TPC: The social media method : Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine

TPC: The social media method

By Chuck Stanion

“I had a hell of a time trying to learn how to smoke a pipe, and that’s how it all started,” says Mike Lancaster. He’s tall and muscular, and to say he’s unshaven would be an understatement. His beard seems to sprout like an unruly shrub in all directions at once, much like his endlessly entertaining conversational style, which leaps and twists from one subject to another through quantum, interdimensional avenues to arrive at unexpected ideas that seated web versionpropel him into further stream-of-consciousness excursions, all punctuated with kinetic energy, his arms waving, his pipe bobbing up and down between his teeth, his eyes darting about as if reading a hundred different exploding cartoon thought balloons as he shifts from one foot to the other and back in a dance of sheer enthusiasm. It’s impressive that gravity alone is able to keep him stuck to the planet. You could launch a Saturn V rocket with this guy’s energy.

Lancaster was in his early 30s when he spontaneously decided to stop by the Tinder Box in Salt Lake City on his way home from a visit to the DMV. He’d been thinking about trying a pipe for a few years (his grandfather had smoked a pipe), but he never seemed to have the time. Now, for whatever unconscious reason, he found himself buying a Savinelli second, a full-bent billiard.

“I couldn’t keep the darn thing lit,” he says. “I thought I was doing everything right, but it was awful at first, like so many other pipe smokers can tell you. I’m no different. It was and is a fine pipe, but not the way I was smoking it. It smoked hot, it tasted bad, it kept going out. I read the little pamphlet I’d been given on how to smoke a pipe. I did the charring light, I tamped carefully, I relit, I puffed methodically. But it was awful, just terrible. I didn’t know what I was doing. I needed help.”


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Category: Fall 2014, Feature Article

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