“Miguel, would you like some water?”
“My friend, water is for fish.”
He pours himself a tall glass of 10-year-old Bushmills whiskey.
“Don’t forget – your tee time is in 18 hours.”
Jiménez, 51, arches an eyebrow but says nothing. He opens a small metal case and produces a Cuban cigar, which he fires up with gusto.
“I come from a different generation,” Jiménez says. “And I’m not a hypocrite. I don’t hide the way I am. If I want to have a drink, I have a drink. Why shouldn’t I? Is it illegal to drink alcohol? Is tobacco illegal? So why should I care if people see me smoking? I do what I do out in the open. If people have a problem with that they can stick their tongue up their ass and let the rest of us do what we want to do. You can quote me exactly the way I said that.” He cracks an impish smile. “And what else do you want me to tell you?” (Taken from the article “A Conversation with Miguel Angel Jiménez” by Alan Shipnuck published in 5.4.16s SIGOLF+)
“Miguel Ángel Jiménez Rodríguez is a Spanish professional golfer. He has won 21 times on the European Tour and has been a member of several victorious Ryder Cup teams.” (Wiki) – and he loves his cigars. In that same article he is photographed four times with his stogie prominently displayed, as it should be for anyone who wants to enjoy a cigar.
But the real reason I bring up this article is what is said in that quote, and I think it’s high time we cigar smokers began to take the threat seriously. We’ve been pushed around like the skinny kid in the playground by the bully far too long. And it’s about time we as a cohesive group – a voting bloc – do something about it.
Unfortunately, what I’m seeing is that the cigar community is not as cohesive as it would like to think it is. It’s the shattered glass screen of an iPad or iPhone – it’s holding together but it is also in the process of falling apart. It can be like the movement that started in Poland in 1980.
“The history of Solidarity (Polish: Solidarność, pronounced [sɔliˈdarnɔɕt͡ɕ] ( listen)), a Polish non-governmental trade union, began on 14 August 1980, at the Lenin Shipyards (now Gdańsk Shipyards) at its founding by Lech Wałęsa and others. In the early 1980s, it became the first independent labor union in a Soviet-bloc country. Solidarity gave rise to a broad, non-violent, anti-communist social movement that, at its height, claimed some 9.4 million members. It is considered to have contributed greatly to the fall of communism.” (Wiki)
Janis Joplin in her gritty and passionate voice at Woodstock in 1969 sang the words in Me and Bobby McGee, ”Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” A bit cynical yes, but the truth is we need to become fanatical enough to fight as if there is nothing left to lose. We need our freedom back. But we won’t ever get our freedom back if the cigar community is fractured into a maze of tributaries. We need to close ranks and fight this battle together. Whatever the differences are, the prejudices, the pride, the apathy, it’s all petty nonsense. “It doesn’t matta!” What matters is that we all need to work together to take back what’s been ripped from our fingers – our freedom to smoke a cigar where we want – when we want. We need Solidarity.
And one way to do this is to confront the detractors; however we decide to do that. Cigar smokers will have to put down their cigar and physically get involved, write the politicians, pressure the IPCPR and the CRA to do more. No action, no cigars. It’s as simple as that. I know there are some people in the business who are working tirelessly to educate the legislators about cigars and how nonsensical laws are destroying not only an artisanal, historical industry, but entire economies and livelihoods as well.
It’s the same old saw: Put a frog in cold water and start a slow boil. Eventually the frog will perish because the water heated up so gradually it never knew what happened. And when you have to choose your cigar from a computerized list, and cannot walk into a humidor and pick up a cigar, and admire the bands because they are all an ugly green, or sample a new boutique brand, it will be because we didn’t do anything to stop it.
It’s just like Miguel said in the article, “. . . I don’t hide the way I am. If I want to have a drink, I have a drink. Why shouldn’t I? Is it illegal to drink alcohol? Is tobacco illegal? So why should I care if people see me smoking? I do what I do out in the open. If people have a problem with that they can stick their tongue up their ass and let the rest of us do what we want to do.”