital age think this is normal and okay.

Facebook. Twitter. E-mail. Texting. MySpace. MyLife. LinkedIn. Plaxo. The list of social media links seems to grow by leaps and bounds every day. The 21st century already has spawned so many ways to connect without ever laying eyes on another human being, you might end up thinking that you never have to leave your house, or your desk, or your office. From your little electronic cocoon, everybody in the world can know exactly what you're doing and when you're doing it and with whom. That science fiction scenario, once just fantasy, is now a reality for some people.

We find this new reality depressing. We want the camaraderie and fellowship that comes from sitting down with a group of friends and discussing what's going on in the world and in our lives. We want to relax in places where there is a good vibe of friendship and shared passions, whether it's about cigars or politics or sports. We want someone to look us in the eye and tell us exactly what it is they love about the double corona in their hand, or the glass of bourbon they've been sipping. We want to know why they think the Pittsburgh Steelers deserved to win the Super Bowl, or why the New York Jets are the favorites in 2012. We don't want to read about their thoughts on a Facebook page, or from a Twitter post or in an e-mail. We want to hear about them directly.

We are not Luddites. We know the instantaneous flow of information is beneficial in many ways. By making the world a smaller place, the digital age has opened up new horizons of cooperation and has made it possible to share expertise in ways that were never possible before. We even appreciate, most of the time, the ability to never be out of touch with the things and events that are important. The flip side of that reality, however, is that it has gotten harder and harder to filter out the junk, to know which information is trustworthy and who we should believe when it comes to stories and facts about any given event. And, if you only rely on the Internet for contact with other people, you can never really be sure who it is you are "talking" with.

Creating more human contact is one of the big reasons that cigars are a welcome throw back to a slower, more personal time. They are a connector, a way to bond with interesting people, a way to bring people together. While we like an occasional solitary moment on a terrace or on a long walk, the cigar moments that we truly cherish are the ones we have spent with good friends, or even new acquaintances. The cigar is a bond between people, whether they are strangers or old friends. We think cigars should be seen as saviors, a great way to restore human contact between people.

We know cigars can accomplish that goal. We've seen it hundreds and hundreds of times. Those times when we step back from the fast pace of our lives to share an intimate moment with a glass of spirits and a fine hand-rolled cigar can't be quantified; it's simply priceless. And, it's a reason the entire world should help preserve the status that a cigar still has today.

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Comments   2 comment(s)

Stephen Greening July 13, 2011 11:43pm ET

Great article, it made me think about bonds that I have with friends formed from cigars. A good friend of mine was formerly just an acquaintance until we met up in Cuba while on separate vacations. He was already an avid cigar "enthusiast" and over the course of our vacations I became interested in them myself. Since then we have had many cigars out by the fire after playing a game of hockey and just recently we sat in the living room my half built new home and looked out over the ocean while enjoying a fine smoke and a great glass of rum. It was a great couple of hours to chat and was exactly the type of camaraderie and fellowship that you speak of in your article. It's nice to be away from the computer and cell phones for a while and just sit back and relax with great cigars, drinks and friends. Great article Marvin and Gordon.


J.W. Wright — Newcastle, DE, USA,  —  August 4, 2011 8:33pm ET

An absolutely on point article. The art of conversation is truly a dying art. No one wants to sit down and share their philosophies over a good stick and a spirit of their choice.


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