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Pipe Smoking Making a Comeback???

..................................Actually, this IS a pipe...

As a pipe smoker, I feel I should point out to all two of you who still read this august blog that the Wall Street Journal today ran a story about pipe smoking. The story says, basically, that pipe smoking, once the province of old men, is now catching-on amongst people in their 20s. It said that the downturn in the economy may have something to do with it, because pipe smoking is a cheaper than cigarette smoking.

I don't believe people are making a conscious choice to switch to the pipe because cigarettes are more expensive. No one thinks to themselves, "Gee, cigarettes went up 50 cents. Time to buy a corncob pipe and a sack of 'baccy!" For one thing, the sensations aren't equivalent. Pipe smoking is much less immediate, much less jolting, packing nowhere near the "fix" you get from cigarettes. Still, some people try to wean themselves off cancer sticks by smoking a pipe, which does sometimes work.

I personally think its just one of those brief blips in popularity that happens when college kids glom onto some out-dated activity. A few years ago, young women were taking up knitting again, so much so that I used to see it on the subway in New York. To my knowledge, the "fad" has died back down (if it hasn't I'd love to know about it). So I don't believe there's any real danger of a serious, sustained pipe smoking mania coming back into vogue amongst young people, or amongst any people. Pipe smoking is just too laborious, and requires to much ritual to be absorbed by popular culture. And furthermore, thank God...

The worst thing that could happen to any kind of "cult" activity or product is that it become embraced by mainstream culture. Corporations then proceed to mass market it and make it absolutely palatable to everyone. Everyone starts doing it, and it flourishes for a brief time...right before people become absolutely sick of it and start hating it, bankrupting the last company that got into the business of selling it. Just like when [some company] bought the rights to the very sucessful George Foreman Grill franchise and then went belly-up...because everyone already had a George Foreman Grill. Do you see anyone using them now? Exactly.

So, as nice as it is to see something about pipes in the mainstream news, I'd just as soon not hear about it. Let pipe smoking remain the activity of old grandfathers, cartoon characters, romantics, and Hugh Hefner. There'll always be a market for it, but that market will always be small and very select, and that's the way it should stay.

But, if you want to buy a pipe, I've got a fine selection of them for sale...

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