This Christmas, I Smoked A Cigar

Here's looking at you, kid.
Christmas 2003 I got a double-fistful of Cuban cigars from my aunt. It was the most amazingly 'out of left field' gift that season! What a hoot! That alone was worth it.

So now I'm thinking..."today's a slow day, New Year's Eve is tomorrow...what would it be like?" I haven't smoked anything in 24 years. Last week I'd followed a guy smoking a joint on the street. But that was it.

Erring on the side of caution, I saw off an inch from the tip of one of these beauties [fake or real Cohibas, they have a very sweet aroma], and put it in a pipe. I'm sitting out on the balcony, and light up. Blue smoke! euphoria! This is great! I'm in love!

This eternal state lasts 15 minutes. Then I feel my chest constrict. My head is lightened considerably. I sink backwards. I feel an ominous rumbling in my lower depths. I stand up with effort. I am off-plumb by 10 degrees. Stumbling in to the can, I drop trou and unsteadily release the Chocolate Hostage. I sit there for a while, while time shifts from Cretaceous to Jurassic. I stand up, uncertainly. Mr Nausea makes an appearance and I call Uncle Ralph on the Big White Phone.

Looking at the wreck of my reflection in the bathroom mirror, I brush my teeth with the my remaining disposable brain-cells. I stumble back out on the balcony, fall in the chair and pass out.

I came to 30min later. My mouth is oily. I'm hammered. I get up, run some errands on my bike. I'm praying for an oxygen displacement. I come back home and fall down again, this time for an hour.

It takes over 24 hours for the taste to leave my body. I realize, with a mixture of regret and relief, that sometimes you can't go back. I recall with fondness the most excellent education I got the summer of '73 in Havana when I smoked Cuban cigars, drank the mojitos, and managed to get over it. Now I've got as pink a lung as I'm going to have here in the LA Metro area, and it's not the same.

The upshot is that I will happily give them away, so that people who want to enjoy them can. I say happily, remembering the sour bad manners of one Jack Miller in 1973 when presented with a box of Cubans as a wedding gift. He loudly told all and sundry to "come and get them".

I did. That was the first time I smoked real tobacco instead of the loose-leaf burning tires I had been exposed to earlier.


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