Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Wayne Gretzky, Mar/Apr 97
(continued from page 8)
We always read tales of the wealthy person smoking a cigar and leisurely pulling down some Cognac. Articles in your magazine are filled with stories about the rich and famous. However, we do not hear the story of the "Generation X" (I hate that term) smoker. Know why? Because there are so few of us.
I have blue spiked hair. I play guitar in a punk rock band. My vocabulary is littered with four-letter words. I have utter contempt for authority. I am your token 19-year-old punk rocker. Leather jacket with studs and spikes. My left hand often forms a middle finger. My right hand, however, tends to hold firmly onto a Dunhill or an Excalibur or, when money's short, a Padron. I'm afraid I don't ride horses, fly private jets or drive a nice car to my job as a lawyer. I work many odd jobs and scream dreams of anarchy into a microphone for a living. On tour I sleep on top of speakers in the back of a van that is falling apart. Yet somehow I savor a cigar equally to those featured in the magazine (actually, I prefer to call it a journal, but that's just me).
We speak of relaxing with a cigar and wine, but I tell you there is no better feeling than having a Davidoff on your breath while running through a mosh pit and wreaking havoc. After a good NOFX or Rancid show, the crowd hangs around with the band smoking cigarettes. I smoke an Ashton Maduro.
Punk bands don't earn that much. We can pack a room with 300 people and clear 50 bucks (between four people) if we're lucky. We get ripped off by management and bouncers quite a bit. We play for the fun of it, so we don't have much cash. Between living and eating, only a few dollars remain. It took me half a year of saving to get a humidor and I still had to make sacrifices. Cigars are important to me. They are never an ordinary experience; they are always a treat. I can't have them every day. I'd love to, but I can't. But every time I cut the end of a cigar, I do so cognitively, for it is an experience to be savored. If that isn't appreciating the cigar, I don't know what is.
The punk movement stresses unity. The cigar is a catalyst for this. I walk into the local cigar shop with my blue hair and receive stares from the conservative regulars. But the fact that I am a serious smoker allows me to converse with them on a human level. Their jackets and ties and my spiked hair do not get in the way of a common communication. The cigar enables me to talk to people who I would never talk to under other circumstances. Cigars provide this utopia. I light up a Dunhill, you light up a Dunhill; what's the difference between us?
I won't wear a suit or have a lot of cash, but I am a cigar aficionado indeed. I enjoy cigars so much that I've been known to pay for mine with change I find lying around my house. Yes, I've paid for cigars with pennies. There is a new generation of aficionados coming. We have pink mohawks and sing loud abrasive punk rock. We drink awful beer and sneak in an El Sublimado on our birthdays. Punk rockers smoking and appreciating a fine cigar. We're coming. Watch out.
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