Cigar Dream Journal Contest Winners

By: Eric Metaxas

The First Annual Cigar Dream Journal Contest has exceeded our wildest expectations. Although our proposal to sponsor a contest of dream journal entries featuring cigars was initially greeted with derision (and then, later, with scorn) we were confident of success from the outset. More and more people are smoking cigars; more and more people are keeping dream journals. It was only logical these trends should converge and a number of these dream journal entries feature cigars. Q.E.D. The entire editorial staff of Smokin’ wishes to thank everyone who submitted entries. (Note: Until such technology exists as can verify the contents of dreams Smokin’ thanks contestants for abiding by our strict honor system and surprise polygraph tests.) And now, the winning Cigar Dream Journal entries!

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Dear Cigar Dream Journal,

In my dream I’m me, only different, and although I never smoke cigars before dinner in real life I am smoking a cigar before dinner in the dream — only I’m conscious of how strange it is, as though I were awake. Anyway, the cigar in the dream reminds me of someone I went to 3rd grade with, and who I read in the papers had recently been arrested for drunk driving, and I want to bring it up, but I’m afraid it might be awkward, so I just stare at the cigar meaningfully to communicate my thoughts and the cigar gets embarrassed and blushes and burns down to nothing in like one second flat and I’m left with nothing to smoke so I run to my tobacconists and right outside there’s a cigar store Indian and it looks just like Al Gore and then I realize it is Al Gore and I scream and wake myself up.

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Dear Cigar Dream Journal,

Last night I dreamed that I opened up a box of cigars and when I looked inside there was Freud’s prosthetic jaw! The phony rubber jaw that smoked all those monster stogies! And was their sad result! Anyways, before I know what’s going on the ersatz jawbone starts a-yakkin’ away like there was no tomorrow — in German, only in the dream I could understand German because it was in English — and he’s going on and on about how he would be remembered by history and so forth, and then he stopped short and said he had a real hankering for a cigar and would I mind providing him with one — but I got all creeped out at the thought of putting a cigar in that rubber jaw, only it was like he could sense I was hesitant and he started chewing his way out of the box and howling and chasing me around the room — the rubber jaw! In the dream I couldn’t run very fast and the rubbery jaw was just about to bite my ear lobe — which was huge and dragging — when I screamed and my wife woke me up and Katie Couric was tickling Al Roker.

* * * * *

Dear Cigar Dream Journal,

Last night I dreamt that I was Rush Limbaugh’s stomach — except with full consciousness and my own “identity”. In the dream Rush and I are real pals — we do everything together and have a real time of it, though I “morph” out of his body now and again to sneak a smoke on my own. (Somehow in the dream the idea of a smoking stomach seemed perfectly normal.) When Rush finds out about this he gets ticked and decides to have me amputated. Then I realize you can’t amputate your stomach, but Rush says this is a dream and he can do whatever he wants.

* * * * *

Dear Cigar Dream Journal:

I am smoking a magnificent twelve-inch Brazilian “Blackie” while my Mutti is away at the beauty parlor. I am a child again — although in the dream I have retained several adult features — including an outrageous dressing gown and perfumed beard. But somehow, in the context of the dream, being a bearded child seemed perfectly normal. I thoroughly enjoy the cigar, puffing wildly and filling the room with smoke. When Mutti returned home she was furious! I suddenly realize she’d been saving that cigar for Papa, who had just been killed in the Africakorps. Her memento mori was now ash! Mutti shrieked, then tore the stub from my fingers and ripped off my beard, and I woke up. P.S. When at last my eyes adjusted to the light, there was Mutti (now eighty-eight) standing over my bed with a pair of large shears.

* * * * *

Dear Cigar Dream Journal:

Last night I dreamt that George Burns was playing Luke Skywalker in some new Star Wars movie. When he pulls out his light saber it’s a huge freaking Cohiba with a flaming tip. (Castro is Darth Vader and Foster Brooks is Chewbaca.) Chewbaca roars something to George at the very moment when George is squaring off with Darth. So George turns around really quickly to hear what Chewie is saying and he accidentally decapitates Castro with the flaming stogie! But Castro’s head keeps talking very calmly, as though he’s accepted it all and is willing to change with the times if that’s the only way to stay alive. We all sit around and have a nice smoke and then Castro’s head says to Darth: ìWho do you think you are playing God and killing people?î And everybody laughs because that’s precisely what Castro did, and then I realize hey wait a minute, George Burns also played God in all those movies with John Denver, and then we realize that George Burns and John Denver are dead and the whole thing just seems so ironic, except in the dream the word ironic means something totally different.

* * * * *

Dear Cigar Dream Journal,

In my dream I dream that while I’m smoking cigars they get longer instead of shorter. Then in the dream I fall asleep and I have another dream where the cigar is getting really really long because it’s still lit and I’m asleep and I sleep for like a thousand hours — Rip Van Winkle-style — and when I wake up — in the dream — the cigar is now twirled around my body like a boa constrictor and it’s still growing. Then I shift my body and it starts growing away from me and shoots toward the horizon out of sight, but I know that it’s putting others in danger so I get on the phone and try to warn people about it and I learn that it’s constricting someone on the other end, twelve thousand miles away, and then I realize that it’s gone all the way around the world and is constricting me again and I don’t know what to do and I wake up.

* * * * *

Dear Cigar Dream Journal,

In my dream I dream that a cigar is just a cigar. Then I wake up.

* * * * *

[If you have enjoyed these Cigar Dream Journal Entries please be on the lookout for our upcoming sister publication, Cigar Dream Journal Journal, available on-line and at fine tobacconists everywhere. Eds.]


Eric Metaxas is the author of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (but were afraid to ask). His humorous essays have been published in The New York Times and The Atlantic — Woody Allen has called them “quite funny” — and during college he was the editor of The Yale Record (the nation’s oldest college humor magazine). He has written for VeggieTales and is the author of over 30 children’s books, including Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving. Eric lives in Manhattan with his wife and daughter and is the host and founder of Socrates in the City, a monthly speaker’s series on “life, God, and other small topics.” For more information or to contact him, go to:



By: Eric Metaxas

Dear Classmates,

I am so sorry I couldn’t be with you this evening for this important reunion! I’ll never forget all our good times together! Anyway, I thought I owed you all an explanation for my absence, and perhaps one of you will read this letter to the Class for me. There are actually several possible reasons I am not with you — unless I suddenly do in fact show up, in which case please stop reading this letter immediately! Otherwise, please continue. (Why not scan the room one last time? Am I still absent? Excellent. Proceed.) As I say, my absence is almost certainly due to one or more of the following reasons, listed here in the approximate order in which they were typed.

1) I got lost on the way over and just turned around and headed back home, totally frustrated. I’m kicking myself for not asking directions. Doy!

2) Tonight is the night — yes, I am blushing — they usually update the section on eBay that deals with antique corduroy plush animals. Frankly, I don’t trust my wife to bid for me. Last month while I was indisposed she let a handsome narrow-waled lemur slip through her fingers. He was Edwardian-era and in the original box — ouch, ouch, ouch! I will not let that happen again.

3) I got lost on the way over and turned around and headed home. And then I got lost heading home! Ugh!!! In this case I may be on my way over after all — but I have no way of knowing. guess you shouldn’t hold your breath.

4) I got lost on the way over and almost almost made it to where you are. In fact, I got as far as just next door to you! I am so furious with myself! Anyway, I’m there right now, unable to get out, because whoever just shut the place down and turned out the lights when they left simply didn’t know I was trapped in here — ugh! If this is the case I am likely attempting to smash through the wall to get to you this second. If so, please step away from the wall now. Go! I am using a large handtruck which I’ve loaded up with some cases of Enfamil. I should be able to get enough momentum to crack through the sheet rock — unless, of course, I hit a stud, in which case I’ll be a few more minutes. Please go ahead and start eating.

By the way, all the Enfamil here leads me to believe this is a Duane Reade or CVS, which makes no sense. Wasn’t there a Mom-and-Pop bookstore here, like, yesterday? I could really use a stud-finder. Of course, I own one, but where is it now? At home in my toolbox!

5) I am stalled on the shoulder of that big interstate near you where you all are and I could really, really use a jump. Hello? If you have jumper cables and can get here really super quickly I’d appreciate it. I’m not sure exactly which exits I’m between, but I know I just passed one about a mile or so back, if that helps. Also, there are lots of cars whizzing past — I just saw a rust-colored El Camino! — and there is a guardrail to my right. Just beyond the guardrail there is some kind of bush. No, wait, it’s not a bush, it’s…sorry, turns out it is a bush after all. There’s a Waldbaum’s plastic bag caught in its branches. You can’t miss it. There are some buildings in the distance and there’s a little bird nearby. Anyway, I’ll probably be inside the car writing this when you get here. A U-Haul truck just drove past. I’m really freezing. Please hurry!

6) I’m very ill with something embarrassingly, horribly gastric and the mere thought of the rubberized yellow-skinned chicken and wax beans I know you will be served shortly makes me want to scramble to the commode except I’m on the couch sweating with pain and can barely move. I suppose if I had to I could use a mechanic’s creeper. Of course, I have one — but where is it? In the freaking garage!!

And finally — 7) One of you blasted me to Kingdom Come on the way here. I believe you know who you are. And because of the look on your face right this second — now! — the others in the room are on to you! Seize him! Incidentally, just before I coughed up the ghost, gargling your girlfriend’s monstrously pretensious name, I dialed 911, so the authorities are pulling up outside where you are right now…(Nobody kills me and gets away with it — understand, fat boy?) Hey, when the cops show, could someone please ask them to check the basement next door — just in case I’m actually still in there! And hey, by all means, have a super time tonight. Again, my sincerest regrets to everyone! You guys are so awesome!


Eric Metaxas is the author of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (but were afraid to ask). His humorous essays have been published in The New York Times and The Atlantic — Woody Allen has called them quite “funny” — and during college he was the editor of The Yale Record (the nation’s oldest college humor magazine). He has written for VeggieTales and is the author of over 30 children’s books, including Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving. Eric lives in Manhattan with his wife and daughter and is the host and founder of Socrates in the City, a monthly speaker’s series on “life, God, and other small topics.” For more information or to contact him, go to:


Baby on Board

By: Justin Warner

Congratulations on your purchase of the SafeTot Infant Car Seat: the safest, most reliable car seat that a reasonable amount of money can buy. IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ AND MEMORIZE THIS INSTRUCTION MANUAL, INCLUDING THE SPANISH AND GERMAN TRANSLATIONS, PRIOR TO YOUR CHILD’S CONCEPTION.

1. Important Warnings

Although SafeTot is by far the safest way to transport your child in a motor vehicle, its safety cannot be assured or implied in any way. Unless you would prefer to live with the tragic consequences, lifelong guilt, and social humiliation that arise from easily-prevented injuries, always follow these important guidelines:

1.1) Use ONLY a REAR-FACING car seat until your child exceeds 22 pounds in weight, 29 inches in height, or 34 weeks of age, whichever is intermediate, AND when the sum of the squares of the three values exceeds or equals the volume of water, in fluid ounces, that the child displaces when fully clothed.

1.2) Install the SafeTot ONLY in a suitable location in your vehicle. Unsuitable locations include but are not limited to: front seats; seats equipped with air bags; seats without vertically retracting “J”-lock seat belts; upholstered seats with a fabric pile less than 700 nanometers; seats in certain vehicles manufactured in Japan or North America between 1994 and 2003 that may not conform to federal HMPAC regulations (consult FBI records for details); any seat that has ever been touched by any infant carrier other than the SafeTot.

1.3) Secure the SafeTot car seat and the infant passenger with all necessary harnesses, restraints, and bungee cords (where applicable). Restraints should be tight enough to prevent any motion whatsoever (including motion due to flatulence, rapid breathing, or, in summer, excessive molecular vibration), yet loose enough for comfort.

1.4) SUFFOCATION HAZARD: Failure to properly secure infant in car seat may cause cushions to spontaneously dislodge and force themselves down infant’s throat. Always make sure infant’s head is neither above nor below the inner lip of the northernmost cushion before moving or turning your vehicle.

1.5) STRANGULATION HAZARD: Incorrectly attached harnesses may contort into a slipknot that will hang your baby like a cattle rustler in Deadwood. To prevent this, ensure that harnesses are properly crossed but do not intersect.

1.6) Never leave the SafeTot Infant Car Seat out in the sun. At temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius the SafeTot emits a neurotoxic gas that can be absorbed through the skin for up to five weeks. If you have left the car seat out in the sun, consider eliminating Harvard and Yale from your baby’s college list.

2. Installation

2.1) Installing Base

Thread lap belt (1) through slots (A), (B), and (C), taking care that the grain of the belt stitching remains perpendicular at all times to the UPC code (D) on the underside of your vehicle’s transmission. Connect lap and shoulder belts with locking clip (E) on passive-restraint sliding-latch combination belts ONLY; if you are unsure which type of belt your vehicle features, perhaps you lack the basic responsibility to care for another human being, dumbass.

2.2) Attaching Car Seat to Base

Simply push seat into base until you hear a click. The click should be sharp and crisp, with peaks in the 1000-1200 megahertz range; a lower frequency may indicate that the plastic has cracked internally, rendering it completely useless. If this has occurred, you may have incurred the wrath of the Destroyer god Shiva; to avoid retribution, incinerate the car seat and scatter its ashes across the Ganges.

3. Harnessing Infant in Car Seat

WARNING: Have you ever dropped a cantaloupe from a tenth-story window onto solid concrete? That’s your baby’s head, if you fail to follow these instructions correctly.

Unlock the infant restraint handle (F). Open the harness clip (G). Retract the grappling jaws (H-K inclusive). Place child in seat such that the spine and calves form an angle between 100 and 110 degrees. Insert buckle tongues (L) symmetrically yet contrapuntally into inverted crotch strap (M). Tighten both shoulder straps (N, O) by pulling straight down from the back, simultaneously, with a pressure differential not to exceed 3.7 psi. Snap together harness clip (G) directly over the center of child’s sternum, steering completely clear of the four lowermost ribs, which may rupture child’s pancreas on impact. Attach grappling jaws to child’s ears, elbows, hands, feet, and external genitalia (as applicable).

4. Final Safety Checks

— Pull on all harnesses to ensure a tight fit. If harness yields approximately 3 percent of its length in slack, you had it right the first time.

— Check level indicator (Q) to ensure that seat’s center of gravity aligns with the center of gravity of your vehicle and its intended passengers; make other transportation arrangements if necessary.

— If child has shifted position or density of the air has changed at any time during harnessing, uninstall car seat and repeat entire process, beginning with your ill-conceived plan to have the baby in the first place.

Bon Voyage!


Tom Cruise’s Answering Machine

By: Matt Blair

Well, ‘ello, Tom! Bryan Brown calling. Listen, mate, I heard your career’s takin’ a bit of a nose dive, what with all this Scientology hullabaloo you’ve been on about. I just wanted to say that if you ever need to talk, or if you need some advice on slipping away into a cold, lonely life of obscurity, then I’m your man. You can call whenever, mate. These days I spend a lot of time puttering around the house. So, um…Yeah, just give me a call. Oh, and I don’t know if this is a good time, but I really think the time is right for Cocktail 2. “Fancy a go of it?”

“Yo, Tom! Tommy, it’s Cuba! Don’t play me like that, Tommy, I know you’re there! Tom! All right, man, I guess you’re not in. Listen, I’ve been watching you giving it up out there, and I’m diggin’ it! I’m diggin’ it! But Tommy, from one brother to another, you’ve got to start reining it in, you know what I’m sayin’? This is me, Cuba Gooding, Jr., telling you to tone it down! Man, when you’re crazy compared to me, you know you’re crazy! I did a hundred pushups for Regis this morning, baby! And you know what I’m doing this weekend? I’m wrestling a gorilla! A gorilla, Tom! That’s how I’m livin’, baby! I’m crazy, I’m out there! But Tommy, I’m tellin’ you, man, you are crazier than me! You’ve got to relax, dawg! I’m all about lovin’ you, and you’ve got to take care of yourself. It’s all you, baby! Whoo! Listen, I’ve got to go jump off the roof of this building, but you call me!”

“You think I’m glib, Cruise? You won’t think I’m so glib when I’ve got my foot buried in your ass! You’d better change your mind about morphine real quick, because you’re going to need it after the world of pain I’m going to put you through! Oh, and get yourself a couple of psychiatrists too, because I’m going to beat you so hard it’s going to blow your mind! Nobody makes a fool out of Matt Lauer!”

“Mr. Cruise? Hi, it’s Beck calling. Look, uh…I know you’re a really busy guy, but I was wondering if I could, like, ask your advice. You see, before you started getting all these headlines and stuff, nobody knew I was a Scientologist. And it’s like, now that everybody’s talking about you, and the press keeps writing these articles where they, like, mention the names of other famous Scientologists, all of the sudden I’ve got all these people asking me questions about it. It’s like, people have all these questions about Scientology because it’s, like, really weird, and I know we’re not supposed to talk about it, so I was wondering what you thought I should do. I wrote a song about it called ‘Champagne Shantytown Autobump Funk,’ but it didn’t seem to clear anything up.”

“Mr. Tom Cruise! Honey, it’s Oprah calling! I just wanted to thank you so much for coming on the show. People can’t stop talking about you! Now, baby, I hate to have to do this, but we need to talk about the damages from the interview. You know I love you, honey, but I’m going to have to bill you for the couch you set fire to after the taping. There’s also Bobby, the cameraman that you punched out. I know that was all in fun, but he’s talking about suing for damages. I bought him a lovely little new red Miata, but I think it would still be nice if you gave him a call. Oh, and I got a call from your people about featuring Dianetics in the book club, and I love the idea! But to tell you the truth, I just don’t know if our viewers are ready for it. Maybe if you replaced the volcano on the cover with a country lane, we could talk. Call me, sweetheart!”

“Hello, Tom? This message is from Penélope Cruz. You may remember, I am the woman who you dated between the woman you were married to for many years and the twelve-year-old girl who you are dating now. And nobody seems to remember any of that, even though it was in all the papers at the time when it was going on, and I just want to say that I am okay with that. And if you don’t know why, it is because I did not know then that you would be nuts. And now, whenever I turn on the television, I see that you are, and for each day that I am not with you, I am thankful. Because I do not want to be the woman on the arm of someone who is nuts. So I am not bitter, I want you to know that, and I hope that you and your daughter – I’m sorry, I mean to say your new girlfriend – will be very happy together.”

“Tom, what’s up? It’s John T. calling. I just want to say, I think the way you’re going to the wall for the Church at every opportunity is really impressive. It’s great that you’re not worried about your career, or your public profile, or how many people think you’ve suddenly gone completely insane. I’m glad I’m not the only one out there anymore, you know what I mean? I thought I’d made some waves when I compared Germany’s campaign against the Church to some kind of Fourth Reich, but you…I mean, you’re out there, and that’s really great. Like I said to Tarantino after the opening weekend gross came in for Pulp Fiction: thank you, thank you, thank you! By the way, did you get a call from Beck this week? That kid seems really stressed out. Well, stressed out in the mellowest possible way, but you know what I mean. Anyway, I’ll race you to the next OT level, what do you say?”