Monday, September 5, 2016


I found that if you did
one thing, and did it
thoroughly and well, it
would   - or could  -
usually suffice. There's
nothing that feels better
than 'quality'  -  which is
why some people, those
who have it, will gladly
spend 175 thousand
dollars on, say, a car
that's richly appointed,
fine with perfectly
stitched leather seats
and nicely bound
instruments and
steering wheel, with
a paint job of grave
and deep lustre and
clearcoat, let alone
the engine and the
running gear and
powertrain as well.
Those are the two items
first to go  -  the huge
downward compromise
of Quality and Integrity
that starts with that step
backwards. Initial loss.
I always thought that the
entire story of 'America'  -
the colonies and the
founding of the workings
of the nation, and the
general, Andrew Jacksonesque
crazy essence of the country,
had to with the 'rabble'
rising up and, yes, getting
their way and accepting a
paucity of 'quality.' Once
that begins, all other things
fall away. Tradition and
learning are thought to
be extraneous. Lineage
and breeding become
anarchic. People shout
and get sloppy, grow
beastly in their attributes.
You start getting
acceptances of crap  -
Hyundais and Kias of
the mind  -  lookalike
derivatives of no real
value other than
pretense and that
they're cheap. Nothing
about worth or value
or durability. Shoddiness
begins bleeding through
and everything starts to
be 'of the instant' and
'now!' It's a huge, 'I
want it!' moment.
I found that, upon arriving
in NYC, it would be easy
to be swiftly overwhelmed,
taken over by circumstances.
It happened to lots  - that's
where the prevalence of
drugs, violence, and sex
too,  came from. You just
get lost, falling to pieces
-  to death, even. I put
the plug in all that, and
and quickly and with
certainty. The confusion
stemmed (stems), from
simply too much. The
people who get beyond
themselves are the
smaller-minded, who
cannot cope, who crack
and buckle, whose faux
edge of 'superiority' gets
seen for what it is  -  a
prison veneer of using
big words to sound wise.
Its equivalent in real life:
Bombast. Posing. Violence.
Crudity. Disregard. You
have to pick your few,
and select them carefully,
and then dedicate. Dedicate
to them. It's a slowness, it's
a factor of Quality and
Worth. The thing I really
liked about that, immediately,
is how it allows you to 'own'
time. Time itself stops, for
once you begin to focus
instead on 'Quality' the
factor of time becomes
There was a period of years
when I smoked a pipe. Latakia
tobacco blends, big-time stuff.
None of that cherry-blend or
'Sail' brand pipe tobacco for
me. Custom mixes and blends.
Eventually I gave it up, mostly
because of my teeth, believe
that (a pipe hanging there takes
a toll), and the miserable expense.
The rest, I didn't care  -  the
pipe was a timeless, quality,
enterprise. If done right, really
done, each pipe-load is packed
perfectly, cradled and patted,
just touched with flame and
fire enough to smolder itself
on, steadily, with smooth and
easy draw, no liquid seep, no
or crappy juices. It's not easy.
A real pipe guy will take
sometimes 15 minutes, 
before lighting, just to 
properly load a pipe for
smoking  - and a well-loaded
and properly lit pipe can 
last an hour. In Avenel, on 
Leesville Avenue, right 
next to what is now
16-20 Lessville, known as
A&A Engine Repair, or 
something, there used to
be a small building (it's
long gone, and its location
is now a driveway for a
large condo or apartment
development) that was
'Joe Kump, Fine Pipes.'
I went there often; Joe 
was an old guy, probably 
70 then, and he made 
briarwood pipes. The
very finest briarwood
pipes ever seen. He prided 
himself, in fact, on the 
special briarwoods he
imported and used. The 
shop was small, but filled
with carved pipes, the 
briarwood roots everywhere, 
a few small, wood-boring
machines, for the stems and
tips. It was always quiet in 
there, always still. I never 
knew much else about him  
-  where he lived, family (I 
think he had a son or two). 
Just a wonderful old guy. I 
immediately emulated him. He
was meticulous to a fault, a 
true craftsman, a wise 
old man, and a tedious, 
devoted and timeless 
worker for 'Quality'. This
was all back about 1968,
and I don't know what 
he sold in numbers 
or dollars, nor to whom, 
but he stayed in business, 
right there, until death. I
used to stop in whenever I
hit Avenel. And then, one 
time, he was gone, and 
another time time so was the 
vacant building. There was never
a finer exemplar, to me, 
of the idea of time/non-time,
quality, dedication, and 
quiet, solid work. He'd make 
me, probably 3 a year,
a pipe that he'd stamp, 
for me, sort of as a 
model-name, his little 
ID pressed into the back 
of the stem, the words
'Student Prince', which 
is the name he gave
the pipe model I'd buy  
-  it was a straight
shank, just slightly 
bowed stem, with a
short, rounded bowl. 
Less capacity, sort of
a shorter smoke. And 
it was light. I loved
them. Back then, as 
I recall, maybe 18 bucks.
I have a few around 
here still. Pipes get
saturated after a while;
there's a lot of moisture 
involved in the burning.
You have to retire them, 
or let them set, really 
dry out. So it's good 
to have 5 or 6. I don't
smoke anything anymore,
and that's been a long 
time, like 40-plus years,
but if I could, I would.
Pipe-smoking slows 
everything down, stops 
the world, brings forth
a quality factor too easily
forgotten. A 'deliberateness
of one', I'll call it. The
world needs more of that.
We're getting too used to

No comments: