Friday, May 21, 2010

Pierced, or sliced, Sir?

Cigars seemed have been part of my life forever. My Dad smoked cigars all the time; he even went swimming with a lit cigar in his mouth, doing a strange sidestroke to keep it lit.

At twelve years old, I started sneaking cigars and going to the beach at night with a couple of friends to smoke them. We would climb up on the empty lifeguard chairs, smoke cigars and look at the sea. I still occasionally do that, from my terrace. Part of the early cigar smoking experience was throwing up. I persisted and eventually got past that stage.

As I progressed, the cigars Pop smoked, and I stole,(White Owls) were replaced with Cuban cigars. The first one I smoked was in England. Our perks at that time were a box of cigars each, for the directors.

Ah, London in the Sixties.

I was a cigar smoker almost exclusively. When I was In Spain later, I smoked about 4 Montechristos a day. I loved them and the romance and ritual of cigars. I liked the myth that they were rolled on the inner thighs of mulatto virgins, all that stuff about the bands. It made smoking more enjoyable.

I do not want to hear anything about health during this blog.

In the sixties in London I worked with some printers. Other than the occasional pub time with them, we were invited to a special Christmas lunch with them and the owner of the firm, he was a Lord or something.

They took us to Claridges, an amazing old hotel in Mayfair. We had a fabulous lunch, with some great wine, and with the brandy came the cigars. They were presented on a rolling trolley, dozens of boxes of Cuban cigars, thousands of pounds worth. I was offered a cigar first; I picked a cigar that looked like a California Redwood. As the cigars went around the table, I bit the tip of mine off. The supercilious waiter came around to me with this amazing machine, and with this patronizing accent asked me
“Sliced or pierced sir?”
I looked up and said, “I bit it.” The owner of the printing firm asked me, “Would you like another?” God that pissed me off, he was a Lord and he was worse than the waiter, his work from McCann would be cut.

I later learned that good cigars have a cap at the end and it is perfectly acceptable to snip it off with your nail, or EVEN BITE IT OFF. So the kid from Coney Island wasn’t such a schmuck.

I thought a good idea for a cigar cutter would be a set of false teeth made out of silver, to trim your cigars.

I wish I had the courage to tell that snotty waiter when he asked me “sliced or pierced sir,” to say, “just bite it buddy!"


  1. Hilarious! I love the end!

  2. Stop being so pre-occupied with cigars. Just be honest and come out of the closet.

    Very funny story.

  3. my dad used to smoke cigars.. until he came to his senses ;-)

  4. Listen, I thought we agreed, no health comments