My Days as a Smoker Were Short-Lived, but Pungent
When I first came to Southern California at the tail end of 1966, I thought I needed an image makeover. Here I was, a graduate student in the Film Department at UCLA, but after my brain surgery, I still looked like a high-school student, and a freshman at that!
The obvious solution was to take up smoking. Now I didn’t like cigarettes, so I decided to concentrate on pipes and cigars. And I didn’t go in for the sweet-smelling tobaccos. I wanted something that would give people an impression of me.
Unfortunately, the impression I made was of someone who was not afraid of creating a stench. I remember walking into a seminar taught by a professor I didn’t like and populated with students I also didn’t like. For that, I went in for a Bering Imperial cigar, which came in an aluminum tube to hold in the acrid smell. I played with the cigar for a few minutes, then lit the fuse. I was not popular in that class, but I aced it nonetheless.
Death in an Aluminum Tube
Another favorite at that time were Wolf Brothers’ rum-soaked cigars. ’Nuff said.
I also smoked a pipe, but I went in for Balkan Sobranie pipe tobacco. It wasn’t cheap, but it make a clear olfactory impression.
My smoking habit lasted for only a few months. The fact of the matter was that I didn’t enjoy it any more than did the people who were on the receiving end of my abortive experiment. Fortunately, I was able to stop smoking before I became addicted to my hand-held instruments of aggression.