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Not everything in life is clear. I understand this.

Take, for example, the U.S. Tax Code. That’s a near unnavigable monstrosity. Even the ever-optimistic Christopher Columbus, after a day or two of sailing its paper waves looking for shore, would have forsaken all hopes for a sure landing and thrown himself overboard to drown in the ink.

Another is the grisly Lusus Naturae of Michigan, which is the series of four interconnected, tri-laned roundabouts at the Lee Road exit of U.S. 23 in Brighton. Each day, many attempt to brave its Kraken-like embrace, but few emerge to share their terrifying tale.

Some things in life are crystal clear.

The coastal waters of Bimini are clear. Albeit they’re infested with hammerhead sharks. And yet, the water is so pristinely clarion that you’ll effortlessly behold your doom’s gliding approach long before the first bite.

It’s crystal clear that the drive-thru at McDonald’s is for serving quick orders to people on the go—a Big Mac, fries, and a coffee for the one who didn’t have time for dinner and is already late for an evening meeting. It’s also abundantly clear that this truism isn’t so clear to some. In other words, I’m suggesting that there will always be those who don’t realize that it is much more polite to go inside the establishment to place a massive order. The drive-thru isn’t for the 15-passenger van filled with children, piloted by the parent who thought it would be a much simpler way to gather pile after pile of specially prepared food that everyone else in the drive-thru knows the teenage attendant will never in a million years get right the first time around.

“Yeah, and make four of those cheeseburgers with only one pickle and a light swipe of ketchup. Make another six with only one pickle and a light swipe of mustard. The other nine can all be regular, except with no cheese or those little sprinkled onions.”

“So, just ketchup and mustard?”

“Yeah. Would you mind throwing an extra slice of cheese on my Quarter Pounder? And nine of the kids want their drinks to be half Coke and half Hi-C. Can you do that? Great. And then I’ll have five orders of the twenty-piece chicken nuggets. But could you keep them in the fryer a little longer than normal? That’s the way I cook them at home and the kids just love ’em. It makes them a little crispier. Yeah, thanks.”


As one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven large bags are passed through the window to the driver, over the course of the past twenty minutes, the line in the drive-thru has begun to look more like a winding funeral procession. The facial expressions of my fellow mourners give it away. And it gets even worse when the van’s driver remains at the window and checks the contents of each bag—unwrapping sandwiches to make sure there aren’t too many pickles strewn throughout the lot—and then hands a few things back to the attendant because the order is incorrect. Just as the rest of us knew it would be.

“Ma’am, if you wouldn’t mind pulling forward, we’ll sort this out and bring your order out to you.”

“Oh, sure,” the woman says so kindly and pulls forward. Still, the space-shuttle-sized vehicle is far too big to allow enough room for the patron behind her to actually reach the window, unless of course he’s willing to climb out onto the hood of his car to make the transaction. I would be. But he isn’t, and with that, it becomes more than clear there will be no escape for any in the procession. The drive-thru’s hostage scene will carry through to its completion, and in a sense, will be reminiscent of the waters off the coast of Bimini—something you expected would lead to fulfillment, but instead became an unclouded vision of the gaping jaws of starvation and your late arrival to a meeting.

There’s another thing that’s crystal clear, but in a literal sense: The George Dickel White Corn Whisky No. 1.

Unlike the previous scenario, thankfully, the longer I’m immersed in this particular potion, the more I think I like it and the more I want to investigate white whiskies in general. It has a creamy, richly sweet, and overtly grainy nose—like a helping of Frosted Flakes long-soaked in milk.

In the mouth, there’s the sense of burnt cornbread, but surprisingly, it isn’t all that bad. There’s still enough sweetness in the mix to make it both inviting and interesting.

The finish could use some work, though. It’s there that the whisky becomes somewhat bitter, letting you know that even though the dram is certainly clean enough in its appearance to pass as water, there are pollutants in there—namely charcoal and what I am suspecting could be fragments of a corn cob’s waxy husk. Still, as I mentioned previously, the longer the George Dickel White Corn Whisky No. 1 holds me captive, the more I feel I may be someone capable of epitomizing the Helsinki Syndrome and one day finding myself strangely admiring my captor as I carry through to the hostage situation’s questionable end.

That is, of course, as long as my captor isn’t the heartless driver of a 15-passenger van full of finicky children in the drive-thru at McDonald’s.