06 June 2019

[Perrin Lovett] - Death of a Cigar Shop: A Smoke Shop Mirror for America

This one is a little short by my standards. My ultra-secret project is winding down and, honestly, I’m worn out. A new short work of fiction is materializing. As much time as it’s consumed, it’s still not quite ready.

Several ideas for this week presented themselves in due order. One kinda sorta made it, here, today. But, I needed a context. And, brothers and sisters, I found it, in a most unlikely manner, in a most likely place.

I have, for many years now, been a frequent fixture at various cigar shops, from Florida to New Hampshire. This afternoon, with a rare bit of “time off,” I decided to visit one of my former favorites. My purposes were two-fold: to have a smoke and to work on this column. Of the two, the smoking might be going more smoothly:

Picture by Perrin.

The place looks mostly the same as it has for the past seven years since the big relocation in the Summer of 2012. I understand sales have been up. Was it an 18% increase in 2018? 14%? Some increase. The numbers for this year already show an 8% growth. That’s great for the house’s bottom line. Yet, something is different. Some things.

I’ve changed too, these past few years. Whereas I used to come to relax and enjoy the company, now I’m usually working on this infernal little machine. The smoke (sometimes drink) helps. But the relaxation just isn’t here anymore. And, the company has changed a bit.

The past one to two years, at this particular shop and others nationwide, a new demographic has taken up the hobby. To be blunt, they’re louder, less interesting, and maybe a tad cruder than the old-timers. And, at night and on weekends, they bring forth yet another element. If you know what I mean, it’s just a matter of time before a deal goes wrong and the CSI team is in the parking lot. That might not be so good for business.

The old-timers, at this particular place… I’ve written before about the qualities of the men (almost always men) who visit better tobacconists. I’ve said they are smarter than average - and they are. But, right here and now, I’m reminded that “smarter than average” really isn’t all that much. I am literally typing this while listening to the same damned conversation - from the same men - that I’ve heard six (or sixteen) dozen times in the past decade. It’s of events, not of ideas. Ideas are mentioned from time to time, though usually by me. I can talk to myself at home.

It’s off right now (PRAISE GOD!), but Plato’s electronic cave wall lurks nearby. Any other time, any other day, the TeeVee is almost always blaring away, with messages to dull, to hypnotize, and to degrade. The old and the new groups are simply in love with the boob tube. I’m not.

I’m also not grossly obese or overweight. I take no medicines nor suffer any chronic ailments. I am not a boomer. I have less and less use for popular culture (if any). It now occurs to me that it may be as much “me” as it is “them.” Either way, I’ve come to whatever realization this is over many months of study, conscious and otherwise. And, I imagine that when I leave this afternoon, I’m leaving for good. Or, at least, I won’t be hanging out with the crowd (either of them) anymore. Maybe this place now joins the ranks of my grab n’ go sources. I’m not really worried.

So, how does this reflect upon the affairs of a nation? Hell, I’ve gotten this far - with much effort - and I don’t feel like going any further. Just read this article about the new brand of illegal invaders (from countries where IQs average dangerously close to the clinical retardation cutoff line). Then, read about how similar arrivals affect once peaceful, civilized places. Now, consider there is a U.N. plan - which won't ever work to fulfillment - to move about 700 million (that's not a typo nor hyperbole) more such persons into the U.S. in the next few decades... Maybe one can see where I would go with this relationship if I wasn’t tuckered out. I am.


**Quality will resume immediately! And, that bit of new fiction will be exciting and directly related to a slew of current events - with a little twist. It’s not a Tom Ironsides story though it is related to his fictional world. It’s a tale I’ve been trying to pull together for maybe 16 years. Ironsides is rocking along too - I think I’ve got something like 65 (printed) pages of his novel/novella already crafted. More of all of this, soon. Happy June 2019!