IPSD. To the uninitiated, like my wife, it sounds ominous. I was prattling on about this special day over the weekend, and my wife didn't know what I was saying. "Did you say IPSD? Is that some sort of condition, like ADD or PTSD?"
"Condition?" I said, appalled at her ignorance. "It's the most important day of the year!"
"More important than, say, my birthday?"
"Not fair. This is a day celebrated by people around the globe every year."
"My birthday would be, too, if you knew how to throw a proper party. What's it mean? Wait, I can get it: Idaho Poets Significance Day? Irrelevant Prefix Suspension Day? Industrial Paint Swirling Day? International Perfume and Scent Day?"
"Your clumsy guesses are inappropriately irreverent. It's International Pipe Smoking Day, and it's this Tuesday."
"Pipe smokers have a day now? What do you do with it? Smoke?"
"Well, yeah. We do. But it's more than that."
I didn't try to explain. Her dad had smoked pipes around her since the time she was a baby, so she thinks of them as articles of daily living rather than utilitarian art celebrated by a thriving pipe community. I'd have no more luck than if I was explaining International Athletic Socks Day.
But we pipe people know.
It's a day when we celebrate personal freedoms and work toward more understanding of our pastime. Pipe smoking is most often a solitary activity, but for ISPD we raise a bowl in honor of our fellows and commune with the world's population of similarly minded people. We remember the rich history of pipe smoking and the many smokers who came before us. And we also look to the future, providing knowledge and information for those new to the pipe. Pipe clubs and retail stores plan activities and sales, our favorite pipes are laid out for the event, and we cherish the small, good things in our lives.
Ours is a philosophy of peaceful coexistence with those who do not understand us. But most of all, it's a philosophy reflected in ISPD: to enjoy life and the vast community of pipe smokers, all of whom are brothers and sisters of similar enthusiasms.