Thursday, April 21, 2011

Steel: Why do I love music and cigars so much?

From a very young age, I have always been into music. I can remember being 6 years old (1976), coming home from school and being fascinated with my cousins record player. He was 7 years older and that was his prized possession. If he ever knew I was rocking out to his albums, he would have picked me up like a guitar and broken me over a monitor.

Both of my parents worked so my aunt would watch me after school. I can remember begging her every day to please let me listen to the records, without much success. "Persistence pays off!" I am a big proponent of that saying. That being said, all that begging eventually got me the proverbial “Key to the Golden City”. One day I was finally allowed to listen but I was given two conditions...

1. I had to wear headphones
2. When my aunt said clean up, it was time to clean up. (This meant my cousin was coming home).

This is a lot to ask of a 6 year old, I know…but I would adhere to these conditions. Anything to get that sweet sweet hour of listening pleasure! Oh that heavenly bliss that filled my ears and molded my brain. Such great bands like KISS, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Queen, Black Sabbath, etc. This was indeed an era of musical greats.

Eventually I got my first record in 1977, KISS-Rock and Roll Over. I’ll never forget the day that I got my hands on that album. My parents and I were visiting a relative that was moving back to Italy! As we said our goodbyes, this relative turns to me like Mean Joe Green in that Coke commercial (you know the one I'm talking about? The one where he tosses his jersey to the kid that gave him a Coke? Google it if you must), and handed me one of the greatest gifts of all time. Shortly after this visit, I got a record player of my own (once again, persistence) and the rest is history.

From that point I sailed into the 80’s which brought heavy metal and with it, my passion for collecting music grew. I also started singing and playing guitar. To keep it short and sweet, I have done the whole “band” thing and I like to think that I was a pretty decent singer back in the day! Sadly, I never “made it”, but I will go on record as saying that I am proud of my non accomplishments and the ride was fun!

 So as I sit here writing my first blog, and glance over at my 4,000+ cd's, looking back I realize, that period of time was the blueprint of what would become my obsession with music!  

Where do the Cigars come in??

I don't have an exact date of when I actually started smoking cigars. I can tell you that I have smoked my fair share of them. I can also tell you that the Cuban Monte Christo #2’s are my favorite. That’s not to say that I don’t smoke other cigars. I smoke every cigar I can get my hands on but for me, Monte's are the pinnacle!

I don't have any "legit" reasons why I like them. I say “legit” because I have read tons of reviews and never really understand what the hell cigar reviewers are talking about. Here is an example…reviewers will sometimes describe the cigar that they’re smoking/reviewing, by saying crap like…"hints of leather and chocolate notes throughout". In my opinion that's all bullshit. I don't think I've experienced that with ANY cigar that I've ever smoked and I've smoked the best!!! Perhaps my pallet is not as refined? I beg to differ. I do believe that cigars are relaxing and there is something to be said about getting lost in the smoke but the real main reason I love cigars? Simple....because they remind me of Gin, Pepperoni Pizza and Poker. Yes, you read that correctly. Here is why....

Like most, I began smoking cigars during poker games in my friend’s basement. Many, many nights were spent, smoking Monte #2's, drinking straight Gin martinis (with 4 olives) and eating Pepperoni Pizza!

As time goes by, my friends and I find it harder and harder to get together to do this sort of thing. Most of us are married now, have kids and grown up responsibilities, etc., etc! Our weekly poker games have slowly transitioned into a "hey it's been about 6 months, lets try to put a poker game together", conversation that usually goes nowhere!

I have to say, I do miss those good old days. Why is it when I smoke the Monte #2's, I feel like I'm traveling back in time? I don't know what it is, but when I light up and the smoke fills the air, I am instantly brought back to that time. My mind is swimming and somewhere in that smoke I can clearly see Gin, Pepperoni Pizza and it's my turn to deal the next hand. Could the Monte #2's be some sort of time machine?? 

I am clearly grandiose in my description, but take it for what it's worth.

What it all boils down to is this...I am in love with Music and Cigars. Both have earned their rightful place in defining who I am!! In my opinion, they are the 2 greatest habits of all time!!! -STEEL!

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