Vol. 1, Issue 26, November 11, 2003
Get Away From It All
The Bentinel

My Unexpected Cookie Conundrum

Ezekiel F. Watley, Esq.

Upon occasion my Nephew and his Cohort will partake of Oriental Cuisine, often Delivered directly to their reclining Forms on the Couches. While this is not my Preferred dining option, it so Happens now and Then that they save a Fortune-Cookie for me. And this day, the prophesying Biscuit had strikingly Pertinent Advice:

"Drink not too Deeply from your Cup, for Others thirst as Well."

I perused this comment from the cryptic cracker as I weighed a bottle of 33-year old Single-malt Balblair in my hand. Normally, this exceptionally smooth Vintage would reside in my personal Liquor cabinet, and come forth only when Entertaining foreign Potentates, were that to Happen. Ephram and his fellows Covet it, of course, but from Afar.

But is the Cookie correct? Am I wrong to secrete this Bottle from my Staff?

Generosity, one would Suppose, is the Moral thing to practice. And the greater the Sacrifice, the greater the Act; as Scripture notes, a small gift from the Impoverished is a greater act than a large gift from the Wealthy. But what a Conundrum: for my liquor cabinet is Extensive. Does this mean that sharing this Bottle would be Meaningless then? Is the value of Generosity strictly Relative? Were I to pour this whisky for my Staff, would they enjoy its Toffee-like overtones and honey-golden Color less because of the other Bottles lurking in my Study?

Perhaps it is the Intention, then, that Matters. But here too we have a Problem: for we are Assured that the road to Hades is Paved with good intentions. And why stop with the roustabouts lazing in our Newsroom? Why not share this bottle with everyone on the Block? How finely can this gift be Divided ere it becomes a meaningless Taste for each? The bottle would be just as Empty were I to pour it out for a Hundred as for Ten. Is the morality in the Sacrifice alone, or must a meaningful Difference be made by the gift? What if (horrors!) I had not enough Scotch to share with anyone? Would I then be Incapable of Generosity?

I suspect, and hence must Practice, a middle Path: I think the act must be Genuine, and have a meaningful Impact for both giver and Recipient. A glass for Each, then, and - but wait! Is it not Odd that this cookie's Fortune is Hand-Written, rather than Typeset? - Is that not Ephram's handwriting, poorly Disguised? - Ahem.

I shall share the Bottle regardless, but in future, I shall be more Wary when taking Advice from baked Goods proferred by my Nephew.


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