…But A Good Cigar Is A Smoke

Jack LaLanne, the man who stayed in shape longer than anybody I’d ever heard about, died yesterday at age 96, which just goes to prove that nobody can outrun the Grim Reaper.  While I certainly admire anyone who can last that long on raw vegetables and 2 hours of strenuous daily workouts, I always felt more akin to a guy like George Burns, who smoked 20 cigars a day and lived to be 100.  I’d like to think George’s longevity was because of the cigars–he did:

“If I’d taken my doctor’s advice and quit smoking when he advised me to, I wouldn’t have lived to go to his funeral.”

The late Groucho Marx lived to be 87, and never lost his fondness for his stogies, although even Groucho had his limits, as evidenced by this apocryphal episode:

The most infamous remark of Groucho’s You Bet Your Life years supposedly occurred when he was interviewing a Mrs. Story, a contestant with a remarkably large number of children.

Groucho: Why do you have so many children? That’s a big responsibility and a big burden.

Mrs. Story: Well, because I love my children, and I think that’s our purpose here on earth, and I love my husband.

Groucho: I love my cigar too, but I take it out of my mouth once in awhile.

Though communist icons such as Karl Marx and Fidel Castro enjoyed their Havanas as much as any robber baron who ever blew smoke in the face of a sweaty wage slave, cigars these days are considered to be Politically Incorrect in the extreme, a favored target of the behavior police who cannot tolerate anyone’s vices except their own.  Cigars horrify liberals almost as much as rare meat, black Republicans, and women in furs.  That should be enough recommendation for anybody to light one up, but here are a few more (from Cigars Magazine):

“A handmade cigar is a rebellion against frenzy and insanity; it means supporting contemplation over rash impulse, and represents a civilized revolution.”
— Steve Worthington

“I drink a great deal. I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar. That is why I am in two-hundred-percent form.”
— Winston Churchill

“Cigars served me for precisely fifty years as protection and a weapon in the combat of life… I owe to the cigar a great intensification of my capacity to work and a facilitation of my self-control.”
— Sigmund Freud

“”If I cannot smoke in heaven, then I shall not go.”
— Mark Twain

About Bob Mack

Retired since 2003. Military Service: U.S. Army, 36th Artillery Group, Babenhausen, Germany 1966-67; 1st Signal Brigade, Republic of Vietnam, 1967-68 Attended University of Miami, 1969-73
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12 Responses to …But A Good Cigar Is A Smoke

  1. samiam60 says:

    Good Morning Bob. Interesting article on Cigars. I always like the smell of a Cigar and to this day it reminds me of one of my favorite Uncles who always had a Cigar in his mouth. Pipe smoke (the legal kind) also brings back memories of people I knew who smoked pipes. Perhap’s one day science will discover that these so called vice’s were not as bad as once thought.

    • Bob Mack says:

      Hey SAMI. One man’s vice is another man’s virtue. I pledge not to interfere with their tofu & sprouts if they’ll promise to leave my cigars & bourbon alone. Secondhand tofu has been known to cause severe distress to lab animals.

  2. While I certainly admire anyone who can last that long on raw vegetables and 2 hours of strenuous daily workouts, I always felt more akin to a guy like George Burns, who smoked 20 cigars a day and lived to be 100.


    I’m with you there! I don’t smoke cigars any more, but I did so in college. 😉

    • Bob Mack says:

      Morning AOW. Can’t resist sharing another Mark Twain story. From Mark Twain At Play:

      Clemens was a heavy smoker, consuming between twenty and forty cigars a day. His only rule, as he joked on his seventieth birthday, was “never to smoke more than one cigar at a time.”

      Smoking not only brought him pleasure, it was essential for his creative process. After (temporarily) giving up the habit while writing Roughing It in 1871, he found himself “seriously obstructed.”

      He could not refrain from smoking even as a houseguest. When visiting Hartford for the first time in 1868 he noted, “I have to smoke surreptitiously when all are in bed, to save my reputation, and then draw suspicion upon the cat when the family detect the unfamiliar odor. . . . So far, I am safe; but I am sorry to say that the cat has lost caste.”

  3. martin says:

    Thanks! I do enjoy cigars and enjoyed this post!

    • Bob Mack says:

      Glad to see you, Martin. I wonder how many of the Founders smoked cigars? In my post, I neglected to mention General U.S. Grant, another illustrious cigar fancier. I’ll remedy that now. From Our Presidents and Cigars in Cigar Aficionado:

      Few men in American history have ever been more closely associated with the cigar than the great celebrity of the late nineteenth century, Ulysses S. Grant, the eighteenth president. Famous first as the Union general who brought the Confederate Army to its knees, Grant was a two-term president almost always caricatured, illustrated, sculpted, or photographed with his beloved cigar. In fact, toward the end of the war, when Grant suffered a particularly severe bout of depression, he wrote that he was so unhappy that he was “eating neither breakfast nor dinner” and he had “not smoked a cigar.”

      Grant was said to smoke 20 cigars a day. His habit increased during the Civil War, after the Battle at Fort Donelson in Tennessee in mid-February 1862. As he later told General Horace Porter, “I had been a light smoker previous to the attack on Donelson …. In the accounts published in the papers, I was represented as smoking a cigar in the midst of the conflict; and many persons, thinking, no doubt, that tobacco was my chief solace, sent me boxes of the choicest brands …. As many as ten thousand were soon received. I gave away all I could get rid of, but having such a quantity on hand I naturally smoked more than I would have done under ordinary circumstances, and I have continued the habit ever since.”

      When the general decided to run for president, his relish for stogies was used as part of his campaign persona, and was even immortalized in the 1868 campaign song, “A Smokin’ His Cigar.” The Democrats tried to use Grant’s cigar against him. One of their ditties had a verse running, “I smoke my weed and drink my gin, playing with the people’s tin.”

  4. TexasFred says:

    My great grandfather smoked, dipped snuff, drank as much whiskey as he could lay hands on, lived on a diet of country cooking (red meat, lots of fried foods, rice, taters, gravy), never worked out and HE lived to be 92…

    And he was HAPPY!

  5. Bob Mack says:

    Well, Fred, there ya go. The proof is in the panatella. Here’s some more happy old folks:

    And a cigar chompin’ optimist who knows how to make the best of things:

  6. Partake in Partagas.

    I just made that up, but Partagas sure were nice when I dabbled in cigars.

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