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The dishwasher was empty. The countertop was uncluttered and clean. The stainless steel sink glistened in the sunlight. Even the dish soap bottle had been wiped spotless of its water pocks.

I like it clean.

An empty yogurt cup in hand, a well-licked spoon in the other, the little girl shuffled across the kitchen floor and set both on the counter at the edge of the sink and skipped away.

“For crying out loud,” I growled, having just hung up the dish towel, “at least put your spoon in the dishwasher!”

“Sorry!” she chimed, changing course and making her way back to the scene of the crime.

“No, you’re not,” I said.

“Yes, I am,” she whined, beginning to open the dishwasher door.

“No, you’re not. You do this every time.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do,” I insisted. “And do you know why?”


“Because you’re too lazy to put in the extra bit of effort it takes to throw the yogurt cup into the garbage and put your spoon in the dishwasher.”

“I’m not too lazy!”

“Yes, honey,” I said adamantly, “you are, and it’s not just with spoons and yogurt.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are,” I said resolutely. “And do you know how I know this?”

Assuming she already knew the answer, her words got softer and slower, “Because my room is always messy?”

“Nope,” I returned. “Because of your mother’s side of the bathroom upstairs.” The little girl’s face donned a look of confusion as she wondered how her indolent habits had anything to do with her mother. I think I heard a collective breath from others in nearby rooms as they, too, awaited the logic in my statement.

“Come with me,” I said, taking her by the hand. Arriving at the bathroom door, I pointed to the difference between the two ends of the countertop. One is very messy and the other is pristinely neat.

“When your mother lets you guys come in here to get ready for school or before bed, apparently you only have enough energy to go as far as your mom’s sink. You don’t have the strength to go another three feet to mine, and so all of the things you feel you need in order to brush your teeth—a toothbrush, some toothpaste, a few toys, some cat stickers, a rubber ball, and whatever else is essential for success—all of it piles up on her side of the bathroom.”

“It does?”

“See for yourself,” I said “I feel bad for her. In fact, I’m surprised she hasn’t asked me to set up a mirror near the pond in the back yard so you guys can start getting ready out there.”

Dropping to one knee, I looked into the little girl’s eyes. “I know it’ll be exhausting, and with such exertion, you’ll probably need a glass of water halfway through the effort just to stay hydrated, but go downstairs to the kitchen and put your spoon in the dishwasher and throw your yogurt cup in the garbage, please. ”

“Okay,” she said with a half-smile and turned to go back downstairs.

“Give it all you got, honey,” I called to her. “You can do it.” She said something in return, but I couldn’t quite hear it. I can almost guarantee it was something snarky. But even as I strained to hear her words, I could hear in my head what I surmised would have been my wife’s words in the moment.

I let them use my side of the bathroom because the first time they would’ve left a half-dried glob of spit and toothpaste in your sink, you’d have spun out with a stroke. That’s why they don’t use your side of the bathroom.

I could hear my inner response, too.

Well, my dear, while you do put up with a lot around here, that particular truth didn’t fit the lesson at hand. The little ne’er-do-well needed to learn more about ditching her sloven tendencies and less about my germipaedophobia; that is, my fear of coming into contact with the general grossness of children, namely, my own.

As a pastor of a church with a school, I’m around kids a lot, so in one respect, you have to give me some room with this one. I shake hands with a lot of people and I get hugs and high fives from countless numbers of kids. Not even my office is safe. My side of the bathroom serves as an innocuous space of sorts, a place where there’s no chance of coming into contact with a miniature human who just mined something from his or her nose.

Go ahead and use mom’s side of the bathroom, I say. I’ll be over here having a drink and fearlessly interacting with all of the available space.

When it comes to cleanliness, I try to keep things at a certain level, which is one reason why I think I like the Glengoyne whiskies so much, especially their 18-year-old edition. It is a crisply sparkling rendition of a fresh and flavorful dram.

With a nose of sherry-sopped apricots, milk chocolate, roasted almonds, and a mention of coffee, this whisky tempts the idea that highland whiskies are the best. Of course no true whisky drinker would say that. Nevertheless, the purity of the breeze arising from this edition is close to being as good as it gets.

The palate is just as fine, offering the same sherry and chocolate, a pinch of ginger stirred into vanilla, and a silky lather of overly buttered caramel.

The finish—a short to medium wash of spiced apple rings and vanilla—confirms that while there certainly are some whiskies only worthy of being used to clean bathroom countertops caked in desiccated toothpaste and drool, there are indeed others to be held in the highest regard and enjoyed in one’s safe space a few feet away from the sordid scene.