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