Know the rules of the game

In many aspects of life there are unwritten rules.  For guys there’s fighting in hockey, “you hit my batter I hit your batter” in baseball, and flashing your headlights at oncoming traffic when you see a policeman.  For ladies there are rules about wearing the same clothes as another woman and something about white shoes after Labor Day.

On the other hand, there are many rules that are written out and they exist for the optimal cohesion of society.  Without them our society and culture are utter chaos.

I am part of a prestigious group of men who gather to enjoy some of the finer things life has to offer and to discuss the complexities of life.  We are in process of developing a set of “house rules” to better facilitate some of our activities.  They are adapted from this list put together by the men at Romeo’s Downtown Pipe and Tobacco in Rogers, AR.

1. Any tobacco product or accessory on the table may be used by anyone in attendance.  A smoker who uses another’s tobacco need not ask permission but must offer some commentary on the blend.  Pipes are excluded from general use but may be fondled and ogled at any time, again with commentary.

a. In extreme cases, it is permissible to share pipes, but definitely not encouraged.  Those sharing should be family or closer.

b. Anyone given a standing offer to help himself or herself to a friend’s tobacco need never ask for permission.  However, it is still necessary to acknowledge the taking of said tobacco.  A simple “I stole a cigar” shall suffice.

c. Matches and lighters should be shared without hesitation, but a smoker should only hold the lighter while lighting for a member of the opposite sex.

2. You can make fun of someone who is providing you free tobacco, but you shouldn’t if you want that to continue.

3. Corncob pipes are still pipes, unless they are from China.

4. When showing off a new pipe, it is permissible to comment on its uniqueness, its craftsmanship, or the ridiculously low price paid for it.  It is not acceptable to show off a new pipe to brag about how much you spent or how impressive a pipe you can afford.

5.  Pipes, cigars and cigarettes may be used as pointers to enhance a discussion or monologue, or in physical expression of general pontification.  They may never be used as swords.  Pretending they are light sabers may result in expulsion from the IOD.

6. Since the I.O.D. exists, in part, for the enjoyment of tobacco, anyone who chooses to comment negatively about the smell of smoke will be put on an I.O.D. probation.  If the person coughs or in any other way tries to “make a point” they shall be permanently banned from the I.O.D.  If they cough, trying to make a point, and all cigars and pipes are not yet lit, there will most likely be a physical beating.

7. Any smoker insisting others use any high-end product, be it pipe or cigar or tobacco or accessory, should supply it.  Anyone not willing to buy a Dunhill needs to keep quiet about them.

8. Should an amber jump out of your bowl or fall off your stogie and land on your favorite shirt, proper etiquette is to brush it away quickly, not jump up and do the hokey pokey dance while bumping in to the tin, the pipe racks and everyone else.

9. A smoker should not be overly concerned when the smoking of a stout, nicotine-heavy blend causes the room to spin. For many smokers, that is the total extent of their exercise.

10. Size and technique don’t matter. Attitude does.

11. Politics and religion may only be discussed so long as you can still share tobacco.

12. Smoking a cigar around pipe smokers and vice versa is encouraged, but anyone who lights a cigarette when higher quality tobaccos are readily available invites the mocking of his or her peers.

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