Maker’s Mark and The Wolf

Today I am drinkin Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, listening to Johnny Cash, and thinkin about the wolf you feed.

Let’s start with what I am drinkin, Maker’s Mark with its distinctive, hand-dipped red wax seal is a classic and ranks up there as one of my favorite bourbons. Do not confuse my favorite whiskey with the best whiskey, I will admit that nostalgia has a significant effect on my thoughts about this whiskey. I have always held it in high regard as my first real bourbon and as the preferred whiskey of a couple people who had great influence on me.

I am drinking this Maker’s Mark neat out of a rocks glass. It smells sweet, almost like a caramel candy. As I take a drink it is smooth and well balanced, a little thin, with a good bit of sweetness. The finish is moderately spicy and relatively short lasting. This is not a complex whiskey, it is a solid straightforward daily drinker. Well balanced and enjoyable even if it is not going to blow your mind.

Now onto what I am thinkin Now on to what I am thinking; the wolf you feed is a reference to a parable that is wrongfully attributed to a Cherokee grandfather telling his grandson story about a good wolf and a bad wolf, usually a black wolf for the bad wolf and white wolf for the good wolf, who are constantly fighting within him. When the grandson asks which wolf wins the grandfather tells him the one you feed. This story is almost certainly not a Native American story of any kind. A story that is quite similar appears in a book by Christian preacher named Billy Graham in the 1970s and seems to be the first story about wolves fighting and the one who gets fed winning.

All that being said it is not a bad parable. Sure it’s a little black and white and lacking in any nuance at all, but useful way to think about your inner turmoil nonetheless.

I think every human that does not have some sort of cognitive malady has had this war inside of them at some point. Do you do the thing that you know is right do you think good positive thoughts or do you think negative thoughts and do things you know are wrong because they are easier? 

In some ways, I think you become whichever wolf you feed. You can talk about being good and righteous all you want but if you make bad decisions think negative thoughts that lead to more bad decisions treat people poorly and do not do your part in the world you become the bad wolf. It is easy to fall into this trap.

Sometimes it is to hard to keep your inner thoughts on track, it is hard to take time out of your day to do something kind for another human being.  But doing the hard thing is what makes you stronger. If you bench press and you only ever bench press weights that are easy for you to lift you will forever bench 135. If you want to grow your bench press over three, four, 500 lb pounds you have to work until it hurts. Doing the hard thing is how you grow. Feeding the good wolf is hard but a large good wolf is a good friend to have.

I’ve given the bad one a lot of food over my lifetime. And even though I have been working on starving that little asshole for the last few years he’s still pretty strong and steals some food when I am not looking. Thankfully I have also fed the good one enough that most of the time, even if only by a slim majority, he pulls off the win. In almost every fight the battle leaves both of them torn up.

Thanks for reading, let me know what do you do to help you keep your thoughts positive. How do you talk yourself into doing the thing you know you should when you would rather not?



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