Typically, business owners tend to frown when you drink alcohol in their establishment, but not this business owner. Jay, owner of Happy Harbour Comics in Edmonton, was downright giddy about the prospect of the latest Scotch-tasting event he generously hosted (or maybe that was just the single-malt).
Whatever the cause, I’m glad to have been a part of the event. It was a fundraiser for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, the team I’ve supported during both my marathons. The man leading the event, an educational ‘Scotch 101’, is Dave. He’s running in support of his daughter, who survived Lymphoma. He also has a passion for Scotch. You can follow him on Twitter @MaltTroll.
Normally, scotch and running don’t really mix. Although if you ever hear of such an event, do let me know! I might have a shot at being good at a sport after all! Even Scotch and a comic store are a bit of an unusual pairing. Some purists believe that scotch shouldn’t be mixed with anything. But I’ve learned that I like unusual combinations. I believe this is where magic happens.
I’ve mentioned in the past that NASA hires for diversity (all things being equal, they’ll hire someone from a different background or experience over someone whose background and experience is already represented on the team because that diversity has been found to lead to faster, more creative solutions. On a space ship, quicker solutions can make the difference between life and death.)
I also read recently about the four types of experts as described by Tara Sophia Mohr on the website 99u.com. She described one of these as ‘The Cross-trainer”, someone who takes some experience from one area and applies that expertise to another area with effective results. I love this kind of expert.
I personally have a long and varied history of strange jobs. From ‘singing and dancing tree’ (not my actual title, but fair description of what I was doing), to financial services, to café manager and even IT, I believe one day my strange career path will make sense when I find a job that perhaps uses all of the experience I’ve accumulated. In the meantime, I can impress the pants off of the guys during trivia games when I show off my knowledge of cars, a remnant from having a mechanic father and working at a car museum.
There can be a price to pay with this much change, however. My date for the evening, a friend who I haven’t seen in a while, was lamenting that she’s never really found a ‘best friend’, and I agree completely.
I went to a couple of different schools, then moved away for University. I’ve changed homes quite a lot since the age of 12, and have never had a consistent friend in my life, though I’ve had some very great ones over the years.
I think this lack of consistency in our jobs, schools and habitats has changed the profile of our relationships. Some lucky souls do meet their ‘friend for life’ and have that one, great person they can count on always. But many of us don’t.
I think it’s like tasting Scotch. Often people will say that they either like scotch, or not. It’s a strong drink, to be sure. But there was a time when I didn’t even like wine. Then I took the first level WSET course where I learned how to taste wine, to enjoy wine. Now I get it. I understand all of the comments and beliefs about how wine makes everything better.
It’s the same for Scotch. You can take a strong dram with a high alcohol content and feel a burn instead of flavor. That’s just the style of one very particular kind of scotch. There are a great many flavor profiles. You can just as easily come across one that has a smooth, easy-drinking flavor.
I must have had a good scotch on my first few tries because I certainly found something to like. And then, I came to Happy Harbour for a real education. We sampled 6 different scotches. As it turns out, there’s a lot of complexity in this very simply-made drink. But how easy is it to totally discount scotch entirely, just from one bad dram?
I didn’t know, for instance, that there is a style of scotch made with so much peat and smoke that it feels like a campfire in my mouth. Luckily I was introduced to a new love and perhaps best friend in the Sherry-bomb scotch: a scotch fully-aged in sherry barrels. Wow! The flavor was amazing! And though I didn’t think there could be much differentiation in the world of Scotch, I learned that there’s a lot more than meets the eye. Our first impressions may not be giving us the full picture.
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