Friday, March 10, 2017
Respect the Stoagie
West Palm Beach was celebrating its centennial. A group of us were downtown, pub crawling. Cigar bars were becoming trendy at the time. We stopped in one and spent too much money, minutes later puffing like pros in the humid night air. I'm sure one of us grabbed a port wine to go with it. The activity felt very grown up and refined. I was the novice of the group, something that would really hit me about twelve hours later. I think I smoked two stoagies that night, all the while inhaling the smoke. I think we had a big dinner somewhere on Clematis that night as well.
I went to bed without incident. No coughing jags. I woke up feeling fine. It was Sunday. I went to church. I donned the robe as usual, sitting among my choir mates in the loft in the front of the sanctuary. The pastor was deep into his sermon. Something became very wrong. Like someone threw the switch on my nausea receptors. My stomach felt as if it was distending. I had to clumsily make my way over the knees of those in my row, racing up the back stairs to the second floor hallway. I was close to the restroom and then it hit. I sprayed the wall like that kid in STAND BY ME. It was epic, my most dramatic emesis ever. Thankfully, no one was there to witness it. But embarrassment would've been secondary at best in that moment.
After I cleaned it up, I began wondering why the reaction was so delayed. Was some time release mechanism at work? I knew even then that the tobacco leaves were probably cured with some chemical after harvesting. Was that it? Maybe it wasn't even the cigar? Did I get food poisoning instead? Dunno. Maybe someone can answer. I know that I never inhaled cigar smoke again. Granted, I only did the deed a few more times, quite gun shy and only puffing and blowing a few times before discarding. I was sufficiently spooked. I was slightly tempted that time in Vancouver, when I saw Cuban Cohibas for sale in a shop window.
My wife is happy that I do not smoke anything these days. She is not pleased that her father still enjoys what he would call a hobby. She might call it a habit. I do still enjoy the aroma.