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“Oh, you’re selling books,” the woman said scanning my table at the craft show.

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied with a smile.

“And you’re signing them, too,” she chimed with surprise.

“Indeed, I am.”

“Did you write them?”


Now this could have gone one of several ways. The one that happened in my mind but never made it past my lips sounded something like:

Oh my, no, I didn’t write these books. I stopped by a bookstore and grabbed a bunch of random volumes written by other people. I figured I’d set up shop here at the craft show and sign my name to their works. So, wanna buy one? I’ve got a pen. It’s not my pen. I stole it from the bookstore where I got the books.

Fortunately for both of us, as I already noted, I managed to keep from such a response. I steered clear of it by restraining the effects of the hormone oozing from my sarcasm gland. But I’ll admit, it was a struggle—even more so when she walked away without purchasing a single volume.

By the way, after her comment, she offered some casual conversation as to how her pastor just wrote a book, as well—a collection of ten of his best sermons.

Oh, did he write the sermons?

To at least participate in the conversation, I mentioned to her that if I collected all my sermons into a single volume, at about five pages of text per sermon, I’d have about five thousand pages in my book.

“You mean you never reuse the old ones?” she asked. “My pastor does that all the time.”

Oh, so he’s not doing his job, huh? That’s cool. Well, at least now you’ll not only be able to hear the same sermons over and over again, but you’ll be able to read them, too. Maybe after a while you won’t even need to listen to your pastor anymore. Heck, you might not even need to step foot in the church ever again.

As you can see, my gland’s beta-cells were working overtime. Unfortunately, other versions of the same conversation happened at least three or four more times throughout the morning. On the bright side, I used some of my profits from the books I sold to buy a hotdog and a bar of scented soap.

I ate both—one to quell my hunger, and the other to punish myself for my sarcastic thoughts. Sort of like that bar of soap mom would grate into my braces when I said something I shouldn’t say.

Believe it or not, I feel bad when these thoughts pop into my head. I guess I felt I needed to go a little further with this one.

Okay, so maybe I didn’t eat the soap. But I thought about it. I also thought about how having a flask in my pocket during such conversations would be just as salving to the soul as a punitive soap munching. I own three flasks, and with that, I won’t be making the same mistake the next time I do a book signing at a craft show. I might even bring along the Wayne Gretzky Canadian Whisky Red Cask edition.

In the midst of an elementary school hallway filled with essential oils, overly fragranced lotions, and homemade pumpkin spice holiday candles, a nosing of the Red Cask offers a distinctness of character that cuts through the hovering cumulus with rye spices and a dry sauvignon. A little more concentration added to a second and third sniff reveals the smoked, but damp, finishing barrel.

The palate—a milky and well-balanced amalgam of raisins, vanilla, and allspice—teases interest in what other wonderful concoctions might be hiding just over the border at Gretzky’s distillery. The medium finish of biting berries and nougat affirms the desire to find out.

As I noted before, it’s a pacifying dram, and I suppose that had I been fiddling with a flask-full in my back pocket while entertaining conversations that require me to coldly explain why it would be ridiculous for me as an author to be signing books that weren’t my own, knowing that a sip was only moments away, all would be much easier to swallow. And I dare say that the hotdog probably would have paired well with it, too.