To Pipe or Not to Pipe
Every dope-smoking fiend has a preference. There are those who have the old romantic perceptions of a nice fatty. They like the precision and the craft of making a finely rolled joint.
There are those who prefer the bongs. True bong-smokers will tell you that a bong affords the most delectable and varied of pot-smoking experiences. A bong, if you don't know, is any vessel that holds liquid, with a pot-stashing unit atop the vessel, and a separate intake area where you inhale your drug of choice. The smoke travels through the liquid, is cooled down, and apparently allows you to inhale more in a single toke since it has been "treated." It also apparently cleans the smoke a little, making it theoretically less damaging to your lungs.
In fact, the true bong connaisseur will tell you that you can "flavour" your dope by changing out the liquid. I had an aunt who was partial to putting red wine and port in her bong. I've tried it, and while it does offer a bit of flavour, I'm just not wild about inhaling through rather disgusting liquid (because inevitably, you're bound to overshoot your mark and accidentally inhale liquid--I'd rather not).
And anyone who's tried cleaning their bong--and I'm neurotic about clean paraphenalia--will tell you it's a bit of a chore. Break out the pipecleaners and boiling water, my friends.
One other category of smoker would be the blunt fan. Myself, I've never even seen a blunt, let alone smoked one. Since I'm going on third-party information and just don't care enough to look into it, I'm told a blunt is when you carve out a bit of a cigar and stuff your dope in there, and fix it back into a one-piece cigar again.
Now, that, I've never understood. I guess hating stinky cigar smoke is part of the reason, even though I've smoked 'em before. I also respect marijuana far too much to mix it with tobacco. Apparently mixing dope with tobacco is big in England, but maybe that's because it's too hard to come across, and too expensive.
The final class of dope-smoking fiend is the class in which you'll find me. The pipe-lover. I actually collect pipes--some from San Francisco, Vancouver Island, and beyond. Many pipes are convenient and come with a lid atop the bowl so you can pack it in advance and carry it to wherever event you think having atmospherics might enable you to better enjoy yourself. But the ultimate in pipe-owning luxury is the ProtoPipe, as seen above.
I've had trouble finding the history of the ProtoPipe, but it has apparently been around for decades. What makes it stand out is that the unit, as seen above, contains: A poker, a removeable bottom segment that allows for thorough cleaning of all innards, a chamber in which up to five bowls of dope can be stored, and a handy lid for the bowl which also doubles as a snuffer so you don't burn more than you need to ('cause it just ain't cheap). The great thing about the poker is it's also the key to open the removeable bottom but is additionally designed to be the perfect width and length to clean out the airway through which you inhale, which always clogs with tar. It's actually designed to arrest the tar's progress so you're not inhaling too much of it, so that cleanability is a very important factor.
I know there are going to be people who think I'm a falt-out pothead, and that's fine by me. Whatever gets you to sleep at night, you know? We all have our vices. At least I admit mine. That we somehow think drinking is less addictive or troubling is naivete at its finest... or the American way--brainwashing.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that dope is to Vancouver what wine is to France, but I don't think it'd be too much a stretch to suggest that. I do know it certainly contributes to the lax lifestyle we have in this town, and whether you smoke or not, that lifestyle is something to love.
And there's your pot-apparatus 101.