Collegiate Delusions of Intelligence

Contributor: Zach Smith

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“It doesn’t matter what you say, it doesn’t matter how you say it, as long as you say it with a pipe in your mouth, you will look intelligent.” he said with a pipe in hand being prepared to smoke.
He scooped up the tobacco, and pressed it in, but not too firm, testing the firmness by giving a few unlit puffs on the stem to make sure there was proper draw. If the pipe was packed too firmly, then keeping it lit would require much more effort and ergo less enjoyment, if the tobacco was not in firm enough then the smoke would likely get too hot and scald ones mouth, like a hot cup of coffee drunk too fast. He flicked the Zippo, they say you are supposed to use a wooden match with a pipe, but he played by his own rules. How many college guys do you see smoking a pipe around campus anyway, a tobacco pipe that is? He had only ever seen one at the college, and that was himself. He took a few quick puffs as he held the flame over the bowl to get a nice burn going on it, then it was ready, he could keep it lit with minimal effort, and still be able to converse, so long as the phrases were kept relatively short. His two friends inhaled deeply through their noses, they loved the smell of the birthday cake blend tobacco. He didn’t have the heart to tell them it tasted awful.
“Why does smoking a pipe make you look more intelligent?” asked Dean.
“Do you disagree?” he replied.
“No I don’t, but it seems like there should be a reason for it.”
He held the stem of the pipe in the middle of his mouth, hand on the bowl, and blew smoke out of both sides simultaneously, smiling in a way.
“You’re right, there is a reason, but it’s fairly long and complex.”
His friends indicated for him to continue.
“Very well,” he took a few quick puffs to keep a nice burn going for the explanation. As he spoke he would take a puff between each sentence to keep the pipe lit.
“A cigarette will stay lit without effort since the burning element [puff] or the cherry is exposed to the air [puff]. The burning element in a pipe is blocked from the air [puff]. If air is not continually drawn to the cherry by puffing [puff], it will extinguish itself [puff]. In order to smoke a pipe and converse [puff], a pipe smoker will have to keep his phrases short [puff]. This has the effect of sounding intelligent [puff], since long meandering sentences give the impression that the speaker is talking out of other body parts rather then their brain [puff] [puff] [puff]. The pipe smoker says the short sentence [puff], and then takes a puff [puff]. If the pipe smoker says a long sentence [puff], he has to puff a few times when he is finished to keep it lit [puff] [puff]. This allows for the listener to fully absorb what the pipe smoker has said [puff]. When combined [puff], these two speaking elements give the impression of intelligence and wisdom [puff]. However these effects are merely incidental [puff], really all the pipe smoker is doing is trying to keep the pipe lit [puff].”
“So it’s all an illusion then?” asked Dean.
“Precisely.”
“And it’s coincidental at that too,” said Nick.
“Quite,” he said.
“So you really aren’t that smart then are you?” asked Dean.
He took a long draw and held the pipe in his hand, then blew smoke out through his nose.
“Nice try,” he said.


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I am a graduate of Chestnut Hill College. I have been writing for about seven years. I also have severe dyslexia, which has hindered me in my creative endeavors, but has also inspired me to work harder to succeed as a writer.
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2 Responses to this post

  1. rrsmith on June 7, 2012 at 5:48 AM

    Great short story.

  2. Anonymous on June 12, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Excellent story! Very interesting theory!

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