It’s A Good Vice

My son was 16 years old when I introduced him to cigars. It did not make his mother happy, which was completely understandable. One might ask why a father that considers himself responsible would introduce his high school-aged son to cigars? It’s a fair question — and one that was asked of me quite often.

If you look at the spectrum of vices, cigars are pretty close to the bottom. They are less dangerous, in my opinion, than cigarettes, alcohol, grass or any of the other drugs available far too readily to our teenagers.

Now, you might ask, even if you agree with my vice assessment, why introduce him to any vice at all? Also a fair question.

In part, because my son has a “let’s try it” approach to life, I really didn’t see him going through high school vice free. But mostly, it was so we could share in it. Cigars were something for just the two of us. Throughout high school, about once a week, my son and I would light up an Arturo Fuente, get a good fire going in the fire pit, and sit and talk. Roughly 90 minutes of uninterrupted father-son time. No cellphone, no friends (I wouldn’t let him smoke when his friends were around) and no interruptions. We would talk about anything and everything: sports, girls, high school, college, the future and beyond. Family, friends or food, debate, politics and movies, it didn’t really matter what we talked about. It was the fact that we were talking.

My son is 14 years removed from high school and now lives in Washington D.C. But every time he’s home, we find time to light up a Fuente, start a good fire and sit and talk. Some of the conversations have changed, some have stayed the same, but I still have 90 minutes of uninterrupted time with my son. Almost everything in life is a compromise at some level.

In this case, I traded a small vice for invaluable bonding time with my son. Some might consider that a deal with the devil, but if that’s the case, it’s been one hell of a good deal.