Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
maduro issue, Winter 93/94
After my first wife died, I made a habit of smoking my first cigar in bed before breakfast. When I was making the decision for my second marriage, I wanted to make sure that I would still be able to continue to do this, so as part of our prenuptial agreement, it was included that I could smoke a cigar before breakfast in my bed. However, I was very accommodating. I had an air conditioner installed right over my head, and I'd put the fan on so it would draw out most of the smoke.
Sidney E. Frank
New Rochelle, New York
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I'm sitting in my office this morning with a cup of coffee, a Hoyo de Monterrey and CIGAR AFICIONADO. While reading letters from my cigar-smoking compatriots, what a relief to discover that I am not alone.
Having smoked cigars for more than 20 years, I have experienced every form of abuse you could imagine. My wife and family are insidious in their disdain. My employees accept it only for obvious reasons. Strangers are abusive and often militant.
Over the years, I have retreated (with many cigars) to the only remaining safe haven: my office. It is here, I decided, that I would make my last stand. Resolute yet courteous, I even made an effort to accommodate visitors to my office on the top floor of a 22-story building. I had a very powerful exhaust blower installed directly over my desk. Days later, building management conducted a search to discover the origin of the cigar scent throughout the building. They discovered that the installers, instead of venting through the roof, had vented to the mechanical shaft that runs from the top to the bottom of the building. Each time an elevator ran, it created a vacuum, which sucked the air (and my cigar smoke) down the mechanical shaft, spreading it throughout the building.
Imagine my surprise and anger! More than 600 building occupants had been participating in my private moments of unadulterated bliss. I felt violated. My indignation increased with the realization that these people were undeserving of the experience. I had unknowingly exposed them to the scent of a culture that they could never hope to comprehend.
Needless to say, I took quick, decisive action to assure that these malcontents would never have such an opportunity again. Brutal, yes, but they caused my exile, and I'll be damned if they will share my private pleasure.
Philip N. Spencer
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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Your response to the woman who was concerned about the possible ill-health effect of cigar smoking might have been incomplete. There are at least two other factors that must be considered in the cigar/pipe versus cigarette debate. The first factor is easy to understand: cigarettes contain many carcinogenic ingredients. Cigars and pipe tobacco, on the other hand, will be recognized in 20 or 25 years as one of the most benign products extant: all natural ingredients, 100 percent biodegradable, replenishable and salutary.
The second factor is, perhaps, much more telling. For purposes of life-insurance coverage, pipe and cigar smokers who don't smoke cigarettes can receive the nonsmokers' preferred rate from many companies. Think about that. The people who pay actuaries very good money to know precisely when you can be expected to drop dead have determined that pipe and cigar smoking is not detrimental to health. Need more be said?
San Francisco, California
Editor's Response: You're absolutely right. Let's go one step further. If any cigar or pipe-only smokers are not getting preferred rates from their insurance company, they can switch to one that provides it. Send the message that you want equal treatment. Some insurance companies that do not penalize cigar smokers are Northwestern Mutual Life, American General and Prudential. There are many others too. Check them out.
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I was introduced to your magazine and cigar smoking during the summer on a weekend visit with a friend. After witnessing his delight in a good cigar and the new issue of CIGAR AFICIONADO, I became interested in developing my own appreciation for cigars.
Upon returning home from my visit, I immediately went out and bought an issue for myself. I took it home to my father, whom I had known to enjoy an occasional cigar. To his surprise, I told him I wanted to try a cigar with him sometime. Within that same week, he and I were standing outside on a clear, quiet evening, smoking a cigar. I don't think that sharing a cigar with his 21 -year-old daughter was something my father ever expected to do, but that is exactly what we did throughout the summer.
I have since moved to a place of my own to begin graduate school, 900 miles away from my dad. I know that our cigar smoking was a special exchange that few fathers and daughters share, and it is an event that I look forward to taking place again. I believe that he and I would not have taken up cigar smoking had it not been for the way your magazine has presented the beauty of the cigar and the pleasure it provides.
I have just furnished my new apartment with a new copy of the summer CIGAR AFICIONADO, and I have christened this home with its first cigar. I have also ordered subscriptions for myself and my father.
CIGAR AFICIONADO is a lovely magazine, and it is almost as relaxing as the cigar itself. Because I am a student with a tendency to stress out constantly, you can imagine happiness at finding such calming pastimes as smoking a cigar and reading this magazine.
Editor's Response: It's great to know that there are young women like you out there who understand.
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For more than a decade, my company was blessed with dramatic and sustained growth, only to be staggered by the economic downturn of the '90s. The fact that I have gone from 100 employees to two is sufficient evidence of the fall.
Prior to a recent meeting with bankers to whom we are in default, my attorney warned me not to arrive in a luxury car or to wear an expensive suit, gold watch, or carry a pocketful of my beloved Davidoffs. Sound advice, which nevertheless depressed me as I reflected that it had, indeed, "come to this."
Every success often becomes meaningless, or worse, a taunting reminder in the face of failure. Adjusting to reality may be a painful, guilt-ridden but necessary trip on the road to recovery. I found myself questioning my right to smoke fine cigars and began to buy much cheaper ones, thus feeding my dour mood. A friend pointed out that I was doing everything possible to help the situation and should not deny myself the occasional satisfaction of a great dinner and a fine cigar. I took his advice.
Marvin, I love your magazine. I once fit on the high end of your readers' profile, and I hope to be there again. I'm sure you have many other subscribers who are similarly afflicted. To them, my best advice is not to punish yourself for things that are now history. Don't succumb to the false economy of smoking cheap cigars; instead, enjoy your favorites on a less frequent basis and think of it as a temporary setback.
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