This violently affectionate term of endearment is the creation of three good friends who amuse each other by saying awful stuff to one another in order to get a chuckle, an extension of the "you hate me" trend as exemplified below:
<Number-6> kidkero hates me
<KidKero> I do :(
<corsican> nick hates me cause I hate him :(
<KidKero> I hate corsi because he's so fat :(
<corsican> waaaaah :(
which finally lead to:
<Number-6> KidKero hates me.
<Number-6> He beats me with a lead pipe.
**** KidKero beats Number-6 with a pipe.
It is best used on friends, and should not be confused with to bludgeon to death with a cider jug. After all, Hallmark has nothing on friendly bludgeonings with large cold metal objects.
That being said, lead pipes have a strange way of popping up all over our popular culture. The Parker Brothers board game Clue features a lead pipe as one of the weapons, and the 1985 cult film based on it is something of a camp classic. In 1991, Parker Brothers was acquired by Hasbro.
In 1994, two-time Olympic champion figure-skater Nancy Kerrigan was effectively knocked out of the U.S. Nationals by a lead pipe to the knee. Shane Stant, Shawn Eckardt, and Derrick Smith were charged with the attack and Jeff Gillooly -- who just happened to be the ex-husband of Kerrigan's chief rival, Tonya Harding -- was later implicated, as was Harding herself. Harding went on to win the Nationals, and has been largely off the pop-cult radarmap since then. Kerrigan went on to win a silver at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway (Harding was a distant eighth.) Kerrigan later went pro, and has since made a career with a number of Stars-On-Ice-like shows, including playing Sandra Dee in Grease On Ice.