Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Michael Jordan, July/August 2005
(continued from page 1)
It was a few years ago when I last wrote to you. You featured my letter in the issue with the baseball player seated on the front cover [April 1999]. Much has happened in the world since then, and to me as well. 1999 was my Y2K: a separation, bankruptcy, business loss and divorce. My deep humidor, filled with every size and shape of OpusXs, had to be sold for much needed liquid capital, along with my appetite for such cigars. Times were good for some Americans, but not for me.
I eventually got back on my feet after crawling for a while. By 2001, in June on summer vacation while in Santorini, Greece, I rediscovered the pleasures of a good smoke. Montecristo No. 4 was the one that started it all over. Before I knew it, Ramon Allones was my new best friend. Every trip abroad was a "souvenir safari" for gifts to my cigar buddies back home. I completely understand Alec Baldwin when he says how he likes to share stellar cigars with fellow aficionados. I never give a fellow cigar smoker a cigar that I would not wish to smoke as well.
Right now I am enjoying my first Don Carlos No. 2—it is most excellent! I find the Añejo and Don Carlos lines to be my favorites of all the great Fuentes. Especially when I am not in the best cigar mood. Unfortunately, I just received my IRS tax "liability bill" from my CPA, and it may be cigar-quitting time again. This time, it's going to be a "Star Cigars Sale." Life may be too short to smoke cheap cigars. So I choose to smoke none if I cannot afford great ones, and share the rare ones when I can.
Harry N. Bobotis
Anderson, South Carolina
We live in the world of the nanny. And as you rightly cry, we should all, indeed, be shouting ENOUGH! [Editor's Note, April 2005].
I am an Englishman currently working and residing in the Cayman Islands. In England, buying tobacco requires (a) a mortgage and (b) a strong sense of resilience to be greeted by packaging bearing a skull and crossbones and informing one of imminent death upon consuming the purchase. Cayman is moving that way. You in the U.S. are way, way, way down the path to an Orwellian society.
This nanny factor needs to be treated on a par with it being its own weapon of mass destruction. So this morning, I went to my Cuban cigar dealer here in Grand Cayman—Havana House and its owner Jamie Pineda—and over a Montecristo "A" and Cuban coffee, chatted and came up with the following thoughts on the issue of state nannying, which I will bundle into a generic heading of "safety."
It was that exceedingly wise hector, Schiller, who said: "Our safety lies not in blindness, but in facing our dangers."
According to the Panchatantra—an ancient collection of Sanskrit tales written to teach good conduct to princes—"safety is the greatest gift in the world, better than the gift of a cow, of land or of food." Most would agree, thinking how dangerous a place the world seems, beset as it is by acts of terrorism, by natural and man-made disasters, by the fatalities of war and, it now seems, by smoking cigars. For people in quarters of the globe usually as peaceful as they are rich, like the Cayman Islands, it is something new to have perils like Ivan and threats like cigar smoking pressing so closer, distorting the contours of a psychological landscape that once seemed pleasantly familiar and comfortably safe.