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by William Serad
I am a perfectionist. I freely admit this, though you may not be able to tell from my writing. In some facets of life perfectionism is a good thing. In others, bad. The economic law of marginal utility says that each added unit is worth less than the previous. But recall the words of Vince Lombardi: “Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly pursue perfection, knowing full well that we will not catch it. We are going to relentlessly chase it because in the process we catch excellence. I am not the least bit interested in being good.” So in pursuing perfection, almost invariably we asymptotically approach it but achieve excellence in the process. This is why I appreciate the work of perfectionists, knowing that to be so is both curse and blessing.
A man I have come to know through correspondence with this magazine is a perfectionist. And he has directed his perfectionism toward the enhancement of the pipe in a unique and artistic way. Stanley Nigro is a jeweler and silversmith who has directed his extraordinary talents toward the enhancement of pipes with beautiful silverwork, though he could just as easily use nickel, gold, platinum or other precious metals. He started his pipe collecting in the 10th grade under the influence of his worldly and sophisticated friend Joe from geometry class. He fell in love with Joe’s pipe and wanted one too.
During the 1980s, Mr. Nigro collected pipes, but only as a background activity for his exploration of cigars. In the exhaustive way of perfectionists, he learned all he could about cigars, from leaf sourcing and growing to rolling and storage. He became an expert in premium cigars. During this time, he came to realize that there is a certain bandwidth of flavors for cigars, a section of the spectrum of tobacco flavors that they occupy. And for an explorer, this ultimately becomes boring.
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