Happy smoking

Although a character from a certain liquor commercial lays claim to the title “most interesting man in the world” (don’t get the reference?), we at HeraldBlog feel it belongs to two-time contributor Kenneth Xavier Zehir. Here is the second of his incredibly debonair series on smoking pipes. It’s transcribed below as received in the mail, but we felt you really needed to see the fine stationary (image altered to reduce unwanted fan mail):


There is something about the aroma of pipes that conjures up fond memories of Grandpa smoking in his favorite rocking chair. For me, it evokes memories of my pop smoking on the porch. Just one wiff of fragrant pipe smoke and I am sent on a time machine to my youth. No coincidence: Our sense of smell and memories are scientifically connected.

Anything that releases volatile molecules will have an aroma or smell. These molecules then bind to the cilia, creating a perceived smell called an olfactory sensation. The olfactory bulb is part of the lymphatic system,which is the area of the brain connected with memory and feelings. When you smell something for the first time, it connects– the brain, that is– to an event, environment, or person.

The same principles apply to appealing smells and good feelings such as pipe tobacco aromas. It is, therefore, easy for these smells to revive memories dating back to childhood, since childhood is when we experience many smells for the first time.

I recall the fragrant scent of starch as my childhood as my childhood friends were Arnold and David Lim, and Mrs. Lim owned a hand laundry and was always ironing shirts for customers. That was and is today a favorite scent of mine– bleach and starch. I think of my dear friend Mrs. Lim whenever I smell starch. She was a very kind lady.

So what will you think of when you smoke your pipe? It’s a travel in time, I assure you. Happy smoking.