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I won’t tell you the name of the place due to the fact that some of the information I’m about to share could be considered “spoiler” material.

Essentially, the establishment is one that offers four different escape scenarios. In other words, you pay to be locked in a series of rooms, and in order to escape, you need to find clues and solve riddles. We reserved an hour-long session in the pirate-themed scenario, which was comprised of three distinct rooms. The end goal was to get through all three of the rooms and then solve a final puzzle that would eventually reveal the location of a golden medallion. If the medallion is discovered within the allotted time, the players win.

Once the timer begins and the challenge is engaged, you are allowed three free clues. You get these clues only when everyone in the group agrees to the need for one and then calls out to the monitor who is watching and listening by way of cameras and a PA system. This means that while you are playing, you can talk to the monitor, and the monitor can see and talk to you.

In all, the game was a lot of fun, and everyone in the whole family participated—although I think I need new glasses because I really struggled in the dimmer light. Nevertheless, there was one particular moment during the game when I felt the need to either pull my phone from my pocket, do an internet search for a particular image, and then put the image up to one of the closed circuit cameras so that the monitor could see just how incredibly wrong she was, or simply yank the camera from the wall, kick open the last of the locked doors and call it a day. For the sake of my family and the remainder of our vacation, I chose to do neither.

What I mean is that at one point, there was a riddle involving a series of images—six in all. Each of the images was different and had two letters printed on the reverse side. Having already solved a previous puzzle, we knew that we only needed three of the images—a skull, a compass, and an octopus—and with that, we would only need to combine and unscramble the letters from those particular images.

But there was a problem. Two of the images were that of an octopus. Again, on a hunch (and for the sake of vindication), I did an internet search later that evening when we returned home, and sure enough, the folks running the game merely downloaded the images from the web, printed, and laminated them. The following are the exact same images of the octopi that were used in the game. 

There on the floor in the second room, with almost all of its mysteries solved and less than fifteen minutes to go in the game, we disregarded the picture of a mermaid and another of a sailboat. The four remaining lay before us.

“We only need the compass, the skull, and the octopus,” Josh said hurriedly.

“But there’s more than one octopus,” I spoke just as frantically. “Which one do we use?”

I flipped both over and tried to make sense of the letters between the two of them. It was then that the monitor called through speakers, “You were right. You only need the compass, the skull, and the octopus.”

“But there’s more than one octopus,” I half-shouted toward the camera.

“One is an octopus and the other is a squid,” the voice said crisply.

“No,” I returned. “They’re both octopuses… octopi… whatever.” I leaned toward Josh, “I’ve watched enough of The Discovery Channel to know the difference between a squid and an octopus. The creatures in both of these pictures are octopi.”

“No, they’re not,” the voice said dryly and firmly. She’d heard me. “One is a squid,” she continued, “and the other is an octopus. An octopus has a round head. A squid has a pointy head. Use the octopus.”

“Whatever,” I muttered once again toward Josh. “I think the eye-in-the-sky wants us to use the more round-headed of these two cephalopods.”

And so, tossing aside the octopus with the cowlick, we unscrambled the letters and solved the last of the lock boxes. Within was a key which led to the third room.

Now, one last time for the record. This is a squid.

And this is an octopus.

Two very different creatures from among God’s vast creation.


Events like this don’t happen all that often; that is, there are few times when someone is so clearly and objectively adrift in such a simple and obstinate wrongness that everyone else around him or her is wondering how the person has lived so long, let alone has been granted the freedoms to do such things as use a gas stove, have children, or drive a car.

“Ma’am,” the officer says, “that was a stop sign you ran back there.”

“No it wasn’t,” she argues. “It was a yield sign.”

“Ma’am,” he continues, “a stop sign is an octagon and a yield sign is triangular. That was a stop sign.”

“No,” she insists, “I’m pretty sure a stop sign is more rounded and a yield sign has a minimum of three flat edges. That was yield sign even though it had a few more than the minimum number of sides.”

“Uh. Okay. License and registration, please, ma’am. And I’m gonna need you to step out of the vehicle and give me your keys.”

The only thing left to do after such an idiotic run-in is to turn to an establishment that knows, produces, and ultimately exceeds the standards of rightness with nearly everything they set before the public for consumption. The Glenmorangie and Dr. Bill Lumsden’s Bacalta edition is a case in point.

Initially wrapped in the scent of glazed biscotti dusted with almonds and soaking in medium roasted coffee, the palate of this gem is one of warmed malt, toasted bread, orange marmalade, and a slight measure of all-spice.

The medium finish is unmistakably malt, both sweet and sour citruses, and little bit of dark chocolate.

It’s right. Very right. So right, in fact, that had the eye-in-the-sky demanded I affirm that her octopus was a squid in exchange for a dram of the Bacalta, I might have succumbed to the urge to sacrifice truth for a lie.

“Say it!” she says and pours. “It’s a squid, right?!”

“Oh, yeah,” I offer and sip. “Whatever you say. It’s got eight arms, a rounded… I mean, a pointed head. That’s a squid, alright. Definitely a squid. Don’t be stingy, now…”