It had been a while since I’d taken Weevy to a booze tasting. And it wasn’t for lack of trying. I always tell publicists, hey, your event starts at 6:30, I’m on kid duty until 7:30, I’ll get down to the event at 8 — by which time the event is half over, and it doesn’t make sense for me to show up for the end of a tasting or the third course of a three-course dinner or what have you. Let me bring Weevy with me, on the other hand, and we’ll be there for the whole shebang. And of course I make it clear that I will NOT be feeding Weevy whatever spirits I’ll be trying that evening. First off, I don’t want to get arrested, and secondly, the last thing she wants to do is taste alcohol. She’s got her juice, her water, her milk, her “backwash” (which is what she calls soda, which is a story for another time). What could she want with anything else?
But apparently there are rules about bringing underage kids to spirits events — legal bullshit and what-have-you. Now, I understand why this might apply if Weevy were 19 or something. But for chrissake, the girl is FOUR FUCKING YEARS OLD. Nobody in their right mind is going to think this girl is anywhere near legal in any country on the face of the earth. And given that alcohol tastes like, well, alcohol, she’s not exactly going to mistakenly down a Glencairn glass of cask strength bourbon instead of her sippy cup of milk.
The most annoying example of fear of lawsuits trumping common sense came a couple months back, when I was invited to an event sponsored by Snow Leopard Vodka. This event involved seeing actual snow leopards. At the Central Park Zoo. To repeat — leopards at the zoo. And it started at 6:00, early enough for Weevy to see the snow leopards and get home by bedtime, which is generally around 7:30-8:00. I figured this had to be one of those rare kid-friendly booze events. I mean, how could it not be? So I emailed my usual shpiel — hey, I’m on kid duty, but if I can bring the daughter, yada yada. I was so confident Weevy could go with me that I even told her about it. She likes going to events with me, at least in theory, and hey, the zoo! Snow leopards! Best event ever!
So when the email came back saying the legal department specifically prohibited under-21s from attending, we were disappointed, to say the least. Weevy looked at me quizzically and asked, “Why wouldn’t they let me go?” “I don’t know, honey, I guess you have to be old enough to drink vodka.” “But I don’t have to drink it. I could drink water.” So fucking true. And while it turned out the wife was free to watch Weevy so I could go to the event by myself, I wound up canceling. It just wouldn’t have felt right to be looking at the snow leopards without her, no matter how much vodka I’d consumed.
Fast forward to last week. I’d been invited to the Whisky Extravaganza, sponsored by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America, which started at 6:00 and was taking place a mere two blocks from home. I did the usual can-I-bring-my-sprog deal, but this time the answer was a resounding YES. At last, common sense prevails!
Weevy looked stunning in her Halloween outfit, replete with orange bows and pumpkins and ghosts and polka dots and stuff, and also brought a gorgeous shiny pink handbag filled with her Disney MagiClip dolls. Hey, she’s no dummy, she wanted something to do while Daddy was working. We entered the restaurant and walked downstairs to find the place teeming with big, boisterous men — maybe 90% of the attendees were male. The double-takes as I walked through the room holding the hand of a tiny girl were hilarious. The publicist was the consummate hostess, fetching Weevy “hot-hots” (fries) and “backwash”, playing with the MagiClip dolls, while at the same time chatting me up about each of the five whiskies I was there to try.
Weevy was on her best behavior. While the SMWSA spokesman gave a lecture on the history and how-tos of whisky distilling, she grabbed my camera and took some very artsy black-and-white pics of her dolls. While I tasted the whiskies, she took my notebook and pen and started “taking notes” for me, mostly random scribbles and nonsensical strings of letters. But she did take her job seriously. As I sipped and furrowed my brow, she said, “What should I write, Daddy?”
I thought for a minute. “Just write ‘yummy.'”
Pause. “Daddy, how do you spell yummy?”
Did I mention I love my daughter?
I dictated it letter by letter, and sure enough, there in my notes about the Whisky Extravaganza is the following:
Y U M M
She got bored and cranky after about 40 minutes, which was right about when the missus came to pick her up. I lingered for another half hour or so. But even though we didn’t leave together, I’d have to say that Weevy was the best plus-one ever. I can’t wait for the next event… assuming legal departments don’t get in the way.