Internet Fairy – Wigle

In 2012, my wife, Jennifer, created a birthday experience for me surrounding my new found obsession with whiskey (…or whisky for those of you Scotch and/or Canadian enthusiasts…) and based in our love of Pittsburgh and its burgeoning beers, bars, boozes, and bites.

We started at Industry Public House where I had an apple-wood-smoked bourbon over a Rubik’s-cube-sized, crystal-clear block of ice.

Back in the car she presented me with my own hand-held smoker with a variety of woods.

We then had a “Tonic tonic” at Tonic, which remains one of the best proprietary cocktails I’ve ever consumed. We’ve tried to recreate the unique mixer and the absolute perfection of balance between fizz, sweet, bitter, and sour…but to no avail. Fortunately, it’s always there at Tonic.

Next stop, a tour of Wigle Whiskey.

“What’s that?!”

She handed me an article she’d printed and then explained that we were touring Pittsburgh’s first whiskey distillery since approximately Prohibition. By the time I finished the article we were pulling into a small parking lot adjacent to the distillery.

We entered a large tasting room, neat and clean and decked out in shiny blues, warm whites, dazzling chrome, and a stunning de facto art installation of a coral-blue fiberglass drop ceiling studded with hanging bottles.

We met Mary Ellen Meyer first, and we felt like we’d encountered a friend, a kind distant family member. (Notably, I had worked distantly with her in the past as we both had backgrounds in pediatric therapies….me communication and she occupational.) Every Meyer and Grelli we encountered in this family-business were positive, enthusiastic, warm, and obviously proud of the environment they’d both envisioned and established.

Eric Meyer gave the tour. We were blown away. The tour included wry humor, cheekiness, and full engagement while also building a historical thread between whiskey making in Western Pennsylvania and the politics surrounding the Revolutionary War and the subsequent decades. The weaving of Pennsylvania rye whiskey and its namesake rebellion was outstanding. The tour included an initial cocktail and a closing tasting. We talked about distillation and barrel aging. We learned about The Battle at Bauer Hill and the fact that our ancestral Yinzers were quite close to seceding and forming a new country, “Westylvania.” Stunning, I thought, in its lack of any creativity. Though, I’ve encountered “Steeler Nation” all across the U.S. and abroad and perhaps I shouldn’t be terribly stunned at the decisions and behaviors of those Scots, Irish, and German distillers who would eventually become the very Yinzers I encounter seemingly everywhere I go!

I came to Wigle with no expectations, and I left among their biggest fans.

As the barrel-aged whiskeys matured and release dates were set, I planned and executed cold mornings standing in lines of hundreds to get a few bottles of the first wheat and rye releases. These early releases sold out within hours, and I always made sure I got mine. Jennifer made cookies for me to bring and share with the crowd. On one occasion I was interviewed by a documentary film-maker. Another time I was the absolute first in line and was rewarded with my very first Wigle tasting glass. (These, by the way, are the absolute best vessel from which I’ve tasted spirits.)

The Winter and Spring of 2012-2013 were spent in this fashion, our love affair with Wigle growing as we got to know the spirits and the people even better.

One fateful afternoon in the early Summer of 2013, several weeks after Jen and I had toured Tröegs Brewery in Hershey and experienced a wonderful tour guide whose passion and skill prompted Jen to say, “Greg, you should do that for Wigle,” I found myself in a Pittsburgh coffee shop several tables from our Wigle tour guide, Eric. I popped over to say, “Hi,” we chatted for a few minutes, and I shared our positive experience at Tröegs. Before I could approach Jen’s suggestion, Eric interrupted, “You should come down and be a tour guide.”

Not being one to ignore the confluence of serendipity, coincidence, and karma, I began my training regiment just days after the Karmfluendipitous encounter with Eric.

I’ve been a tour guide at the Wigle distillery since.

The spirits at Wigle, both human and liquid, are exceptional and unimpeachable. One need only look to the media/press tab on the Wigle website (here) or reference this article lauding Wigle’s showing at American Craft Spirit Association Conference in Austin earlier this year, here. Six medals including a gold for the mind- and palate-blowing organic deep cut rye. Hell, just Google search “Wigle Whiskey” and read through the first page of links, including Yelp and Trip Advisor…both of which have their share of trolls. (Along with being awesome in every possible way, Wigle also appears to be relatively troll-proof. As well they should.)

My shelves are full of Wigle…the variations on the distilled honey spirit “Landlocked” (white, spiced, and oaked), rye-whiskey backboned Dutch style ginever (white and oaked), Pennsylvania Wapsie Valley corn Bourbon (the Kentucky corn enlightenment has spread and, in the case of Western Pennsylvania, returned to its rightful origins), whims (hopped, smoked, four grained, apple-infused, and beer-inspired mash-billed whiskeys), and of course the plethora of rye and wheat whiskeys.

All are, of course, well worth enjoying neat or with just enough filtered water to open the spirit and accommodate any palate.

However, the cocktail possibilities are as endless as your imagination, ability to learn the absolute basics of mixology (…and really that ain’t much…), and willingness to fail as much as necessary as an amateur mixologist in the pursuit of your own liquid perfection. (And believe me, you will fail…but less and less regularly as you go and ultimately rarely. The journey of a hundred mediocre sips begins with one grimace and is worth every sublime cocktail variation you invent.)*

*Note: Starting with the “Tasting Whiskey” podcast on June 19th, and moving forward over the upcoming two weeks with “Highball” and “Cocktail” mini-courses, you can easily start your journey of becoming a rockstar home bartender.

Wigle is a shining pearl, filled with exotic and intoxicating nectars, in the landscape of Pittsburgh art, craft, service, and sensory excellence.

Go there. Tour there. Drink there. Revel there. Exit through the gift shop, then either bring some home or have it shipped directly to you. Really. Like, really really.


wigle header

Internet Fairy

Trolls are all around us.

Cantankerous, impossible-to-please, self-important jerks who in the past lavished relatives and friends with karmically debilitating vitriol can now regal all of us with their infinite despair and unrelenting opinions on any internet forum that allows comments.

There are certainly well- and neutral-intentioned folks who have negative experiences with products, businesses, and people. If a site, store, or person accumulates enough negative feedback the power of the crowd source can be legitimate and representative of truth. It can effect change. The internet has provided each of us with the accumulated knowledge of humanity at the tips of our fingers. It has democratized the planet in many ways. Power to the people. Everyone has a voice, and those individual voices can carry great influence. This is wonderful. Science fiction without the fiction.

Also…it is horrible. Because trolls are all around us, and a troll with a voice in a public forum will shout intentionally louder, quite personally and more unrelentingly than any one, or even several of us.

I’ve never understood the drive of some people toward convincing the world that their accumulated anecdotal crappy experiences are gospel and fully externally mitigated. (There is only one consistent factor in any individual’s unrelenting relationship failures, negative experiences, and bad luck.)

I’m not implying or pretending that I haven’t played the troll role in the (even recent) past, and played it well. I believe all manner of potential behavior…good/bad, selfish/selfless, amoral/angelic, praise-worthy/felonious…exists in each of us. And we make choices. Our *actual* behavior is a choice we make, albeit not consistently nor entirely conscious. Furthermore…for an anxious, emotional, perfectionistic, self-loathing type like me, actual behavior is too often illogical, counterproductive, and unhealthy. But still, my behavior is my choice. I’m trying to be better, less shitty and misanthropically judgmental, more positive and philanthropically inclined.

So, to be a troll or not to be a troll…that is my current question?

I would love to play the opposite role. An internet fairy…spreading all of the cool stuff, the awesome experiences, the great people, and unadulterated awesomeness around me.

The first handful of awesome dust I’d like to release is on Wigle Whiskey.

I’ll do that tomorrow!


Tasting Whiskey

Greg had the audacity to download Audacity.

(We know, it’s a hackneyed, obvious joke…but sometimes one must walk through the open door.)

Greg now has the ability to multi-track and mix and fade and do fancy sh*t like that.

We’re going to venture into deeper drinking territory here, starting with tasting and appreciating spirits. In particular, spirits that are intended to have flavor…things like brandy, gin, tequila, rum, and of course whiskey. (Or whisky if you’re partial to the Scotch or Canadian varieties.) You can certainly apply this to vodka, but as vodka is, by definition, a grain neutral spirit, it should taste and smell like just about nothing. We don’t see any reason to smell, sip, and appreciate nothing. Getting drunk with vodka can be lovely, but this podcast is more about appreciation than inebriation. (And if the latter follows the former, well so be it.)

Lew Bryson’s wonderful book, “Tasting Whiskey,” served Greg in his endeavors to sample and appreciate the diversity of spirits. As such, we must give Mr. Bryson full credit and unending appreciation. You should purchase and read this book. Mr. Bryson has a wonderful, accessible, confident voice, refreshing lack of pretentiousness, and a sense of whimsy and wit even as he moves through the “academic” world of whiskey. Also, the dude can straight-up write.

Additionally, many of you know that Greg is a tour guide at Wigle Whiskey. We must also give the distillers at Wigle credit for expanding our palates across multiple distilled beers derived from mashes that include a diversity of grains, grain preparations, blends, and even honey and apples.

This episode also includes music by G. Love and Special Sauce (“Blues Music“) and Squirrel Nut Zippers (“Got My Own Thing Now“). You should check out both of these bands.

So please, get an ounce of your favorite spirit.

Come with me, and you’ll see…a world of pure inebriation.


tasting whiskey
(On Twitter: @Lewbryson)

Spam Semantics & Phonology

Hello to you all.

Here we have two exquisite examples of how Spam can both tickle the funny bone and confound the cranium. The first example exemplifies Spam Semantics and the ambiguity that often occurs when robots try to make language, as well as the brilliant, surprising comic timing that can occur when said robot goes very blue…out of the blue:


Applying through online helps to make the task easier and simpler,
as anyone can put on according to his convenience that’s by sitting at his house
or from his office douche bacterial vaginosis looking at a lot more
than it’s possible to present you
with a much better notion of what you could possibly wish to be seeking
as far as a loan from the bank.


So…is it his office-douche, bacterial-vaginosis? Or, am I a bit angry with the bloke, him from his office (“douche bacterial vagininosis!”) looking at a lot more than it’s possible to present you? Or is a “douche bacterial vaginosis” some unusual euphemism for a particular office structure? It’s all quite ambiguous, yeah? Spamantics.

And here is my favorite, to this point, Spam Phonology, or “Sphonological” challenges:


After that when you get to regigigas, use holler
of time 4 times, obtain close to him and use dragon claw as many
times as needed.


Folks, how would you say, “regigigas,” if it just snuck up on you…as it just did? Don’t think too much about it at first. Just knee-jerk. How would you say it if you were reading the news, a la Ron Burgandy, and REGIGAGAS popped up on the teleprompter?

(I initially boffed it up entirely and read: “Reggie-GaGas” instead of, on second thought, “Reggie-geegas” with a hard G on “gee,” or maybe even “Reggie-gihgas,” like a kiloReggie or, in this case, a gigaReggie. Now, one could also go with the hard G initially so that “Reggie” becomes something akin to the word Regatta. I also think this would be a phenomenal musical syllable for a vocal percussionist or a cappella group searching for a 4 syllable run.)

See, it’s fun, right?!

So, how DID you say Regigigas?



ADDENDUM: So yeah, that is Regigigas. It’s a Pokemon thing. Pokemon is Japanese. I would imagine, then, that one would say, “Reh-gee-gee-gahs.” All “G” sounds would be hard, as in: Go get Greg’s Goddamn Regigigas. I found this fun conversation about this insignificant phonological question. Geeks.

Protect the Badge (3 of 3)

November, 2011. The news of Jerry Sandusky’s serialized (1994 – 2009) child molestations broke. Throughout the scandal, I tried to pay attention not only to the facts, but also the video, audio, and reported responses by Sandusky, McQueary, Curley, Schultz, Paterno, and all involved or implicated in the “Did we do enough, immediately enough, knowing what we knew, when we knew it?” scenario.

Given my description of the experiences in my family, it should come as no surprise that my reaction to this story was quite emotional and unforgiving certainly of Jerry Sandusky or of any individual who could have intervened in a meaningful way. (“meaningful,” in this case, means, “stopping his predatory endeavors immediately.”) I may not have realized it then, but I know now that in the court of public opinion, I was at the front of the line to destroy the entire lot of those who were charged with protecting the very children whose innocence and dignity were stripped away savagely.
And each time one of those men spoke…the words, the misdirects, the excuses, the convoluted explanations, the buck-passing, and the eventual resolve that nobody but Sandusky was to blame all added emotional fuel to the fires of hatred and misanthropy coursing through my veins.

I swear to you today, with all of the intervening insight, mindfulness, and growth I’ve experienced, that the path those men traveled almost perfectly aligned with the path traveled by most of my family through our painful endeavors. If it walks like a cover-up, talks like a cover-up, and behaves like a cover-up…well…

Protect the program. Protect the coach. Protect the alma mater.

So I’ve mostly kept my big mouth shut regarding this…because Penn Staters, and Joe Paterno acolytes in particular, are exceptionally loyal and passionate. (He was known as “Saint Joe” while he was still alive. Saint…fucking…Joe. They had life-sized JoPas all over the campus, like some creepy Fathead Orwellian endeavor. A cult of personality for certain. Joe carrying his lunch tray in the cafeteria. Joe having a double scoop at The Creamery. Joe peering at you through those trademark rectangular glasses, like the grumpy old man from “Up,” no matter where you ventured through Happy Valley.)

And on the other side of the coin it’s certainly not my place to seek and/or engage people who’ve experienced or been impacted by rape, incest, and/or molestation. Who the fuck am I? I’ve never felt comfortable having this very conversation…with anyone, really. Any time I’ve tried, it inevitably becomes an argument of emotionally epic proportions.

Then along came the Duggars.

As the Josh Duggar story unfolded, I initially ignored it.

Eventually I paid attention. Eventually, I researched a bit. And that seed of anger sprouted and grew immediately into full-on judgmental, righteous, fury.

My wife, Jen, and I almost never argue. We haven’t significantly raised our voices to each other perhaps in years. Until the evening I printed off a Duggar story and sprung it on her as a podcast. She had been leaning toward unemotional, metered, and fact-finding. I’d damned them all to whatever hell they’d learned about in church. We argued. We raised our voices. A lot. And I left the experience feeling like a right shit head. Such vitriol can only shave minutes off of one’s life and can never lead to anything emotionally or socially productive.

But again, I saw some of the patterns.

Protect the family. Protect whatever the fuck has been deemed more important to protect than harmed children. The Duggars came completely clean…after the story leaked…after Josh Duggar entered the deep pockets of the politically savvy conservative christian (…I use a lower-case “c” there because you will never convince me that these people are “Christians” in the way Christ lived and intended…) industry.

And I’m once again reminded that the very people who loved me, who supported me, who provided me with safety and security…had not done the same for their very own.

We were all Catholic. It seems like too much piled on top of too much to even think about exploring that heaping pile of hypocritical, badge-protecting garbage. It’s overwhelming…and I’m done now.

I have to find closure else I continue to slam headfirst into the same wall, enduring emotional concussion upon emotional concussion.

Practice two things: either help or do no harm.

(If only I could apply this to my dealings with me.)


arm in waves

In the Quiet Spaces

On today’s D2D pod, we take it to the back yard.

You’ll hear the sounds of a crackling fire, active birds, and an excitable Springer Spaniel.

The drink for this meditative mood? Wigle Whiskey Wapsie Valley Corn Bourbon. It deserves ALL capitals and alliteration. Yeah, it’s super good. (You ought to get you some!)

Jen invents, or at least officially introduces into our lexicons, the “smip,” or the smell+sip.

Greg has a bit of a soliloquy. A solilo-G.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy. We present, “In the Quiet Spaces.”

Wigle Fire
(I have only one burnin’ desire…
…Lemme drink next to your fire.)

Spam Poetry…and a Spamecdote

It’s time for our third installment of Spam Poetry. We have four strong showings from the world of robot spammers.

Let’s dive right in:

This one, from BoyceDGurka…a super legitimate sounding name if ever I’ve heard one…actually is creepily endearing and grammatically spot-on. Also, it’s less “Spam Poetry” and more spam anecdote. “Spamecdote”:

Today, I went to the beachfront with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell
to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!


“I have your stuckness”

We need a different perception to find out why you have our stuckness.
However, there are many men who simply would rather wear a simple tattoo on the neck.
Many people recommend developing a hummingbird tattoo about the shoulder as it would look such as the bird is perching on you.


“Complicated to Read”

Piece of writing writing is also a fun, if you be familiar with then you can write or else it
is complicated to write.


“No longer sure”

I used to be suggested this blog by means of my cousin. I’m
no longer sure whether or not this publish is written via him
as nobody else recognise such detailed about my
trouble. You’re amazing! Thank you!

(Dig it, Rat. Dig it.)

Protect the Badge (2 of 3)

I’ve alluded to my childhood in the past, and a healthy portion of my regular readers actually know me fairly well. Nonetheless, the story requires that I start from the beginning, and so there I shall start.

I was born into poverty. Not abject poverty, but poverty nonetheless. My biological Father left fairly quickly in the game, and even when he was physically present his contributions were emotional torture and randomized inconsistency at best. My Mother was forced to work multiple shitty full-time jobs and still supplement with food-stamps, government cheese, and partial welfare along with the good graces and generosity of our family. She worked daytime at a dry cleaners and the night shift at a 24-hour gas station and convenience store.

My Mom internalized 100% of the stress, frustration, worry, and exhaustion. I never once sensed that we were anything but awesome. It wasn’t until high-school, when we moved to a district with a clear class distinction, that I realized we’d been poor, and very poor at that, the whole time. And it wasn’t until much later in my life that I grasped how amazingly my Mom had insulated me from a world of bullshit constantly surrounding us.

Mom would bring me to my Nanny’s (…that’s “Grandmother” in my world…) to put me to bed at night, then head out to the “a.m./p.m.” to make like $5 per hour. I’d wake up in the morning with my Mom in the kitchen, and we’d have breakfast. She’d then get me off to school and go to the dry cleaners. I honestly don’t know when she slept. I also don’t know how she remained so positive with, supportive of, and present for me. If she read this today, she would argue, “Well, what else was I supposed to do?!” I knew and know plenty of other women in her position who simply, and quite understandably, cracked under pressure and dropped the child-rearing ball. She never did.

My Nanny and Pappy, along with my Mom and eventually my step-Father, provided a foundation on which I skated care-free through my childhood. Not only them, though. Also, my Aunt Barbie and Uncle Ray.

“Nanny” was Lucille McMurtry and “Pappy” was Joseph McMurtry. Lu and Joe. They had three children, Barbara (Barbie), Josephine (my Mom, Josie), and Joe Junior (Joey). Aunt Barbie is 7 years older than my Mom and 16 years older than Uncle Joey. Those are huge differences between the three, particularly given the era, and there is apparently a juicy story behind that fact…a story for another chapter.

Barbie met and married Raymond McBride, my Uncle Ray, when she was 17 and began having children very quickly and successively. My cousins are closer in age to my Mom, and certainly my Uncle, than they are to me, and they provided us with a strong web of support.

My early memories, the happiest ones, swirl around Nanny’s house, Aunt Barbie and Uncle Ray’s house, and interactions with my cousins (Barbie and Ray’s children), Lucy and Annie in particular. (The boys…Ray, Luke, and Peter…were present and loads of fun, but Lucy and Annie babysat me and connected with me strongly.) We all lived in the same community, and their homes were a revolving door of joy and safety for me. My first phrase was reportedly, “Un-toe Way id puh-wuh sit.” (For those not familiar with the patterns of an early phonological disorder, that’s, “Uncle Ray is full of shit.”) They were crass, honest, loving, unwavering people.

My belly was always overfilled. I had toys at every house. I always felt wrapped in love, in unconditional, seemingly infinite positive regard. Like every child should, I had no worries beyond my chores and my behavior at home, in the community, and school. Like every child should, I knew nothing of worry, of shame, of pain, of unhappiness. Like every child should, I went to bed every night with peace and I awoke every morning knowing exactly how the world would be and that I would be safe and secure in it.

It turns out this was not true for every child in my family.

All that comes next is hearsay. It is hearsay from a primary source through my Mom to me, and all things point to truth as far as I can ascertain, but nonetheless it’s essential to note that I heard everything from this point forward through a very short, quite emotional, and family-based grapevine.

In 1992, my Mother asked me to sit down, choking back sobs and avoiding eye gaze, and she released a brontosaurus-sized skeleton from the closet. (This, by the way, is the M.O. of my family. Hold it all in until the dam breaks somewhere, usually with someone’s death or, in this case, emotional breakdown, and there’s no way to avoid the messy truth. Then, just before everything falls apart and we’re all forced to face the beast, talk just enough about whatever horror is coming down the pipe so that it loses immediate velocity, thus allowing us to cram it back in the closet from which it came. Throw a board over the door, hammer in a few nails, and act like there’s nothing to see.)

Reportedly, my Uncle Ray had been sexually intimate with his daughters from a very early age through their teenage years. Reportedly, the visits happened frequently and at night. Reportedly, these were nights when the girls had to go to bed early and Daddy would tuck them in. Reportedly, my Aunt would turn the television up, presumably to ensure full separation and so that the boys didn’t go upstairs to disrupt the process. Reportedly, this kind of thing happened in my Uncle’s childhood home, and perhaps the behavior can be traced further back in that lineage.

This information was kept secret for as long as possible, but things like this never stay quiet. Lucy initially told my Mom in 1992 while driving home from Christmas shopping, unable to keep her childhood inside any longer. The twines of the emotional rope holding her together frayed. Mom told me a few weeks later, though I wasn’t supposed to know. In fact, Lucy asked that my Mom hold the secret until she was ready to confront Uncle Ray. Lucy finally confronted him in 2006. I know you can do math, but that’s 14 years. We all kept quiet for 14 years. We dug a grave in our conscience and we buried the information. I forgot about it eventually. Most of us did. Sort of. Like some twisted fucking Jedi mind trick. (Just pretend everything is okay.) And finally, in 2006, late at night, the rope snapped and Lucy called Uncle Ray.

Our family was ripped to pieces, and within a week warring sides emerged. The predominant sentiment throughout the family was, “This never happened.” That became, “How could you even think that something like this happened?!” The journey for them from beginning to end? Suppression–>explosion–>admission–>damage control–>denial–>indignation–>and finally righteous indignation with a dash of histrionics. And ultimately, a very small portion, including my Mom and me, landed on the side of, “This happened,” and remained there. The accusations, machinations, lashings-out, and ultimately quiet resolve to bury everything played out in front of my eyes. My Mom made many unanswered calls, left messages, and wrote letters…and she became the pariah, the sole subject and recipient of all that fear, anger, hatred, and shame. They blamed her for the destruction of the family; they cut her out and anyone in her vicinity, including me. I never got to talk with anyone about it except my devastated Mother, and I’ve had no communication with my family since. I’ll likely neither see nor speak with my Aunt, my Uncle, or any of my cousins ever again. It makes me sad in a way that nothing else could conceivably replicate. It’s like being utterly lost, completely helpless, and genetically grief-stricken even though you know that a resolution exists in the universe…but the healing is completely out of your hands. I bet the Japanese have a single word for this.

Protect the family. Protect the patriarch. And in the process destroy everyone, thus protecting nothing.

Next time, recent events re-open old wounds.



On today’s episode of the D2D Pod, Greg and Jen enjoy Wigle Organic Wapsie Valley Corn Bourbon. Remember, people, bourbon does not need to come from Kentucky, it just needs to be mostly corn…and this stuff is amazing because the distillers used heirloom Wapsie Valley maize, colorful and earthy with the wonderful sweetness recognizable in corn-heavy mash bills.

Here Greg recalls two stories.

First, an overwhelmed, church-dressed, and eventually sweat-soaked Dad and his three children attempted to make their way through the grocery store. Greg had the pleasure of inadvertently following the family through Giant Eagle given serendipity and similar shopping lists.

The moral of this tale: Make sure you’ve established ground rules and a game plan when shopping with your children.

And a secondary lesson: A cookie is a considerably less attractive motivator for a young person than is attention and control.

Next, Greg encountered a cute older couple vacuuming their car at the Get Go…a cute older couple with something disturbing not far below the surface.

The moral of this tale: If your spouse takes a nasty tumble while you’re cleaning the car, immediately put the vacuum down and attend to him/her.

And a secondary, albeit trite yet slightly modified lesson: Be careful when judging a book by it’s cover.

We present to you, “#PutTheVacuumDown.”

(Put the vacuum down, you will.)

Protect the Badge (1 of 3)

Protect the badge.

(…the family.)

(…the collar.)

(…the brand.)

(…the legacy.)

Protect the good name of X, Y, or Z.

Implied in this attitude is the rarely spoken but ever present, “…at any cost.”

It is true that one bad apple can and will ruin an entire bushel. However, this only happens if we leave said bad apple in the bunch of otherwise good fruit. If you search for, identify, and remove the bad apple immediately, the other apples remain intact. If you leave that apple, the rot begins to spread…and because each apple comes into contact with multiple other apples, the spread is not consecutive and linear. Rather, it’s exponential and increasingly simultaneous. 1 becomes 5 becomes 20 becomes 100 becomes the whole damn basket.

Protect the badge.

(At any cost.)

Meaning ultimately…

(At the cost of the whole lot of you.)

In direct conflict with this widespread attitude is another commonly communicated endeavor, seemingly in words only.

Protect the children.

(…the community.)

(…the electorate.)

(…the patients.)

(…the flock.)

Protect the people we are charged with serving, guiding, and helping.

I am a father, a mentor, a pediatric speech/language pathologist (SLP), an adjunct university instructor, a consultant, and an advocate. In each of these roles, I have power over another person or multiple others. Additionally, it is my professional charge, my ethical responsibility, and my personal desire to serve those who seek me or who I seek with positive regard, evidence-based and best practice, and, to borrow from Epidemics, Book I, of the Hippocratic school, to practice two things in my dealings with people: either help or do not harm them.

Practice two things.

(Practice: to do something habitually or customarily in pursuit of a skill or proficiency, particularly as it relates to a professional endeavor.)

Either help.

(Help: to contribute to or facilitate, to make easier or less difficult, to cooperate effectively with, to aid, to save or rescue)

Or do no harm.

(Harm: damage or injury, especially that which is deliberately inflicted)

It is also true that as a father, husband, and son; a mentor, SLP, instructor, and advocate that I represent my family, the schools in which I serve, teach, consult, and advocate; my professional credentialing organization, my state, and any organization or group which provides me with support.

I strive to represent the good names of each of these larger entities…for as long as those entities actively pursue that same Hippocratic philosophy.

But entities are not people. People are people. And protecting the badge, so to speak, can NEVER take precedence over protecting the individual(s) immediately in front of me, particularly with those for whom I’ve accepted responsibility, taken a vow, or given my word to protect.

This preamble, and I realized it’s a substantive one at that, is the springboard from which I want to process recent events that pushed emotional buttons in me connected to older, deeper, more personal experiences.

Next week, I’ll start with my Uncle.


water color