Some collections come together in a very abstract way.
Not this one. It is an homage to the art of smoking. The accessories on their own are interesting but the poster with its smoke-obscured face is what gives the whole set its edge.
I found the poster at an estate sale of a deceased hippie who was also a hoarder. Those hoarder houses are the best but they're exhausting because you can't relax your radar for a second or you'll miss something amazing. Really, hoarders are modern day archivists. They just lack the credentials and the proper facilities.
Aside from the poster, my favorite element in this collection is the book, Habit, by William James. Originally published in 1890, the first chapter is excerpted from Popular Science Monthly, February 1887:
"Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state. We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone."
It is tough to quit smoking, and only gets harder the further you get from that 'plastic state'. My mother quit cold turkey. My father on the other hand, quit unsuccessfully many times. When we were young, we four kids made it our mission to help my dad quit. We gagged and complained when he lit up, especially in the car or at the kitchen table. We broke his cigarettes and slid them back into the pack. We hid the packs in ingenious places like tucked amongst my mother's lingerie. One memorable time, we slipped a mini firecracker into the tobacco shaft. This was back when you could smoke in the movie theater, which is where my parents were when that firecracker went off.
My dad could holler in a way that scared small dogs and big men and the morning after the firecracker incident, he stormed into the kitchen releasing a torrent of threats so frightening that my sister, standing by the sink twitching with fear, knocked a pack of cigarettes off the shelf and into a pot of dishwater. The silence that followed lasted a lifetime. We watched a slow motion film of emotions cross my dad's face: incredulity to denial to acceptance to anger, and finally, amusement, at which point we breathed in air again, supplying our brains with the oxygen needed to beat a fast retreat. Needless to say, that was the end of our anti-smoking activism.
He did finally quit. The coup de grace came at the birth of his first grandchild. He wore a patch and limited his smoking to a tiny windowless lavatory off of the laundry room, which had garish yellow and orange wallpaper and no room to do anything but stand at the sink or sit on the throne. He was forced to stare at his reflection as he smoked. It worked.
To this day whenever I see smoking accessories, a bubble of mischief pops into my head as I remember our campaign of conversion with a father who was outnumbered. That's why this grouping is really one of my favorites. I hope you like it too!