4th, 50%, american individualism, bruichladdich, dealing with difficult people, facebook, fourth of july, islay, islay barley, lutheran, narcissism, post-moderism, rockside farm, scotch, thoma, troublemakers, Whiskey, whisky
“Calm down, Chris,” I said to myself while watching a single person take an otherwise pleasant Facebook thread and turn it in a dreadfully contentious direction. “Just calm down. Some people will make an argument out of anything. It’s just the way they’re wired.”
I’m probably not catechizing you – at least not most of you – in something you don’t already know. And I’ll bet many of you are like me, acknowledging that it often takes an exceptional bit of restraint to resist responding to commentary meant only to stir disagreement. I’ll admit, in the past – in fact, even recently, unfortunately – I have failed to observe that line of restraint and I’ve wandered into the enemy’s territory with guns blazing. Each time, the lesson is the same: It never – and I mean never – helps. It never resolves anything. Why? Partially because personal opinions reign supreme here in this sludge we call post-modern America, but also because so much of that sludge is now being occupied by a certain kind of truth-resistant person. This person is the one who, seeing a post saying something like, “Thanks to all who came to the Fourth of July party yesterday! We had so much fun!” feels the need to weigh in with “Glad you celebrated a day that’s so offensive to Native Americans.”
It’s all downhill from there. One person chimes in with an angry internet assembled history of America’s heritage, a history that has been gathered primarily from the likes of Wikipedia. Then another reads the response, takes issue with a few of the details, and climbs on board claiming to be 1/75th Native American, thus bearing the supposed right to speak as an authority regarding the topic. And finally, by the time the whole thing comes to an end eighty-two replies later, so many who were celebrating together at the party are now found despising one another. The original contender is hovering in the shadows feeling as though he really got a good discussion started, that he has helped to instruct a lot of ignorant people in a better way. He really believes he’s done an admirable thing.
If you are that person, just know that you didn’t do anything virtuous. In fact, I want you to know what everyone else thinks of you – at least those of us who are on to you. Are you ready?
You are an infantile narcissist nursing from the breast of mankind’s natural inclination to appear “right” rather than actually be correct. You are nourished by chaotically subjective emotion, finding the most sustenance in heightened rage. It is the chief and most prized fruit that you seek, and in the end, your life’s culmination is destined to be a lonely one.
You are a menace. You are intellectually shallow and of little value to most conversations. You speak when you should listen. You advise when you should be guided. If only the rest of us could remember this and refrain from participating in your feast. If only the rest of us were gifted enough to convince the others who’ve already been dragged into the furnace-like fray to understand, withdraw, and refrain.
As I mentioned before, this happened to me rather recently. When it occurs, do you know how I accomplish a calmness, at least how I endeavor to accomplish personal tranquility?
You bet. I set down my Facebooking device, pour myself a Scotch, recline next to my beautiful wife, smile at my wonderful children, and remember that I am immediately surrounded by loving people, and with that, I pretty much have everything I need – even if everything beyond this appears to be coming undone. God is good.
After the most recent event requiring such focus, I took the opportunity to pop open an untapped bottle of the Bruichladdich Islay Barley Rockside Farm. This was an excellent choice, to be sure.
The crisp sound of the cork was pleasant enough in the situation, but the nosing that followed made promises that carried this poor sod to better territories.
Up and out of the bottleneck came the familiar scent of warmed oatmeal. This was by no means difficult to smell. In fact, for those of you who think that guys like me are just making this stuff up, that all whiskies smell the same, well, get your hands on this whisky and give it go. You may even get the incredibly pronounced malty tinge that sweeps in behind the inhalation.
The palate is easy and light. It’s not what I expected from this Kindergartner. Being that it is only six years old, I expected some uncoordinated, and perhaps slightly bittered, resistance. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a little bit of sugar and some honey crisp apples had been added to the oatmeal.
The finish was medium. It’s here that you realize that the whisky is younger than most. There’s a brief bite in the back of the mouth, but this little disturbance washes into history’s record warmly and sweetly.
This particular whisky could be the standard “go to” beverage when seeking respite from troublemakers. Although, remember to drink responsibly, my friends, or you may just end up crossing that line you were trying so diligently to respect. Indeed, it happens to the best among us, I’m sure.