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.

Friday, December 06, 2019


Well.  I did not really feel like trying to sort this all out the last several days.  I am not sure if I wish to today either, but I figure I will take a stab at it:

I remained indecisive when I drove the 45 minute drive over to the cemetery on my Father's birthday.  I had one of his pipes with me, and my pouch of pipe tobacco and lighter.  As it is that time of year, by the time I went over there, it was already starting to encroach upon dusk.

At the cemetery I sat and talked, and reminisced and had images of my father in my mind.

I did not smoke my/his pipe while there.

*  *  *  *  *

I did not smoke my pipe.   Not because I did not want to.   I was eagerly thinking about it for quite a few days, thinking it would be very nice to do.

I did not smoke my pipe.  And, I have been feeling disgruntled about it since that date.  Do not get me wrong.... I haven't been sitting around every day with these thoughts on my mind.   I did the normal things I always have to do.  But, I must state that when I would allow my thoughts to turn to pipes, I would be annoyed..... at myself.

I ended up deciding to NOT smoke my pipe at the cemetery because.... I could not do so without feeling selfish.  I have to admit to myself that my reasons for wanting to smoke a pipe at the grave site IN PART was out of a sense of tradition, and out of a sense of honoring and thinking about my father.   But, I ALSO have to admit that part of my desire to do so was my own selfish interest and desire to smoke the pipe for ME.  Perhaps that could be considered "normal" but realizing that about myself had me feel annoyed at myself, ashamed at myself, and rather p*ss*d off at myself for my inner weakness and self centered focus.

So, in order to try to salvage something from the situation, and to try to fix or at least not succumb to my own selfishness.... I told myself and forced myself to choose to NOT smoke the pipe. And, so, after sitting and thinking more about my father, and talking out loud to my father..... I ended up getting up, and simply traveling home in my truck.

*  *  *  *  *

But, I still, when I think about it, feel aggravated.... at myself... and at the situation. And, truthfully, I am also mad that I did not get to smoke my pipe.  It has taken me a while, but I do admit, that my anger/grumpiness at this situation is sort of like a young kid having a childish "tantrum".  In my mind, I was having a "trantrum" about this situation.   I did not visibly act out with family or friends (fortunately), but INSIDE I felt like I was having a tantrum whenever I would think about pipes.  Stupid.... yes..... but it was my reality.

*  *  *  *  *

For the most part, I believe I have finally let those negative emotions about that situation/decision "go".  I feel.   Even though it is exhausting to try to sort out and write this all down... I believe this will help me keep the negative emotions at bay. 

I still want to smoke a pipe.   I still think about doing so.  But, I at least can take heart that I did not use my father's birthdate as an excuse to indulge selfishly in a pipe because of my desires. 

Still... it is strange..... I would very much like to find a way to smoke a pipe at the grave site on my father's birthday... but I would need it ti be with a pure mindset of honoring him.  And, if I were to ever find the right way to indulge my innate desire for a pipe on an occasional basis, it would not bother me in the slightest that the indulgence was purely selfish and purely for me.  But the mixing of those two divergent motivations made neither motivation feel legitimate. 



Blogger Pat McDowell said...

Which is more selfish; to do something to honor your father, or to do something to win the approval of the nosy, nattering neighbors who come and go?

Yes, many people around you will fuss at you when you eventually return to your pipes. But ask yourself: How many of those people have an exercise regimen as sturdy as yours? How many run even a mile daily? How many swim regularly? If you were the sort to fuss at them, you could point to as many or more faults in them as they could about you.

As for the whole notion of avoiding selfishness, I respect it but I wonder whether you are confusing mortification and selflessness. Christ commanded you to love others AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF. If your best self-care involves abstaining from your pipes, that's not selfishness; it's just taking good care of yourself. On the other hand, if your best self-care involves returning to your pipes, accepting that the bond you have with your father means more to you than any hoped-for bond with your critics, then your returning to the pipe may be wise or unwise, but it won't be selfish. Does that make sense?

Friday, 06 December, 2019  
Blogger Schrodinger's Dog said...

It's called "Catholic Guilt", and is well-ingrained in us by an early age by our upbringing.

Guilt for all any any pleasurable experience. The Nuns drilled that into us repeatedly in grade school.

It takes a while to get beyond it. Sometimes it's near impossible to do so. But realizing it's part indoctrination is a step in the right direction.

Flip a coin to establish a random date to enjoy a pipe. Take any "justification" out of the equation, just leave it to random chance ( or God's will, if you prefer).

Friday, 06 December, 2019  
Blogger BBC said...

You're doing great, keep it up.

Monday, 09 December, 2019  
Blogger PipeTobacco said...

You raise many good points. I think about them often. It is challenging to have such a fondness and enthusiasm about pipes. They feel a part of who I am. To give them up is perhaps the right thing to do, but it feels somewhat like a loss of self.

Monday, 09 December, 2019  
Blogger PipeTobacco said...

The ideas you suggest are strong. But, am I strong enough to abide by them?

Monday, 09 December, 2019  
Blogger PipeTobacco said...

I sometimes feel like I am doing “ok” but other times not so much.

Monday, 09 December, 2019  
Blogger Ol'Buzzard said...

the last time I visited the grave of my best friend, I took a hit of Scotch and poured the rest of the bottle on his grave. He'll never know, but it made me feel close to the adventures we shared, for a few minutes.
the Ol'Buzzard

Monday, 09 December, 2019  
Blogger JACKIESUE said...

you didn't smoke..that's what counts with me..

Tuesday, 10 December, 2019  
Blogger PipeTobacco said...

I can understand that well.

Tuesday, 10 December, 2019  
Blogger PipeTobacco said...

JackieSue.... yes, I did not smoke my pipe... but, it almost seems impossible to “win”... I think I would have been upset had I done so... and I was also upset I did not do so.

Tuesday, 10 December, 2019  

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