Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Jimmy Smits, May/June 2005
(continued from page 1)
I watched a young girl working on a snowman, trying to get the head on a huge body. She was talking to herself that boys are so rough and should know that the head of a snowman is fragile and easily falls off. Her dad came outside and called out to me. Hey, man, you're smoking a nice cigar! I smiled and said thanks. I'm lighting up, and it's a great evening for a cigar walk. And that was a true statement indeed; it's just great to be able to do that.
This realization made me think of you, Marvin, and what a loss it is that some states in the U.S.A. have banned outdoor smoking; an oddity that Europe may possible import as well. A strange law that made me think about the fine line between democracy and populist rule. With populist rule, the rights of the many are exercised at the expense of the rights of the few. I firmly believe in the rights of nonsmokers to have a smoke-free environment. I'll be the first to defend that right. But each right also brings a duty with it, the duty to look out for those whose minority rights are infringed when a majority exercises its rights. This concept of duty draws the line between democracy and populist rule.
I associate cigar smoking with the romantic thought of gentry—ladies and gentlemen who are driven by duty, honor and hard work, and people who value a little pleasure like an evening stroll through a winter wonderland. At some point, you would think that civil thought and the fundamental notion of equality would correct the balance between right and duty. Hopefully, your fine magazine can continue to be a platform to call out for a new courtesy and mutual consideration when it comes to cigar smoking. A change should start at some point. That point may as well be now.
Nijkerk, The Netherlands
I recently decided to take up cigars as a hobby. I read your story on the cigar factories in New York City [December 2004]. Two weeks ago, I had to attend a meeting in Secaucus, New Jersey, and decided to fly up from Knoxville, Tennessee, the day before the meeting. I wanted to take your advice and visit as many of these stores as I could.
In my quick trip to the city, I was able to visit Taino, La Rosa Cubana and P.B. Cuban Cigars. It was a great experience. You should have seen all the guys you wrote about when I plopped my copy of Cigar Aficionado on the table and asked each one to sign it. Their expressions ranged from what I'm sure was "Who's this crazy Southerner?" to true pride that I would travel so far to meet them.
Thanks so much for your great advice.