But I’ve got a job to do, too. Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.
Rick Blaine, Casablanca
That’s what happens when you help someone. They succeed and move on.
Don Draper, Mad Men
Ever since the Season 5 finale of Mad Men last year I’ve had these two quotes in my head, interwoven and intertwined. The source materials are among my all time favorites, which I’m sure is the reason. In some ways I suppose I identify a bit with both characters – men that are making their way along in the world mostly on their own. At least I think that is their perception. How true it may be is debatable, including my circumstance. But what has struck me is how each views their place in the world. Rick lays it out – “little people in this crazy world.” Don is more subtle but his intent is clear – it’s my world and now you are going to leave it- is the message I get.
As I’ve wrestled with these quotes over the last year, I think I’ve tried to decide if I have the mindset of Rick or Don. Then boom, it hit me in an odd way.
I am a huge fan of the podcast 99% Invisible. It is hosted by Roman Mars and it is ostensibly about “design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.” If you have never heard his podcasts, stop reading this blog and search them out. Amazingly, each episode is better than the previous one, no matter what order you decide to listen. Roman was recently selected as number 63 in the Fast Company list of top 100 creative people of 2013. In the Fast Company essay about Roman, the source of his podcast name is mentioned. “99% of who you are is invisible.” – Buckminster Fuller. I texted the quote off to my friend Laura, since it is a habit of mine to send her just a quote, no context, when I think it will resonate. Then boom goes the dynamite, I realize why I can’t decide if I’m more Rick or Don. 99% of them is invisible to me. How could I really know which fictional character I’m like. As much as I think I know them, I don’t. Even seeing them in their private moments, I’m only seeing them.
So I’ve stopped wrestling and started realizing: don’t try to analyze stuff that you can’t. Usually the reason is what it always is – life happens.
While it may be a stretch, I’ve selected a cocktail that follows the life happens mantra. I’ve started making up Old Fashioned cocktails and barrel aging them. In my case the barrel is a glass bottle with a few honeycomb oak barrel staves for maturing a cocktail with full American oak flavor. I purchase mine from the Tuthilltown Sprits store. My most recent aging was an Old Fashioned made from Bulleit Bourbon that was gifted to me by Andy and Jen on New Year’s Eve. I mixed up a 5 drink portion of Old Fashioneds for aging and let us both just live life. I typically forget about it until something triggers it in my mind. I don’t know what it was this time but I poured a glass. Easiest cocktail I’ll ever make in an evening.
The charred flavor definitely comes through. It makes the drink taste like a steak that has been on the barbecue grill a little to long. You don’t know if the charred steak taste is good or not, but you finish the steak because you kind of like it. And I’ll just put my little barrel back in my cabinet and let life happen until I remember it again.