Trust Me, I Know What I'm Talking About
There's something about booze (and many other forms of high-brow entertainment) that makes people a bit pedantic. It's a characteristic usually associated with wine, but believe me - it's as prevalent in the whiskey world as it is at your local modern art museum. I'm slowly working on my own problem. It's that part of me that really enjoys the limelight, but can't quite shut up about it yet. An example being when I went to a well-known San Francisco watering hole not too long ago and met the local bartender. He was telling me all sorts of things about the cocktail he was making, about the spirits involved in the process, and about the provenance of "strange" liqueurs like "Creme de Violette." It finally got to the point where I just had to blurt out, "I KNOW, I WORK AT K&L AND I BUY ALL THE BOOZE, AND I KNOW ALL THESE PEOPLE, AND THEY'RE MY FRIENDS, AND I'VE BEEN TO THAT DISTILLERY, AND I KNOW EVERYTHING YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, AND I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW!" Let's just say that I failed that test. I was officially the douchebag at the bar for that night.
Let's face it - there's something about knowledge that makes people feel good about themselves. However, there's a time, a place, and a manner in which we should make others aware that we're aware. For example, sometimes I'll ask a customer mingling in the spirits aisle if they need help. Sometimes they'll say, "No, I'm fine thank you." Maybe that means he or she is just browsing, or maybe it means they know enough about booze to handle that section on their own. That's the polite way of saying it. Sometimes they'll say, "Actually, I have a huge bar at home and I've got, like, fifty open bottles and I've already had everything here and can you find me something actually good? It doesn't seem like you have anything I haven't already tasted."
But who am I to judge? I did the same thing, pretty much. Our damn egos keep getting in the way. One day, I'll be older and wiser and I'll know to just nod politely at the bar when the mixologist serves me my drink. No one likes the guy who's had every whisky and who recites his list of open bottles at home. Yet, we want to be taken seriously, right? How else is the world to know how experienced we are? Oh, that's right, the rest of the world could care less. They've got important stuff to do. Remember folks - this is booze. It's not rocket science.