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Cigar Guy is smokin’ on the Internet

Heidi Rice
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Fried Rice
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“What in the WORLD are you laughing about?” I shouted to Husband-Head, who was upstairs in the office having a good ol’ hoot by himself. “We’re too OLD to be smoking that stuff, so just knock it off!”

“You’ve got to come up here and see this,” he called down and then started laughing again.

I didn’t smell anything funny as I made my way up the stairs, but I couldn’t imagine what could be so damn funny.



On the computer monitor was a picture of what looked like Tiger Woods on yet another golf course.

“Yes, that’s a hoot,” I sighed, staring at the screen. “A photo of Tiger Woods playing golf…woo-HOO! Is there something going on with his ex-wife again? Although, to tell you the truth, I’m a little sick of that whole story…”



“No, look closer,” Husband-Head insisted. “Look at where his ball is going.”

I no longer care where any of Tiger’s balls are going but I humored Husband-Head and scrutinized the screen a little closer.

The ball was going directly into the camera.

“So the photographer gets his camera creamed with a golf ball?” I asked. “At least Tiger Woods can afford to replace it.”

“No, look closer,” Husband-Head instructed.

I didn’t really see anything.

“Check out the background and the guy on the right in the crowd of spectators,” Husband-Head pointed out. I zeroed in and saw a goofy-looking guy with his hands in his pants pockets, wearing a ginger/brown colored wig – or maybe it was a turban – a fake Groucho Marx-style mustache, a large cigar hanging out of his mouth and a look of complete amazement in his eyes.

“They call him the Cigar Guy,” Husband-Head explained with a laugh. “He’s become an Internet phenomenon. His image is plastered all over the place.”

It was true.

Cigar Guy had apparently been accidentally caught in a photo taken a couple of weeks ago by a photographer from a British newspaper, The Daily News, while Woods was playing the final hole in the Ryder Cup tournament in Wales.

But it was the look on the Cigar Guy’s face that captured everyone’s attention and he became an overnight sensation with his face Photoshopped onto all kinds of famous photos, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, where he can be seen in the background as a spectator to events that include looking on behind an Apollo astronaut on the moon; being a prominent observer as President and Mrs. Obama took their stroll down Pennsylvania after the 2008 election; as Paul McCartney on the cover of the Beatles’ album cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; standing behind the couple in the famous photo of a nurse being dipped and kissed by a sailor in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II; as well as numerous classic sports photos.

“Cigar Guy is EVERYWHERE!” Husband-Head laughed as he scrolled through all the photos. “And the expression on his face just always looks so amazed!”

And while his image was going viral throughout the Internet, the obvious question was… who the hell IS this guy?

Turns out he’s a 30-year-old, single investment analyst who reportedly lives with his parents in South London. His real name is Rupesh Shingadia. According to reports, Shingadia was simply dressing up as Spanish golfer Miguel Angel Jimenez.

The next morning I got an e-mail from Husband-Head while he was at work.

It was a picture of the Cigar Guy in a family photo with The Simpsons. And apparently, Shingadia later told the press that the Simpson photo was his favorite of all …

“I bet the Cigar Guy will be the hottest Halloween costume for this year,” I wrote back to Husband-Head. “I’m thinking we’ll have at least 50 little cigar-toking tots with turbans at our door.”

The whole thing made me think of what we were going to be for Halloween.

“I think I’ll be Betty White,” I decided on my favorite “Golden Girls” star. “Who do you want to be?”

“I want to go as Ina Garten’s husband, Jeffrey, from the Barefoot Contessa cooking show,” he said firmly. “He gets to stay away all week and just comes home on the weekends for really great meals.”

If he does that, I’ll be sure to Photoshop his face on photos of Justin Bieber …

Heidi Rice is a columnist for the Citizen Telegram and the Post Independent. Her column runs every Thursday in the CT and Friday in the PI. Visit her website at http://www.heidrice.com to see more columns or purchase her book collection of columns. To contact Heidi, email hrice@rof.net.


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