Cigar Aficionado

Cigar Lovers Are Everywhere

How many times have you started up a conversation with someone, only to discover that the other person is a cigar smoker?

It happened to me yesterday, in one of the more unlikely places you can imagine: a CT scan room.

I am undergoing a series of medical exams in honor of my 55th birthday, which is soon. I’ve been poked, and jabbed and examined in just about every way possible. (Which, by the way, I recommend all of you stop putting off…better safe than sorry.) One of the things my doctor suggested was a CT scan of my chest, because of what I do for a living, testing and rating cigars.

I was called into the CT room by the operator, and he began a series of questions by asking, “So, why are we here today?” I laughed and said with a grin, “because I’m the editor of Cigar Aficionado and my doctor thought it was a good idea to have a look at my lungs.” The operator turned, looked over his glasses and said, ‘You’re kidding.” I wasn’t, and we proceeded to talk about how many Big Smokes he had been to, and how before he moved, he attended gatherings at a cigar club in New Jersey, and how his father was from Pinar del Río in Cuba, and he grew up with the smell of cigars in his hair and on his clothes. The conversation ranged from where you can still smoke today in New York to his erroneous conclusion that we could no longer hold the Big Smoke in New York at the Marriott Marquis.

He then reminded me what he reminds every patient who goes in for a CT scan. The message was pretty simple; we are going to find something that you didn’t know was there and then it's up to you and your doctor about what to do. I said I knew that, but I thought it was important to get a baseline now.

I had the scan. No word from the radiologist yet, but nothing jumped out at the operator, my new friend, other than a few small predictable things that fell into the category of peripheral findings. But knowing he was a fellow traveler in the world of handrolled cigars, I felt a lot more comfortable knowing he was taking an extra long look at the original results. And, as we parted ways, I told him I’d be looking for him at the Big Smoke.

How many times has something like that happened to you?

"I agree it doesn't happen often; but to my suprise, I ran into my Doctor at a CAO tasting event. So every now and than we compare notes." —October 19, 2007 18:13 PM