June 16, 2008
When I was a kid cigarette smoking was much more prolific. Several of my parents’ friends smoked. It was more of a social symbol than anything. When you watched television or movies it seemed like everyone smoked. Although I hated the smell of smoke it was something you just learned to tolerate. One of the side effects of being around people that smoked (other than continuously smelling like you just played several hours inside a fireplace) was that there were a large assortment of matchbooks always lying around. Now before you think I am about to confess to being a closet pyromaniac let me assure you that is not where this story is going. I was always fascinated by these matchbooks. Some of them had interesting words of wisdom and some of them showed detailed works of art upon the covers. I studied each cover fascinated with the notion that someone somewhere had a job where they had to decide what to put on the outside of the matchbook. I always thought about what that guy must be like at dinner parties. As you were mingling with the other guests before dinner conversation naturally turned towards what each person did for a living. It would get to the matchbook guy and the whole rest of the evening would be spent trying to explain to people how you get all that stuff on the cover of a book of matches. You’re probably at this point wishing this story had been a confession of me being a pyromaniac, sorry. Of all the matchbooks there were one set that I was more fascinated with than any other.