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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96

(continued from page 1)

Poor Indians; that Hitler: Custer!"

Stunned, I sat back marvelling

Such talent for hypocrisy

His accusations ringing hollow

Through his country's sordid history

Later, though, he offered me a fine Cuban cigar

I thanked him and we both agreed

The embargo went a bit too far.

The next evening, invited over for dinner, I recited my poem to the journalist, explaining that I had written it while smoking the cigar he had kindly offered. He insisted on keeping a copy, and we parted as friends.

Scott Smith
Manchester, New Hampshire

***

Dear Marvin,

I am a 26-year-old cigar lover. I do not smoke cigars because they are trendy or hip, nor do I smoke them because they create the illusion of a wealth or affluence that I have yet to attain. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I must say that I enjoy them for all the right reasons. Please allow me to explain.

My two closest friends, Joe and Mike, also enjoy cigars. The three of us have been friends since childhood, yet for the last three years or so, our friendship has developed a strength and unity that is nothing short of remarkable. I'm not about to say that our shared affinity for stogies is the only thing that keeps us close because that is simply not the case. We have many things in common: similar backgrounds, values, hobbies and passions. However, it seems that most of my fondest memories of time spent "with the boys" involve cigars. I can only guess how many warm summer evenings the three of us have spent on Joe's front porch, sipping wine (or Cognac, Scotch, or beer) while smoking our favorite cigars. Sometimes we'll discuss or debate important topics such as politics or religion, while other times we'll lean toward lighter fare such as sports, entertainment or the like (sometimes we just sit around and talk about the cigars). The atmosphere can be animated and gregarious or it may be more serene and low-key, but it is always friendly, honest and above all, respectful. We are three young men who enjoy each other's company and the fine lost art of conversation. The cigars started out as an excuse to sit and talk but have evolved into a unifying accessory to these cherished moments. There is no doubt in my mind that no matter where our lives take us, Joe, Mike and I will always make the time (at least once in a while) to sit, have a cigar and celebrate friendship.

About a year and a half ago, on a cold Thanksgiving Day, I ventured outside to enjoy a newly acquired Onyx No. 852. My father, whom I'd never known to smoke a cigar, said he "would not mind trying one" if I could find something a little smaller and lighter. I happily offered him a corona-sized Macanudo (a brilliant choice, I must say) and to my delight, he enjoyed it quite a bit. Since then, my father has been a proud cigar smoker. In fact, he smokes more often than I do, and I have to pry my issue of Cigar Aficionado away from him when it arrives in the mail. The two of us often can be seen sitting in the garage, discussing the issues of the day while puffing our stogies. He's told me stories of his childhood that, oddly, he never felt the need or inspiration to tell me before. My father and I have always shared a close relationship, but I can't help but think that it has gotten so much closer since I handed him that Macanudo on Thanksgiving Day. He has gained an appreciation for one of life's simple pleasures and I have gained an unsuspected and most-treasured smoking partner.

Like most cigar smokers, I am often ridiculed, even condemned for my hobby by people who view cigars as an unhealthy, pretentious, even chauvinistic indulgence. However, like most people who adhere to a certain prejudice, these folks are generally ignorant and uninformed, and thusly their opinions don't offend me.

I know the truth. Cigars are not about pretense, chauvinism or machismo. However, they can be catalysts for communication and an excuse for people to sit down, relax and enjoy each other.

Michael J. Fleming
Rochester, New York

***

Dear Marvin,

As a long-time cigar smoker, I found the passage below to be particularly interesting when it first appeared in Advertising Age. I wrote the author, who was kind enough to make me a full-size photostat of the original, which was hung on the wall over my humidor ever since. I agree that, "For sheer mood evocation, it still stands as a copy masterpiece." Hope you find it interesting.

William L. Hartman
Cincinnati, Ohio

Erwin, Wasey & Co. Inc. landed the Consolidated Cigar account because of this essay, and the agency kept it for 30 years.

The Cigar

It is no mere coincidence that a man carries his cigar next to his heart. Badge of his majority--throughout his manhood, in the seclusion of his thoughts and on his thoughts and on his far excursions, it is his intimate companion. The young man sees his dreams of conquest take form in its curling smoke. The old man in his easy chair blows retrospective rings without regret. In the good brown leaf is solace for the loser and exultation for the victor. It glows at the wedding feast, heralds the new born and turns to ashes at the wake. A man's smoke! Strange that in advertising its appeal should have been so neglected!

-- Erwin, Wasey & Co. Inc. Advertising

***

Dear Marvin,

I would like to share a true story that happened to me that should warm the hearts of all cigar smoking men who have wives who don't share the same passion for fine cigars.

Last year we remodeled our upstairs and incorporated into the renovation the construction of my own den. Finally--a place to listen to music, warm up by the fireplace, read and enjoy an Arturo Fuente or a Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur after a long day.

First and foremost, I must say I have the best wife in the world. I love her with all my heart, and even after 12 years of marriage, it is still exciting to be with her. She still is, and always will be, my best friend. She understands how much pleasure cigars give me, how they help me unwind and relax. So even though she doesn't care for the "smell," she gracefully puts up with it.

Back to the story. The other night, our daughter was staying with friends overnight. I was in the den, the sun was just starting to set. My wife came in and sat down next to me on the couch and asked if she could take a few puffs on my cigar. Shocked but happy, I obliged. She even remarked that she kind of liked how it tasted. I told her how nice it was to share something I enjoyed so much with her. She smiled, got up and said "I'll be right back."

A few minutes later, as dusk was setting in, she came in the room again, this time holding two glasses of brandy and wearing an extremely sexy black lace teddy. She sat down next to me, gave me my glass and asked for my cigar. She took my cigar, picked up her glass and sat back in my big, black leather chair. I tell you, the picture of her reclined back, drink in one hand, cigar in the other and in that teddy is still embedded in my memory. What an incredible turn-on!!!

Honor and modesty do not permit me to divulge the events of the next few hours, but suffice it to say that the evening ended with us by the warm glow of the fireplace sharing an Arturo Fuente Petite Corona I had purchased for her months before--just in case.

In conclusion, even though my wife is not, nor probably ever will be, a cigar smoker, she understands how a great smoke can top off a great day. And to all the guys who have wives who "just don't understand," just be considerate and patient. And maybe stash a cigar for her in your humidor--just in case.


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