Stress Relief – Smoke ‘em if You Got ‘em

Last week on Tuesday Stress Relief I suggested you kick back and lose yourself in a good book. In summing it up that way, I realized there I accidentally dropped a double entendre in there.

Double Entendre

On the off chance you haven’t heard the expression “double entendre” it means an expression with two meanings, one of which is usually risqué. Usually does not mean always and in this particular case, there is a completely non-bawdy tie in with another powerful method of stress reduction, prayer.

“A good book,” “The Good Book.” Get it? Anyway, one way that believers can relieve their stress is to lose themselves in prayer, and the bible. I would particularly recommend the Psalms.

Oddly enough, thought, that isn’t the topic of today’s post.

There is an old expression, from back when smoking was a lot more common than it is today, “Break time, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.” Time to down tools, and relax for a bit, before returning to the grind. Firing up a coffin nail, a cancer stick, a fag (for you British types), a dart, a butt, was a way to relax.

The Herf

Now, smoking has gone seriously out of vogue, and as the curator of a health and wellness site, this distresses me not in the least. Disgusting, smelly, unhealthy, gross. Yech. Having said that, there is still a smoking ritual around today, the herf.

Now, what is a “herf?” It’s a group (as small as 2) of cigar smokers getting together to relax over an expensive cigar. The primary purpose is relaxation and camaraderie, even the cigar themselves take a backseat to this.

Please understand that cigars are not nearly as detrimental for your health as cigarettes. I won’t bother with all the nitty gritty of it, suffice it to say this, you don’t inhale, and if you’re outdoors (and who smokes indoors nowadays?) there is no second hand smoke.

“Relaxation and camaraderie” are the key words there. The point is to get together to unwind, and that is a powerful method of dealing with stress.

Interestingly enough, for some cigar smokers (present company included) the rituals of cigar smoking do not require the company of even one other. Some of us take the 60 to 90 minutes it takes to smoke a cigar as a time of solitude. Nothing but the simple pleasures of a cigar and (for me) a good cup of coffee.

Ideally, something like this:

A kayak on the river, a fishing pole and a cigar
Sometimes, you’ve just gotta relax with a good cigar

A cigar, a kayak, a fishing rod, a cup of coffee (not shown) and solitude in nature. I come back from one these excursions a new man.

While I made this primarily about the herf, the principle applies more generally. Cigars, while not overly bad for you, are certainly not health food. Know what else isn’t health food?

  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Spirits
  • The probably illegal stuff you light up in your bong
  • Pizza
  • Wings
  • Greasy diner breakfast foods

But we get together with friends over all of these things (yes, yes, yes, it depends on the social circle, for instance, I don’t drink alcohol or do any form of psychotropic drug, at all). The point isn’t your choice of poison, it’s your choice of company.

Man is a social animal, so be social. Find an excuse and get together with friends. Your stress, and their stress will drop dramatically.

And smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.