Saturday was a fun day at The Tobacco Hut - we had a good crowd of regulars and a potential new regular. In attendance were Joe K, Peter G, Adrian, Scott R, Paul V, and a new guy, Derek (who is also a new pipe smoker!). Lou was there, of course, and I brought along a special guest, my son Ryan who is down visiting from Ohio for a couple weeks (he's on the left in the photo, spelling out the first "O" in "Ohio", as in Ohio State).
It was brought up that last week I failed to post a blog and when I blamed it on not having time to write it, Ryan - my son, my flesh and blood - chortled loudly and said it was more likely that I was merely lazy! Everyone had a good laugh at my expense, and despite my protestations, I could convince nobody of my innocence. So, laziness it is. And in that spirit, I have written all I can manage for this week. I now turn it over to a guest blogger, my son Ryan. Take it away...
Guest Blog #1 - All I Needed to Know in Life, I Learned at the Tobacco Hut
This past Saturday was not my first time at the Tobacco Hut, however I'd never seen it that crowded. I walked in with my dad and was greeted by Paul, Scott, Derek, and Lou. However, over the course of the next few hours, the crowd grew to nine, myself included. Now, the first rule of the Tobacco Hut is simple, and I've known it for years: Don't sit in the king's throne. But as I sat there, at first only listening to the stories and jokes, I quickly picked up on a few other things.
Rule #2 - Nothing is Sacred
No one is immune from ridicule and jokes and, furthermore, there is no topic that can't be touched. At soon as Peter walked in, the stereotype of Greek homosexuality was brought up and the gay jokes started. I learned that my dad is the token liberal of the group and, apart from that, his personal choices, from Mac Computers to Mountain Dew are criticized. Even potential customers are not immune from the comments. A woman shopping for her husband blurted out that he was old and unwittingly gave the guys fodder for a half hour of jokes.
Rule #3 - Don't Breathe Too Deeply
The eight men sitting around huffing and puffing on cigars and pipes in an already smoky shop were quickly able to get a good haze going. After a short time my eyes were watering and my throat burned. For some reason, everyone else seemed immune to the smoke. It must be the years of smoking. And, while I can appreciate the love for smoking, my time in the Hut has further convinced me that I'm not cut out for it.
Rule #4 - Don't Take Things Too Seriously
For a bunch of seemingly crude older men, the regulars at the Hut are genuinely kind people (though they may never admit it). The digs at each other are all good-natured and the serious debates are done with a joking manner so it never gets too heavy or insulting. Everyone was interested in my college career (and my apparent new quarterback position). I was surprised when Joe asked how my Aunt Julie was, after a recent trip to the hospital (though it was later decided by Peter that she just needed to loosen her bra).
Rule #5 - Don't Be Afraid to Join in the Fun
At first I was afraid that if I made many comments, that I would not be as funny as I meant to be or they would think that I was being stupid. However, I realized that if I just jump in and make a few jokes, especially ones at my old man's expense (sorry, Dad), that I'd fit right in. Derek was also quick to learn this and, though, he told Lou he'd never be back, I think he had a pretty good time.
Rule #6 - It's Okay If You Don't Know Sports
If you don't know much about sports, never fear, Peter, Adrian, and Paul will not hesitate to fill you in. I think that between the three of them, they must know most everything you can know about any sport. And, while I'm no sports expert, I think the general consensus is that my dad needs to find a new football team besides the Browns.
Corollary to Rule #6 - Don't Get Peter Started on Boston
Derek was told that, though he was from Massachusetts as well, he should not talk to Peter about it. And, sure enough, as soon as Peter was called a "Mass-hole," he didn't stop talking about the Red Sox, the Patriots, places to vacation, eat, and live, and how amazing Massachusetts is.
Rule #7 - Don't Shop at Wal-Mart and at Sam's Club, Only Buy Paper and Cigarettes
Lou would never forgive you if you supported the Walton family.
However, out of all the things I learned while at the Hut yesterday the most important was this:
Rule #8 - Never, and I Mean Never, Under Any Circumstance, Ask Joe for His ID
Thanks, guys, for welcoming me into your circle. And, you're welcome for getting Dad to actually post a blog this week. Adios!