Premium cigar aficionados need a good laugh as much as anyone--especially in these troubled economic times. So here are a few of the funniest recent news stories touching on the world of premium cigars. Call these the jests in Lady Nicotine's court.
First up, there's the case of the man who loved his premium cigar too much. Is such a thing possible? Well, if it leads to mug shots being taken, the answer is yes. We all like to save money on our premium cigars now and then--which is why it's especially important to have a discount premium cigar store saved to your "Favorites" list on your web browser. But when you're stealing boxes of premium cigars from your local gas station, you're not a cigar aficionado--you're just a stick-up artist.
Newspapers report that exactly this scenario unfolded recently near Palm Beach, Florida, where a man wearing a black ski mask (just like in the movies) robbed a local Citgo at gunpoint. He made off with all the cash in the register--and a cigar box. Nothing else. No candies, condoms or air fresheners; no auto parts, magazines, or food. This guy must have known exactly what he was after. Points to him for the depth and degree of his cigar appreciation, but not for his way of showing it.
Unfortunately, the name of the cigar brand that he chose to rip off has not been released to the public. Hope they can recoup the loss--and that the poor attendant who was robbed has recovered from the trauma.
A similar incident was recently reported in Rosenberg, Texas. This case involved a seventeen-year-old man burgling eighty dollars' worth of cigars from a local Shamrock station. Hopefully this young man's parents can straighten him out--and at least this robbery didn't involve holding anyone at gunpoint. The same goes for a Howell, New Jersey incident in which four men--ages 21, 34, 35, and 36--bypassed the gas station entirely and went straight for a cigar shop. (Greater age, apparently, does not bring wisdom.) Reports are unclear concerning whether a fourth similar robbery--this one occurring in Youngstown, Ohio, the birthplace of poets Kenneth Patchen and Hart Crane--involved the threat of assault with a deadly weapon; in this case, a pair of men with their hands in their pockets (as if carrying guns) robbed a local Speedway, making off with fifty-five cigars of a brand that I won't name, except to say that it wasn't exactly a premium brand.
If only all these folks had known that many premium cigars are also available at a discount via the Internet. Ordering premium discount cigars online is a much better deal than having to come up with fifty thousand dollars in bail each--which is the bail set by Howell, New Jersey, police for the four men involved in the cigar store robbery, who were apprehended and charged before the break-in could become a reality.
In other funny cigar-related news, economic crises often breed a certain entrepreneurial ingenuity--the inventor of Monopoly came up with the game to kill time during a Depression-era lay-off, for example--and these days, that same ingenuity is combining with widespread anti-smoking sentiment to create the electronic cigar. An American company is making a tobacco-free, no-secondhand-smoke-producing doohickey that (they claim) allows smokers to enjoy the pleasures of smoking without actually smoking. The prospects for this one don't appear especially bright, but the funny mental picture it creates may be worth something.
Though he, too, had an entrepreneurial streak (he created many inventions, most of which failed financially, including a breakdown-prone typesetting machine that was supplanted by the Linotype), the great Mark Twain is one premium cigar aficionado whom one can't imagine touching such a device with a ten-foot pole. Some of Twain's private and unpublishable writing--the kind that he literally kept in a box, knowing it would ruin his reputation--has just seen print, finally, as the hundredth anniversary of the father of American literature's death approaches. Among these pieces is a long "interview" between Twain and Satan that features many of the former's reflections on cigars. For premium cigar aficionados, it is must reading. The book is entitled Who Is Mark Twain?
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