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I’m sitting on a bench in the waiting area of the dojo where my son, Harrison, only recently began learning Tae Kwon Do. A moment ago, there was a young girl a few paces from me talking to a friend’s parent and telling him the tale of her brother who was bullied at school today.

As the story goes, the young boy tried to walk away, but the bully kept pushing him, ultimately landing a thrust to his chest that caused him to fall backward and hit his head on the floor. Apparently, all of it was caught in a pretty lengthy video and has since been shared with school administrators who are promising to do something about it. According to the young girl’s mother, who was standing beside the young girl as she told the story, when she and her husband saw the recording, they were furious, and rightfully so. But in light of the situation, the expression of their fury was curious.

I know the boy. I’ve seen him here at the dojo. He’s not a big kid, but I’m pretty sure he’s one of the students preparing to test for a black belt. In other words, he has some skills that could easily dispatch a bully on the playground. And yet in their anger, the advice mom and dad gave to their son was to take a stand against the bully by matching action for action. She fervently reported that she’d told her son that if the bully pushes him, he is to push back. If the bully calls him a name, he is to call him one back. If the bully takes something of his, he is to take something from the bully.

I’ll admit that I don’t know the fuller history to the situation, but from what I do know, I was stunned by the advice because it seemed as though they were pressing for their son to deliberately escalate the problem. The only thing I could think was, Have you forgotten where you are right now and what your son has been learning for the past few years? He hasn’t been coming here every Tuesday and Thursday for who knows how long to train for a black belt in Tae-Learn-How-To-Make-Things-Worse-Do. And he certainly isn’t preparing to demonstrate the proper technique for falling and hitting his head against the floor.

My advice: Forget returning malice for malice. Be humble and controlled, but put your skills to work. With the first shove, warn him. With another shove, warn him again. After that, landing one of those round-house kicks you’ve been perfecting against his teeth should just about do it. Certainly we don’t want anyone to get hurt, but if pain infliction is going to be a part of the unfortunate equation, let it be used for bringing the situation to a speedy conclusion, and let it be leveled against the bully and not the victim. And besides, your kid will probably end up being a YouTube sensation and maybe even land a spot on The Ellen Degeneres Show.

In summary, what’s the point of taking the time to gather the necessary tools for success if when the time comes to employ them you don’t? Such context is reminiscent of the Century Distillers’ 20-year-old Ninety edition. At such an age, and with such experience, this whisky should be taking out schoolyard bullies left and right, but instead, it’s more of a confused amalgam that wants to be caught off balance.

The nose of the Ninety is a syrupy sauce of alcohol-soaked caramel apples. A follow-up sniff reveals salt and stale caramel corn.

The palate is the nose’s identical twin, although the two are easily discernible by the fusty animal cracker mole on the palate’s chin.

The finish is a medium stroll of sullenness through the schoolyard, one in which the tongue is oppressed by bitter rye and wood spices. There’s a sense of depth waiting to be discovered, and a couple of drops of water offer aid toward its revelation, but in the end, the whisky just won’t dig any deeper to become what it could be. Instead, it falls back and hits the floor.

As I already mentioned, my son Harrison is currently a student of Tae-Kwon-do, and as far as I know, he isn’t being bullied at school. But I assure you that if he was, I have a small stack of monthly invoices from a dojo down the street that both assumes my permission to dig deep while foreshadowing a swift end to the situation.