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.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Return of PCS


With the resurgence of rather strong cravings for my pipes and pipe tobaccos, I thought it would be useful for me to return to using the "Pipe Craving Score" measure I had used a bit, perhaps about a year or so ago.  

I am not sure what to make of these fluctuations in cravings/desires to smoke my pipes and pipe tobaccos.  It really does not make logical sense to me in any sort of scientific fashion that I can as yet discern.  The scale, as it was, is based upon a 1 - 10 scale and my definitions of the degree of interest/craving/desire has "10" as being damn near unbelievably strong interest/desire in smoking my pipes and pipe tobaccos.  Even though there may be slight changes in the verbage I used for my scale previously, the numeric scores remain consistent.

First, before the scale measures, as a baseline, I have to admit and acquiesce that (as you likely realize) I think about my pipes and pipe tobaccos a fair amount. From the considerable vacillations of my thoughts, I believe that I may always have these thoughts.  

Even though it has been now.... four years and five months since I laid down my pipes and pipe tobaccos (I just figured it out, that is 1,611 days), the time away from my pipes and pipe tobaccos has NOT been accompanied by what I expected.... a gradual declining slope in interest, desire, and cravings.  Yes, there have been times where it did seem that there was a bit of this predicted declining slope.  Yet, over the entire time-frame, my thoughts, yearnings, desires for a pipe filled with beautiful brown crumbles of pipe tobacco, ignited by the flame of my lighter appears to be more akin to undulations shown in the brainwaves map I placed at the top of this post.  Of the different brain waves, it feels to me that my ebbing and flowing desires for a pipe rise and fall in a pattern that is akin to the "theta wave" pattern shown above.  Not that my desire has anything specifically to do with theta waves.  What I mean is that there are points where the amplitude variation is low and modest, but also times where the amplitude is quite robust and divergent, just like in the theta waves.  So, onto the scale:

PCS scores of 1 - 4:  mild cravings, mild/limited thoughts of smoking my pipes.  Very comfortable, very manageable in terms of day-to-day tasks.  Obviously, the ultimate PCS score would be to hover between 1-2 consistently.  I may have stray thoughts, but they would likely just revolve around fond memories.  

PCS scores of 5 - 7:  scores in this range tend to be (obviously) quite a bit stronger in terms of desire to smoke my pipes.  In this score range, I tend to find, remember, and desire smoking my pipes quite a bit especially in regards to work, tasks, or hobbies where I would traditionally smoke my pipes.  Obviously, I have a helluva lot of work activities, tasks, and hobbies where pipe smoking had always traditionally been a part of the process, so these associations occur often.  These scores tend to be "managable" as well, but do require more effort on my part to deal with them.  

PCS scores of 8 - 10:  scores in this range signify especially ROBUST and strong yearnings, desires, and wants to smoke my pipes and pipe tobaccos.  In these PCS score ranges, the desire to smoke a pipe makes it feel almost "essential" to do.  These scores are indeed the most difficult for me... for in many instances, I often feel like "throwing in the towel" so to speak, and simply returning to my pipes and pipe tobaccos in an unfettered, non-regulated fashion (just smoke them whenever I feel like it).  

Believe me when I say that I KNOW going back to my pipes in a completely unfettered, unregulated fashion is not a wise decision.  That is why I have also been trying to grow my mental fortitude towards finding a path that I believe I can sustain to allow for an occasional indulgence.  Yet, I struggle with figuring out that actual path that I KNOW I can commit to, without it being more work rather than benefit.  

So, that is where I am at this morning.  I would place my PCS at 8 today.  

I ran 13.1 miles (~21 km) again this morning.  While running, I did not have an available Capuchin Mass to listen to (I have heard all that are available, and await a new one to show up).  I also was tired of listening to music (my four favorite Pandora channels all felt tiresome.... my old-school Jazz station, my 60s-70s pop/rock station, my Catholic music station, and my Wind Ensemble (band music) stations just felt dull this morning).  So, instead, I cued up NPR, thinking I could listen to the news. And so I did.  But, in reality, I remember little about the newscast or stories.  I was lost in thought, remembering and recalling smoking various pipes and pipe tobaccos all through my run.  I am glad I was running on a smooth trail 95% of the time, because I really was not paying a helluva lot of attention to my feet while running this morning.  I was lost in my pipe and pipe tobacco thoughts.



Blogger Pat M. said...

Professor, I don't know where "wasting time" falls on your list of behaviors best avoided, but I'll make a suggestion.

Can you at least approximately estimate the amount of time you spend, on a PCS 8 day, wishing for your pipes or debating whether or not to cease abstaining? How much more time would you gain back in your day if you didn't need to make that decision or have that worry? There could be wisdom in gaining back that time, which you could use for quantitative or qualitative improvements in other areas of your attention.

As for whether your pipes are "essential" as you feel on a PCS 8 day, it's quite obvious that to be truly yourself they are essential. Can presenting a false front to the world, or even to yourself in a sense, be called "wisdom" -- and would your Capuchins prefer prideful abstinence over humble enjoyment of your pipes?

Perhaps pipe smoking is what each individual makes of it. Here is one Catholic writer who makes a case for prayerful pipe smoking. But your journey is of course your own.

Thursday, 14 July, 2022  
Blogger PipeTobacco said...

Pat… the article you cited is very interesting. Thank you! It, as well as your other points… have given me a lot of food for thought.

Thursday, 14 July, 2022  
Blogger Margaret said...

The memories, smells and habits that are attached to pipe smoking are also enticing you. It seems like it would be easiest (but not necessarily best?) to go back to it periodically, once or twice a week? At that point, you would know for sure whether it adds to your life or if it would mostly make you feel guilty.

Thursday, 14 July, 2022  
Blogger peppylady (Dora) said...

One of the people take care of uses brain wave thing for part of his treatment. Which I don't understand completely.
Coffee is on and stay safe

Thursday, 14 July, 2022  
Blogger Liz Hinds said...

Has it been that long?! Gosh, doesn't time go by quickly? But you got through lockdown without your pipes and that is a major achievement.

I suppose that is why - and I'm not comparing you to an alcoholic - alcoholics never say they're no longer alcoholics but that they're not drinking, because it's always there.

Friday, 15 July, 2022  

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