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The sky was gray. The rain fell in thick streams. The little boy pressed his forehead against the pane of the sliding door leading to the pool. Even as the lights flickered when a rather tremendous flash of lightning connected heaven to earth and pressed our chests with its thundering crack, he kept his eyes to the carpeted floor below him and maintained his frown.

“Why can’t we just go swimming, anyway?” he pouted.

“You’re willing to chance a swim against being turned into a crispy critter?” I asked.

“What are the odds lightning will hit our pool?” he swiveled to ask without lifting his head from the glass.

“That last one was pretty close,” I said. “I’m guessing the chances are better than average.”

Turning his gaze back toward the floor, “I’m more likely to get attacked by a shark than be struck by lightning,” he whispered.

“That doesn’t make any sense, Harrison,” I said. “The odds go up exponentially when you put yourself in certain environments.”

“No they don’t,” he argued. “I read in a book that I’m more likely to get attacked by a shark than struck by lightning. There’re no sharks in the pool, so I’m definitely not going to get struck by lightning. The odds are the odds.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“You can’t argue with the mathematics, Daddy.”

“Seriously,” I offered again. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Nope,” he said and smiled. “Can we go?”

It took me a moment to unlock my stare.

“Sure, okay,” I replied. “But first we need to get some sharks and put them into the pool so that your ratios are a little more accurate.”


“The lightning is all but hitting the houses around us,” I said. “Let’s get some sharks into our immediate vicinity, too. I’ll bet whatever your book said about the odds will prove true. I’ll bet you get attacked before you get struck by a lightning bolt. But I’m also willing to bet that while the sharks are feasting on your bloody carcass, both you and the sharks will get struck by lightning and end up looking like the fish served up in the Admiral’s Feast I ate at Red Lobster last night.”

The skinny kid with pasty white skin and his forehead still pressed to the glass turned his head toward me once again and chimed with a bright smile, “So does this mean I can at least get into the pool while you’re out looking for sharks?”


It’s almost impossible to successfully dissuade a ten-year-old kid born and raised in the snow-swept state of Michigan from getting into a swimming pool even in a lightning storm, especially when that same kid has waited over 350 days to enjoy it. The odds are better you’ll be struck by lightning fired from a shark’s eyes than find victory in such a fracas. You’re better off saying no at the first sign of moping. When the feisty little chum nugget asks you why, just stay the parental course and use one of the standard go-to responses—something like, “Because I said so” or “Go ask your mother.”

And then pour yourself a calming dram and be glad you, one, outsmarted the kid who almost outsmarted you, or two, successfully pawned him off on his mother, both of which providing the avenue for reaching for that aforementioned dram. With regard to calming, I would recommend the Tin Cup American Whiskey.

Created by Jess Graber, the co-founder of Stranahan’s, this whiskey is cut with Colorado water, and the resulting potion is an exceptional sipper from start to finish.

The nose is a wafting of buttered sweet corn that’s been grilled and not boiled. There’s also far more than a hint of vanilla sprinkled with crushed almonds.

The palate gives over a preliminary peppery sensation that eventually turns toward the bronze shoreline of melted brown sugar.

The finish, while short, is full of surprises. After an initial nip of the pepper you first experienced in the palate, there’s a swift fading into something briny—perhaps cornstarch and salt—and then it almost immediately becomes something sweet—like saltwater taffy.

I suppose that in one particular scenario, the only bad thing about this whiskey is the tin cup that comes attached to the bottle. It’s definitely something you don’t want to have nearby while serving as a lifeguard for a ten-year-old kid in a swimming pool during a lightning storm. But at the same time, you could put it on your thumb and use it to gouge out a shark’s eye if needed. From what the experts have calculated, the latter appears more likely than the former.