You say you “like” whiskey. And so do I. I say that too. But I think “like” is too weak a word for our beloved fire water. You like candy and cokes and vanilla wafers and shit like that. We need more robust words for what whiskey means to us.
Inuit people, they say, have about fifty words for snow. I’ve also heard that’s complete bullshit, but I’m no fuckin’ anthropologist. Point is, they got a lot of words for snow cause it’s important to them.
I’m thinking we need some more words for “like,” particularly as it relates to whiskey.
I LIKE hot and spicy food. Jalapeños, serranos, Thai chili peppers, that kind of thing. I want my food to hurt me. I LIKE the hurt.
I LIKE horseradish sauce too. Why, I can’t tell you because by any objective standard it tastes like fermented shit. But sometimes my sammiches get boring and need a little assistance. I just LIKE it. I don’t know why.
I also LIKE fish sauce, blue cheese, cigars, and the Bee Gees. None of those make any sense either.
And every one of those “likes” has a different feel to me. It seems wrong to use the same word for all of them.
Here’s what I think is going on:
When there is a payoff to a substance – mental, physical, or emotional – over time our minds convince us that we “like” it. That way we’ll keep consuming it. Think of your unconscious mind as a pragmatic, amoral being in your head pulling levers and turning knobs and carrying on secret conversations with you.
Ooh, that felt GOOD. What did you just drink?
Whiskey. I didn’t like it much though.
Hang on. I’m still processing the effects. Ohhhhhh. Oh yeah. Dayum. Okay from this point forward, you like that shit. I’m officially putting whiskey on the like list.
Okay. I guess I like whiskey now. Are we good?
Oh we good. We definitely good now.
I don’t know what kind of payoff you get when you drink whiskey, but I know my own history and what whiskey has meant to me over the years.
Whiskey is manly. When I was young and wanting to be a man, whiskey was a right of passage into manhood, you might say. These days we got lots of ladies in the whiskey tribe as well, and I LOVE that. They’ve got their own reasons for drinking whiskey I guess. But this was certainly one of mine.
Whiskey intoxicates. It lubricates the soul you might say. Especially for cantankerous old bastards like me. There are times when I’m a better man with a shot of whiskey on board. That’s just a fact.
And whiskey, my friends, is dangerous. Dangerous like life and love are dangerous. Most really good things aren’t safe anyway. Have you noticed that?
Bottom line: whiskey is our fire water, our communion, our baptism, and our companion in this dangerous as hell business we call living. We dare to whiskey because, godammit, we dare to live. And joining together with others who drink the fire water is a way of finding kindred spirits for the journey.
Do I like whiskey? Fuck no, I don’t LIKE it.
I travel with it; I endure it; I sojourn with it in the wilderness.
I fight with it; I study it; I celebrate with it among friends.
I love its fire; I probe its secrets; I receive its gifts in humility and with grace.
That’s why I whiskey.