Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Danny DeVito, Winter 96
(continued from page 9)
A couple of weeks ago I was going through my semi-daily ritual of sitting at home in my easy chair, enjoying a nice Macanudo and listening to Chet Baker, while reading Cigar Aficionado, when out of the blue the doorbell rang. Not expecting anyone, and being somewhat annoyed at the disturbance of my "personal time," I hesitantly approached the door. As I opened the door my frustration turned to elation when I realized it was Harry, a childhood friend I had not seen in over 10 years.
He immediately noticed the fine aroma of my cigar and apologized for disturbing me. His apology made me realize that he, to, had become an aficionado, for only a cigar smoker himself knows the quiet pleasures of sitting alone and enjoying a good smoke. I invited Harry in and offered him a cigar with a glass of Port. Without hesitation he accepted the offer, and before long we were sitting in a cloud of smoke reminiscing about old times.
Since the evening was young, and we were both in a social mood, we decided to go to a local jazz bar to have a couple of drinks and listen to some nice music. As we approached the bar, Harry stopped just short of the entrance and handed me a cigar. He explained that it was a Cuban he had recently acquired (I didn't ask how) and was saving for a special occasion. I felt honored that he would share it with me. We immediately lit the cigars and proceeded into the bar.
Being at a jazz bar, I was confident that the smoking of cigars would not be a problem. Besides, there was already a thick haze of smoke in the air from all the cigarettes. We sat down at a table near the back, ordered some fine malt Scotch and puffed away on our little treasures. This truly was the best cigar I had ever tasted! It was so uncommonly smooth yet flavorful that I thought this must be what cigars in heaven are like. The band that night was excellent, I was with a good friend whose company I had missed the past few years, and the Scotch was going down like liquid honey. Nothing could disrupt this ambience.
Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder from our waiter. He informed me that cigar smoking was not allowed at that establishment! My initial reaction was to laugh. After all, this was a jazz bar, the room was filled with cigarette smoke and no one in my immediate vicinity seemed to be bothered by our indulgence. I asked him why we had to extinguish our cigars. He gave us no legitimate reason other than stating it was the bar's policy. Not wanting to argue more, we agreed to let the cigars go out, and set them in an ashtray. As the waiter left, a couple sitting next to us told Harry and me that they were actually enjoying the fine aroma our Cubans were emitting. That did it. Now I was upset.
I went to the bar and asked to speak to the manager. A young man about my age (mid-20s) came out to the back room and approached me. I immediately asked him the reason behind the cigar smoking ban. He informed me that because he is offended by the smell of cigar smoke, he made the policy. I could not believe it, and immediately gave him a lecture about my belief that cigar smoking "offenses" should be handled on a case by case basis. For example, had someone sitting close to me been offended and asked me nicely to put out my cigar, I would have done so without hesitation. But to make a blanket policy based simply on the whim of the management is appalling.
After this little incident, Harry and I went back to my apartment and finished our cigars. At least there we could enjoy our Cubans, listen to good music and have a drink unencumbered. Needless to say, I will never again go to that bar.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
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