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Friday Slide Show: Match Books Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

14 August 2020

Do you smoke?" they always ask as we undress. It's part of the physical. Along with how much we exercise and if we drink alcohol and, well, we suspect you know the drill. Good questions, tough answers.

We can't remember the last time we smoked. We were never a cigarette smoker (unless you count the Sherman's we smoked like cigars). We tried a pipe (well half a dozen pipes) but they really didn't fit our style (we were in our twenties, after all, without a style at all).

But we did burn through boxes and boxes of toscani. We'd cut them in half, burn the fat end a bit away from us and then point it up, bring the match close and fire it up.

An affectation. Our mentor swore by them. He was in his seventies and would tell the marijuana smokers he met that he'd try theirs if they'd try his.

We began to wonder if these match books weren't some sort of a diary.

Fortunately for us we do not have an addictive personality. Although we do have a single toscano somewhere around here. You know, for our date with the firing squad.

So we were in the habit back then of slipping match books into our pocket as we left a restaurant.

And the other day when we were doing a little painting, we came across a box full of them. We took a break to look them over.

Oh, they brought back memories. Not so much of the food as the people. At some of the restaurants, we were guests, of course. We could never have afforded them. But the neighborhood places we went to regularly.

Then there were the ones we acquired in our travels.

We began to wonder if these match books weren't some sort of a diary. Could they tell the story of our life?

Well, no.

It's not like you can bump into St. Peter and flash your match books at him. Acclimated to impressive bribes, he might look at you funny and says, "You kidding?"

You'd quickly explain it's evidence of your good and decent life. You'd be lucky if he just replied, "Next!"

But the next time we are inclined to feel sorry for ourselves, we may just open that box again and look these over to see just what a privileged life we have led.

And then we'll go into the kitchen and put on a pot of water to boil for some pasta, consoling ourselves with the thought that, in hell, the water would already be boiling.

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