The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Monday, March 19, 2018

34 and Grumpy as Hell

Today is Day 34 of my journey. 

For some reason, today has been rough.  I *did* do my run, all five miles.  I have thus far refrained from the briar, which seems pointless to me at the moment, but I still persevere.  I have gone to work, did my work, etc. Blah, blah, blah.

I feel ornery and out of sorts.  I cannot seem to shake it.  I did not have the most restful of sleep last night, so perhaps that is part of the damn problem.  But, I can usually shake that sort of thing off by trying hard. 

Truth be told, if I had my druthers at the moment... and if I did not have the degree of impulse control I have... I would quit my job, drive down to Florida, Arizona, Tijuana, or some such local, start smoking my pipe again, and my wife and I could start anew with a condo or apartment and just start doing as we damn well please.  Oh, and I would need to win the lottery first too.

Copious whisky, wine, food galore, song, pipes, plenty of amorous activities with my wife.  A Life of Riley, going to movies, to theater, etc.  Going fishing anytime I damn well wanted to as well.

But, this fantasy is just a pipe dream.... and a pipe is something I cannot have.



Friday, March 16, 2018

Another of My Favorite Shapes

Several days ago I linked to a photograph of the most abundant and prized pipe shape in my large collection.  It was the half bent billiard shape.  Today, I show an image of my next favorite shape of pipe I like to smoke.  This is sometimes called a "Dublin" or a "Woodstock" pipe.

These two pipe shapes are by far the favorites that I have and of each type I have many examples of each, all cherished in various ways. 

The image is, to me very artistic and pleasant to look at.  Even though today is Day 31 of NOT smoking a pipe, given my druthers, I would like to be smoking one of my pipes right now. 


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Food for Thought

Pat McDowell wrote in my comments section asking several very valuable ideas I have been contemplating.  Below, I attempt to answer:

Statement 1:  Did your father or father-in-law ever come to the point at which they regretted their pipe-smoking? If so, then perhaps you could frame your choice to quit as your way of letting them live vicariously through you. They didn't quit, but they will be with you in spirit as your well-wishers as you abstain.

Neither my father nor my father-in-law regretted their pipe smoking in any sense that I was aware.  Both individuals passed away from issues not related to their pipe smoking.  In a spiritual sense, I believe both would be well-wishers for me to do what I feel is my path.  Both my father and father-in-law have been and continue to be individuals whom I look up to as wise, gentle men from whom I have learned a great deal in terms of how to "be" in life.

The "be" part is perhaps interesting to consider from my perspective.  I cannot say really what is "normal" in terms of feelings and emotions, but for me it seems that much of my life has been guided by the ideas of a) trying to find my "place" in life, b) trying to be a person who does what is right or good (aka the Don Quixote mindset), and c) trying to be capable and focused on doing something noteworthy or valuable or significant in life.

The reality of what I feel inside is that I rarely feel "comfortable" if that is the right word.  I always have in the back of my mind this gnawing sense that I am not working, or living, or loving, or doing enough in life and that I am on a constant trajectory toward "failure" if I do not watch myself carefully and consistently.  Since I really cannot fully know what is going on in anyone else's mind other than my own, I do not know if those feelings are just par for the course and everyone feels that way.  But, from the surface, I have always felt that my father and my father-in-law  were quite "comfortable" in their own skin. And their pipes and pipe smoking were always a part of them from the entirety of time I knew them.  In some ways, when I would visit them, it was always associated with a sense of quiet and camaraderie. 

In a significant way, I view my relationships with both of them as great friendships that felt easy, comfortable, and good.  I have a few collegue type friends of this sort as well, but they (as is frequent in academia) are flung to far distant areas of the nation and our friendships were developed in graduate school.  On the occasions where we go to the same research meeting, it is a great experience in much the same way only without the family connection as well.

* * * 

Statement 2:  On the other hand, if your father and father-in-law remained content to the end as pipe-smokers, I suspect you would need to make an impossible emotional break with them in order to persist without your pipes. You sometimes judge yourself rather harshly for smoking your pipes, but are you prepared to judge your father and father-in-law with equal harshness? If you can judge them so harshly, you have some hope of quitting; if not, you truly are a pipe-smoker and should just relax into the habit/hobby. 

I think it is interesting to think about the statement you made about an "emotional break".  In some ways, I feel that this "break" of sorts is something that has been foisted upon me simply by their respective deaths.  I have the loss of their companionship.  Perhaps I am working through realizing this break HAS occurred and their is not a damn thing I can do about it, except perhaps try to keep the tenuous spiritual links present in my thoughts.

You are correct that a part of my continuing to smoke my pipe for all these many decades is due to memories of my father (who passed away over 25 years ago).  But, the pipe also has symbolized more for me as well.  It has been something that I have always enjoyed.  It has, over the many decades been somewhat of  a definition of who I am, at least externally,  to many folks.

* * *  

Statement 3:  Perhaps, once you give up the idea of quitting, you can then give yourself permission to moderate and adjust this treasured hobby that connects you with your loved ones. With your father and father-in-law gone, surely some of your old "rituals" are also gone. Maybe you can establish new rituals that will connect you with the departed, satisfy your physical cravings, and also fit in with the practicalities of your current life.

Giving up the idea of quitting is a very pleasant idea.  Yet, at the same time, I do also know that in this day-and-age, and probably to an extent because of my own personality... I doubt I would ever be able to simply accept in a comfortable way just living life as a pipe smoker.  I would very likely retain the doubts about my decision (even as I enjoy that decision), would still have fears and worries about smoking a pipe (even as I enjoy smoking a pipe), and would likely berate myself for the choice (even as I would enjoy the choice).

But, in the same way, I believe just as realistically that if I did jump into quitting "for life" that I would have doubts about the decision (as I regret not smoking a pipe), would worry that I was missing what I consider a simple pleasure (as I refrain), and would regularly regret the loss of a part of "me" (as I work to become the different, non-pipe smoking me). 

* * *

So.... damn... I have been awfully wordy here.... without accomplishing much.  But, the above does represent how my mind has been thinking through a lot of this.  Pat, I do thank you for your help and advice.  It does help me to more carefully examine my thoughts.


Monday, March 12, 2018

27 Days....

I am not sure why exactly, but the #27 has always been a number that I have viewed positively.  So, I am hoping that is how today will go for me.... positively and joyfully.   Today represents the 27th day I have gone without smoking a pipe. 

I did resist the urge to smoke my pipe on Sunday, even though technically it would be allowed within the Lenten rules.  I truly thought about it several times and had one really "close call" where I was seriously contemplating filling up the bowl of the cleaned pipe I have been carrying around as a sort of "pacifier" during this effort. 

I truly am unsure how to create the same damn, dogged, stubborn determination to refrain that I have now (because of the Lenten vow) to after Easter morning.  And, that lack of seeing a path in how to have myself have the same sort of gumption.... it makes me believe I will go back to the pipe.... because part of me would like that very much.... but another part of me would like to quit forever. 

I ran very comfortably this morning.  I almost decided to go outside and run, but with the temperature being a bit "iffy" in regards to whether there would be ice or rain on the sidewalks, and the light snowfall we had over the last few days, I was thinking it would be too risky to run in the dark... being a klutz, the risk was high that I would slip and break a leg or crack my head open.  So, I ran my 5 miles inside again. 


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Day 26

Today is Day 26 of my journey without pipes.  It seems to be a bigger struggle for me the last two or three days.  I have had intensely beautiful dreams of me smoking my pipe while I sleep.  I wake up in the morning with those dreams in my memory and I admit I feel sad.

Technically, this being Sunday, the Lenten vow is not required to be held to count on the vow, so I could smoke my pipe if I wanted to do so. I have not done so on any prior Lenten Sunday thus far.  But, I feel tempted to do so today.  Of course, to try to get completely away from the pipe, I should not smoke today.  I will see if I can hold off, but it is difficult.

I can also really sense how this may continue to be a big struggle, especially come Easter morning when the vow is complete.  I really need to be better prepared if I plan to continue to refrain beyond that point. With all sincerity, I do not want to continue to refrain at the moment..... even though I damn well know I should.  How do I change my mind to want to contine refraining after Lent?!?


Thursday, March 08, 2018

Day 23 Musings

It has now been 23 days since I have last indulged in my pipes.  Even though it may not seem like much of an accomplishment.... it has been a very long time for me. 

I am thinking that I really need to get thinking in my mind more specifically what my game plan will be once Easter arrives in a little over three weeks.  Even though I would rather be smoking my pipes now, I do know that I have a reasonably good handle on the situation right now and can probably succeed in maintaining my "sans pipe" status through Lent. 

But, what will happen AFTER Lent?  As I stated before, there is a part of me who hopes to use this effort as starting off point to completely give up my pipes even after Lent.  But, there is also a part of me that wants to pick up a pipe on Easter Morning. 

I am at a loss at the moment on how to proceed.  I see too many different avenues.  I need to think this through some more, group ideas a bit, and narrow and figure out the actual options down to a managable few so that I can then decide how best to proceed. 


Tuesday, March 06, 2018


The above image is that of the most common style and shape of pipe I have in my collection.  I must have perhaps a dozen pipes of this same basic shape from a variety of different pipe manufacturers.  It is a style I have always found very pleasant.  It holds easily in my mouth.  The curve allows it to be gripped comfortably for long periods of time.  And, its smooth texture is pleasing to my eye. 

I miss smoking these pipes the most.