the eternal flame quest

this one got a little ridiculous…

…and the first fuck up was 100% my fault. the rest, however, were totally not!

so i have two lighter/cutter cigar combos. one is the “home one”, mainly due to the size of the lighter (which is about the size of a can of soda you’d get on an airplane). it’s a colibri table lighter and it’s paired with a xikar first generation cutter. one of the first ones put out. very rare, only subtle differences distinguish it from the current one, but if you know, you know. these don’t leave the house.

the second one has a lot more sentimental value – it includes a cutter i asked rob to order, and he ended up having to order ten (stupid minimum orders!) but he sold all nine in the three days it took me to come in, so he just gave me mine for free since he had no idea they were out there or would be so popular. the lighter attached to it was another rob gift where he asked me to test a new triple flame lighter he could sell on the cheap. while the plastic trim didn’t last worth a shit, the actual lighter is still alive and kicking almost twenty years later. this combo rides with me everywhere, living in the center console of my car.

so needless to say neither of these really travel with me, so i needed a new one and i wanted a cutter/lighter combo to take to vegas. i wanted to get a good quality one so i don’t have it fall apart to where i wing it off a terrace into a fountain on the strip. so i went after a xikar one i found searching “cutter lighter” for around fifty bucks. when it arrived it was cool and sleek and ONLY a cutter, with no lighter built in, so i sent it back.

i then found a colibri one i really liked in matte black that was available from a place in el paso as an open box item that had been “cosmetically checked over but not mechanically verified as operational” for $80 so i ordered it, the refund hit on the cutter just before arrival, and i was out an additional thirty bucks. i put some fuel in it, which was admittedly kinda old but that shouldn’t make a difference, and it would spark but not flame. i bled the tanks and tried again. still nada. so i arranged for it to be sent back and went looking again, this time looking for this mode specifically because i really liked it, i just wanted one that, you know, actually worked.

this search turned up several in the $175-250 range, with one standout being a shiny gold one (sooooo not me) that was in houston (bonus) and only $125 (also a bonus) so i ordered the gold one and waited for the refund from el paso, which hit the day before this was supposed to arrive, so i was only out ANOTHER $45.

i watched the tracking number, which dragged slowly out of houston and finally made it’s way here, but then went from “out for delivery” at 7:30am on a saturday to “held at post office by customer’s request” at 8:30 even though i hadn’t requested any such thing. i had no time to deal with it saturday, so i just went monday to discover they couldn’t find it. they took down my name and number and i went to work. they found it in my absence.

i went back and picked it up, took it home, went to fill it with fuel, and ran into this:

the middle part is dented because i blindly tried to fit the fuel nozzle there only to find they never drilled the case! exasperated, i set up the return since it was defective, packed it in the same box it came in, and went and dropped it off after hours at the post office.

the next day i had to drop the ufc’s phone to be shipped out, and brought up to the clerk that after all her work the damn lighter was defective and she said, “wait – did you drop it off last night?” when i said i had, she retrieved the box and pointed out that i’d packed it in a priority box (which it came in) but then put a first class return label on it, so it would have to be repacked and labeled or i’d pay additional postage. so i took it back home, re-boxed and labeled it, and shipped the fucker out…again.

i then ordered a black one for $145, or an additional $20 if you’re following the math here, and my postal app now looked like this:

and the black one finally worked! seventy-first time’s the charm!

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