Monday, August 5, 2013

Florida Smokes

Like a pendulum do.

I don't smoke, see. I said it before but I guess nobody heard me. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy a fine cigar after a good meal or with the morning coffee, of course, nor does it prevent me from bumming an occasional Nat Sherman from a gal-pal while propping up the bar and throwing back glasses of you-know-what at you-know-where.

But that doth not a smoker make. Compared to my chain-smoking chums, I'm just a poseur in the smokeshop sweepstakes. Though I am able to experience anything, I don't feel any inclination to be tethered to any traits. As much as they say nicotine is so frightfully addictive ("they" are wrong), I don't find myself craving it. Never ever had a nic fit. I don't even keep tobacco around the house, except for an old tin of European-style Snuff in my camera case. I don't have the time or the patience to maintain my desk humidor properly these days, so I just drop in on the tobacconist whenever I know a good cigar might be in order for the day's festivities. And I tend to observe @DaByrdman33's "Three Minute Rule" when it comes to cigars, unlike most who frantically herf 'em down as fast and as hard as possible. I'm not really a smoker, though my good friends in the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormon communities would likely disagree.

I said all that to say all this:

I love Florida, but man, the smoking scene here is rougher than you might expect. Though cigars are more plentiful here than any other state in the union, you still have to hustle around a bit to find a primo smokeshop with a superior selection in the humidor. Although Florida doesn't have a reprehensible smoking ban like Louisville, they do have a recent $1 tax on already-pricey cigarettes that would instill pride in the pirates who explored the state back in the good old days. Forget it, I'll go back to 1902 if they'll have me, and smoke Cubebs with John Carter of Mars.

Something as all-American as cigarettes have now become so prohibitively expensive to many people in Florida that they're willing to try new cockamamie options like the electronic cigarette, which is about as realistic a substitute for tobacco as a fleshlight is a substitute for a girlfriend.

With Florida being the cigar capital of the nation - although Jacksonville is the home of Swisher Sweets, those gas-station blunts for people who think grape and blueberry flavored cigars is just a stellar idea - you'd think there wouldn't be any need for sensible people to smoke really God-awful crap like 305. Being locally made in Miami by a small local company, I wish I could support 'em the same way I do Kentucky's Best, but 305s are honestly the nastiest death utensils it's ever been my privilege to puff.

That honor would be taken by another Florida product, Remington, except they claim to be a cigar, not a cigarette, as a means of trying to exempt itself from the cigarette tax. Very clever, but tastes awful, Sir. They seem to be just another Z-grade poverty-level cig that's covered in cigar wrapper rather than white paper. And they taste like pencil shavings wrapped in bathroom tissue. In Haiti.

My fellow Kentuckians and Transylvanians back home in Kentucky should count their blessings that though they have various and sundry crosses to bear up there in the dark and bloody ground, at least we know a thing about a thing or two when it comes to tobacco. I think I'll nip down to Jacksonville's Tobacco Cove and partake of the sacrament right now, in fact; I'm starting to have a nic fit.

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