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Watch her fall down a flight of stairs, and without losing her rhythm, hop to her feet and say, “What are you staring at?”
Behold her wrestling with her older brother, and in the grittiest moment of the dust up, when their heads meet with the sound of a horrifying crack, hear her say to her tearful opponent, “You should be more careful.”
Put her into the orthodontist’s examination chair with the intent of putting metal objects into her mouth and see her lose her mind.
If you can imagine it, this was the scene: A man dressed in his priestly garb beside a little girl in an examination chair, an orthodontic assistant tasked with cementing a retainer into place, and a room full of people chatting about everything and nothing. The assistant, so kindly and so gently, instructs the little girl to open her mouth widely and say “ah.” But as she reaches toward the toothy orifice on the little girl’s face, it snaps shut and she begins to flail, her head turning in different directions, her arms swinging and blocking every attempt of the assistant to accomplish her goal. Her father, the man wearing the clerical collar and dressed in black, he lurches to hover above her, grabbing her hands for fear that she’ll hurt the assistant or herself. In response, the little girl’s knees go up and into her father’s groin and stomach. One foot kicks the utensil table attached to the mechanical arm sending it spinning away toward the assistant and patient in the next chair over. The father, doing his best not to choke on his own injuries, does all that he can to talk her away from the frenzy. A moment of calm ensues and the assistant tries again only to receive the same response. It’s then that the screaming begins and the rest of the room becomes focused on the exorcism-like event happening in chair 1 which, by the way, also happens to be completely visible to all in the waiting area.
Looking back, I think that both I and all the others in the room almost expected to see her head spin as she slowly rose in a free-float above the chair. In fact, had she not been bribed by the orthodontist—who is a dear friend, by the way—it probably would’ve happened this way. And I suppose that as the moment stands in time, the only details missing from the event were pea soup and me sprinkling holy water while shouting, “The power of Christ compels you!”
When I arrived home later in the day, I told my wife, Jennifer, what happened, and I assured her that she would be taking the little girl to her next appointment. She laughed. I think she thought I was being funny. But I wasn’t.
Maybe she’s possessed, too.
No matter. I’m ready. In the meantime, I’m going to sit and sip whisky, and the Laphroaig Lore edition is the one to reinvigorate me for the next demonic engagement. Or trip to the orthodontist. Whichever. Both are inevitable. I have four children.
I use the word “reinvigorate” purposely with regard to the Lore, because no sooner than it falls from the bottle into the glass does a particular realization materialize: This stuff is rich, but also high-octane. A deliberate sniff brings and bestows committed vigor, suggesting, “A stride with me through the peat fires will not only reward you, but you’ll be shaped to box with the devil and win.” And so you follow the whisky’s lead into and through the haze, walking past simmering cauldrons of dried fruit and salty butter, the surrounding fires aglow with smoldering peat spewing blue flames. Each of the emanations is delightfully overwhelming.
Already intrigued, you reach to stir and steal a sip from the nearest kettle. It’s a powerful injection of singed and salty vegetables—spinach and artichokes—soaking in the sizzling, fatty juices of a sirloin that fell into the fire but was quickly retrieved. The ashes are still on the beef.
The clinging finish defines the dried fruits—apricots and raisins.
Looking at my calendar for tomorrow, I see that I have quite the busy day, a portion of which will require doing battle with those who would see the Lord’s church in ashes—both intentionally and unintentionally. Thankfully, none of tomorrow’s events involves taking my daughter to the orthodontist, so with that, it’ll be an easier collection of 24 hours.