The best cigars and liquors are formed by a combination of age, seasoning, and internal integrity. Friends are the same way. Crafted either by skilled hands or serendipity, maintained with an exacting eye towards preserving the best and eliminating the worst, your humidor, liquor cabinet, and catalog of relationship should be populated by items created by people who gave a shit about what they were doing.

Sometimes in a dark and lonely place, and often in your formative years, there was a time and a place for Aristocrat vodka, game vendor cigars, and legions of nominal acquaintances eating up your time.  The longer I am in the cubicle game, the more I appreciate discernible, quality goods and people. If the cost of a weekend is surviving a week at work, it is just not worth my time to be filled with cheap imitations added for the sake of some checklist.

I am not talking of the unbearable pretentiousness you see of the new graduate that in trying to find their place in the world arbitrarily establish life guidelines for what they will or will not do because people of their so-called status just don’t do that anymore. At least I hope not.

What I am talking about is my fondness for a weekend chock-full of Gentleman Jack, Acid Cigars, and good friends that have been forged over a lifetime.

As necessary as such unwinding is, there are certain unavoidable paradoxes that arise. For smokes and drinks, and sometimes friends, too much enjoyment leads to no enjoyment at all. But there is different, more nuanced issue that has recently crossed my horizon. An instance of that hackneyed old phrase ‘ You can’t have your cake and eat it too.’ Or, in this case, you can’t have your liquor, cigars, deep fried turkey and friends too.

This weekend, as the small and carefully selected guest list arrived, one member shot the following text message to the group:

“Sorry bro, can’t make it. We just got un-waitlisted for our baby class. Won’t make it.”

What a bittersweet moment. In an instance we knew that the last guys night get together which happened so long ago as to defy memory was our last. One member wasn’t going to make it out that night, nor would he again in the same way ever in the future. The disappointment of missing out on a great old friend aside, I was reminded of why we were friends in the first place. The man has his priorities straight.

Of course the fucker had to go to baby class! Would you want to be friends with a guy who skipped out on training for a first baby with his expecting wife? And of course it made no sense to see if he wanted to come out afterward. Who wants to be friends with a bastard who pays lip service to the family thing but jets out at the first chance for a taste freedom?

And while we morn the passing of a freer age, we are happy for what this friend is doing. Like the cigars, food and the liquors enjoyed this weekend he too was carefully selected. Like those items there will again be a time and place for celebration. But that next time he will be providing the cigars…. and perhaps enjoying those pairings with a small taste of favored mango rum.

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