There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.
Marty had just given a talk in the Public Health Department of the Cornell Medical school—which is only steps away from the Cigar Inn—on a method to analyze micro-array data, a hot area in statistics. It was a stunning success, as always. The most difficult aspect of the talk was to keep the fans from rushing the stage. Statistics can be a dangerous profession!
Anyway, I was wondering how far we could push Twain’s words after a regular sat down next to me and, as he always does, lit up an enormous Maduro-wrapped log. He sipped from that; but his main course was a steady chain of Native Spirit cigarettes, which he had between puffs of the cigar.
Another regular said, “I don’t know why you don’t have a pinch between your cheek and gum, too.” I suggested he could also add snuff and the patch to get “the whole experience.”
This is a man of few words, so he just gave us a grin.
He was—or still is—an itinerant electrician. I remember once when he asked me what I did. After I told him, he asked what kind of money you could make as a professor of statistics, and then he asked me what it took to become someone like me. I told him. He was contemplative and said he’d consider giving it a try. But he’d move to Florida and be a professor there.