We all know that the tobacco industry’s always been more full of shit than a state fair Porta-Potty. Although we continue to smoke anyway, here’s an ad from the old S.M. Frank & Co., Inc., the maker of Kaywoodie pipes, overripe with the butt truffles.
“Give Him A Longer Lifetime*” the headline practically screams, complete with a dubious asterisk colored red when the rest of the text is black. That’s classic Penn-&-Teller-level misdirection. If you’re unfamiliar, the point is that you miss the red star and pass go to the next block of black text.
“How treasured can an inexpensive gift be? Think of this- you could actually add to a man’s years by giving him a Kaywoodie.”
Add to my years? Did Ponce de Leon actually find the lucrative fountain of youth and use its enormous spoils to found a pipe manufacturer under the assumed name of S.M. Frank & Company after all, as I’d theorized for all these years? The asterisk, by the way, leads to a footnote that trumpets “PIPE SMOKERS LIVE LONGER!”
No, that’s not what happened. The ad continues: “This Summer, doctors who studied the smoking habits of 137,000 men found the pipe smokers live longer than any other smokers. The doctors switched to pipes themselves. And of all pipes, Kaywoodie has been proved the safest.”
Scientists have known that smoking causes cancer since the 1940s at least, and real doctors -the type who would come to your actual house for a bit of indigestion- probably weren’t that far behind. I’m not one to promote dubious science here, but it seems to me, as a person who has no medical training but nevertheless has a history of performing ill-advised self-surgeries thanks to costly, temp-level health insurance in the past, that you’re less likely to get lung cancer from smoking a pipe because you’re not inhaling the smoke down into your lungs.
That probably means you’re more likely to get throat, mouth, and tongue cancer by the way, but hey, something’s gotta kill us. It might be a Mack truck tomorrow or that weird off-limits setup in the coat closet you never told anyone about. It may put you under next Thursday! Your premature death might even be a secret disease you were given by your parents!
At any rate, go ahead and write that note.
To make matters worse, you may well shit your pants when it happens, an event that always reminds me of my own Kaywoodie, a Campus in white briar pipe that strongly resembles the seat of a toilet.
I’d ask a doctor from Kaywoodie’s study to confirm my suspicions, but I’m sure they all died long ago from switching from cigarettes to pipes. I say that we might as well go out in the responsible pursuit of pleasure while we have the time. Let’s not pretend that this hobby’s healthy, though. Even if it brings more people into the fold.