Tommy Zarzecki (aka Tommy Zman)
The Cigar Life is a glorious life, indeed…
Sitting outside in the fresh open air, blue sky, birds chirping (better than the wife chirping) a glass of malted grains in your hand, while smoking a great cigar as a warm breeze tells your body and mind that it’s time to relax. BUT WAIT A MINUTE, HERE (as the needle zips across the vinyl record bringing your thoughts to a grinding halt)… This is February where I live in northern New Jersey, and at present time of writing this, it’s 34 degrees outside.

For those of us who reside in the northern parts of the United States, winter is truly a crappy-ass time of year for lovers of the Latin leaf. There is NO sitting outside after dinner to enjoy your most exalted smoke, as no more than ten minutes in these frigid temperatures causes massive discomfort in bodily regions that need not be discussed on this fine site. (Okay, you freeze your Titlesit 1’s off – I didn’t think I had to spell it out, but there you go…)

If you can’t smoke inside your home –
which I cannot (let’s not go there cause it’s going to get ugly) – it really puts the kibosh on the ritual we all enjoy so much during the warmer months. While I’m lucky that I have several cigar stores nearby to smoke at, it can’t replace hanging out on the patio with your Nicaraguan soul mate, while falling deep into a scotch-induced stupor. During the late spring, summer, and early fall, post dinner time calls for a good magazine, pouring myself a tankard of my favorite elixir, then snipping and lighting a tasty tobacco stick (or three), allowing my mind to dissolve away the tensions and pressures of life. And THIS is why we leaf lovers of the north go completely bonkers during winter! Cigar smoking is cut drastically during December, January, and February, and trust me, withdrawal is not a pretty thing. You can’t even imagine after several months of below 40 Fahrenheit how edgy we get up here – drivers cutting one another off, people flipping the bird at every turn, and super market shoppers literally coming to blows over the last can of Who Hash… all because we can’t enjoy that nightly puff of puro goodness. We’re like caged animals who beg for their freedom, freedom to enjoy the premium aged fruits that Central America has to offer. Yes, I know, it is depressing and sad.

You peeps in places like Florida, Arizona, and So Cal have it made with your daily sunshine, golf anytime, outdoor Jacuzzis, and cigars a plenty. Oh how I really do envy you people (now I didn’t say that I hate you, but just give me a few more paragraphs.) And when I’m sitting inside all grumpy and talking to myself like a loon, one of my warm weather so-called pals will shoot me a text message saying that it’s 68 degrees as the sun is melting into the ocean while their hand rolled happy stick keeps them company as the ribeyes sizzle on the grill. This is where I’m glad I’m not a gun owner (but I do have an axe, so keep the wiseass remarks to yourself.)

Last year I finally got a decent radiant heater and set up a small corner of the garage as my private little wintertime herfatorium. And while it allows me to enjoy a cigar on a frigid February eve, you really can’t enjoy it for very long. First off, I’m bundled up like Sir Edmond Hillary, I’ve gotta keep the door open a bit with a fan to draw the billowing smoke out, and unfortunately, the confines of a cement floor garage isn’t the summertime ambience I’ve come to know and love. And even with all of that, it’s not long before your nose turns blue, your toes go numb, and the kachongas start to lose all feeling due to the freezing nighttime temperatures.


Now the worst thing
that happens after months of angst and aggression, is when the retail cigar catalogs show up in my mailbox – they all come at the same time, and guys, it’s just brutally unfair. Like a horny teen boy perusing through his dad’s prized nudie books, I sneak the catalogs into my lair and glom with a rabid lust at each and every stick, dripping with their natural oils from years of aging hibernation. Yeah, okay, I’ve come to grips with the fact that I’ve got some serious issues, but if you happen to live in a cold weather climate like me, I’m quite sure you do the same. And worst of all, I want to order everything I see, the Perdomos, Pepins, Partagas, and Punch… but maxing out the credit card isn’t a smart call, plus there’s the fact that I really can’t enjoy any of this stash for another couple of months!!! The agony of this self-induced torture is beyond maddening and unfortunately, Dominican, Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Cuban leaf is the only medication that will cure my ills.

So, I just have to keep telling myself that these months will pass quickly as the nearby warmth of spring is just around the corner. But I will say that it sure as hell would be nice if a few of you Brothers of the Leaf would invite me to your abodes for a little herfing and what have you… especially you wise-ashes with the sizzling ribeyes and the sun melting into the ocean. I could really use me some of that right about now. Okay, there is no dignity in begging, but it’s early February and I really don’t give a damn, so let me know when and I’ll book the transportation. I mean, I can stay at the house, right? Cause trust me, I will bring some serious tobacco goodness that I just ordered along for the ride.

Until next time, stay smoky my friends. – Tommy Zman

Tommy Zman. is truly an obsessive enjoyer of life. Growing up in the bowels of northern New Jersey, parented by an eccentric Polish father and a neurotic Italian mother, what else could this man possibly be other than a humorist? Zman’s a "real" guy – someone who considers himself a throwback to a time when men were kings of the castle, and smoking a cigar in public didn’t label you an outcast and a pariah. He’s totally old-school, a down to earth guy with traditional values. Visit Zman’s Blog: Rants From a Social Cromag, and see his work @ Wanna reach the Zman? —> Find Tommy Zman on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

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