Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Matt Dillon, Spring 96
(continued from page 5)
Instead, I was treated with the superiority of a dealer who had sold "thousands of those very cigars" without so much as a trace of the unraveling problem I brought to his attention.
I'm certain that none of those 10 cigar shops around the country that have been in business for more than 100 years--nor any new stores that hope to be--would have failed to please a customer for the cost of a single cigar.
* * *
As the lead mechanic of Red Eagle Racing, I've often worked 12- to 14-hour days to ready our off-road car for a race. Tired and a little greasy after such a long day, I'll clean up and go to a special drawer in my tool chest where I keep a small supply of my favorite premium cigar. The team owner, who has been working as hard as I have, also digs out his favorite cigar and we snag a cold beer--premium beer, of course--out of the shop fridge, call to his wife to join us and retire to the hot tub. To the rear of the shop (which is at his home) is a beautiful view of our foothill community. There we can truly relax and plan race strategy and future plans.
As a reward for my work, which is unpaid, the team offered me a ride in the 1995 Baja 1000 off-road race, the longest nonstop off-road race ever held: 1,131.4 miles. I would drive about 120 of those miles. As with any serious race effort, all contingencies must be planned for. A survival kit with two days' food was prepared. Then it occurred to me that something was overlooked. We had no cigars! That was remedied with the inclusion of four cigars, a lighter and a clipper.
As luck would have it, I was in the car at about 8 p.m., 750 miles from the start, in a very remote part of Baja California Sur, when the steering box broke. After checking everything I came to the sad conclusion that the race was over for us. Luckily, a pit was within two miles and we were brought there by one of the pit crew members after radioing for help. When we got to the pit we were given a cold premium Mexican beer, a most welcome way to ease our suffering. Then I realized that I had forgotten the cigars--they were still in the car!
Lamenting this, I was overheard by a young Israeli man who was touring North America by motorcycle. To my surprise, he hopped on his bike and retrieved our cigars. So there we were, in the middle of nowhere, on a warm and beautiful night with a great cigar and a cold beer. Even though we didn't finish the race, life couldn't have been better.
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