Behind The Mask

I had a friend who married the most beautiful Woman, a real head turner no doubt. When they were dating she seemed to be everything he ever dreamed, and frankly all of his friends were mesmerized. After a short romance they announced their engagement and I for one stopped long enough to ask the question, “Are you sure”? Yes walking the easy road was never for me, and walking on egg shells, not asking would have been out of character. Of course the risk was losing him as a friend if I pressed, or if he told her I presented him with the question. Well he did, and we did not talk for 14 months, exactly the amount of time the marriage lasted. Turns out sometimes that old saying is correct, beauty can be skin deep! Turns out she was not very nice on the inside and they were a very bad match.

I am jealous, or is that envious? I do not have a huge winery on the hill. Yes it would be nice to have a place that all would point to and say that’s unbelievable, then listen to all the oohs and ahhh’s! Ok so I’m Human I want the big place with the caves and all the bells and whistles, call me shallow if you like.

But the short story above should be a warning sign as beauty in the form of a building, or the packaging created around a bottle of wine may be hollow. The empty suit comes to mind, no substance just glitter. It’s hard writing this blog without mentioning names. I normally stay away from such actions so in keeping with that forgive me if I stray some.

Many in the business building industry preach to companies the value of image, projecting quality even if it is not reality. “Trust none of what you hear, and less of what you see” a great lyric from Bruce Springsteen’s Magic!  But our brains are wired in a way that we gravitate to that which perceive to be quality. Maybe it’s the designer bag were after and want all to see us wearing, or toting only to have the zipper brake and watch as the bag has to be taped shut! Justin Myer knew this very well when he designed the label for Silver Oak, all silver that looks to this day like you can’t live without a bottle. He also knew enough to have larger glasses in his tasting room projecting the quality of his brand. Yes brand building is part Magic, the slide of hand, the ability to formulate that which is not really there and have you thanking the company for the ride. We as humans defending our purchases, even if faced with the aftermath of our compulsion. We had to have it, we did not care, and after when the realization kicks in we defend that action before giving way to reality. We have all been there and we will occasionally go back, one can only hope the trips become less frequent.

I know hundreds of Great Domaine’s, Chateaus and Winery’s that are gorgeous.  Many have the greatest wine making equipment in the world, they have cellars, caves and are dreams for people like me. This must mean the wine is equally great correct? Not so fast my friend! There is a producer in Italy whom I will not mention that has more of everything than you could imagine. The grounds are immaculate and  the building is breathtaking, the cars amassed are plentiful and the equipment state of the art, all nestled in a village we would love to visit.  In all of that we would expect the wines to be the same, but sadly the wines are terrible and that’s being gracious.

One’s vision can influence ones actions in an undetermined way, sometimes negatively. Resistance comes with a price, in the form of peer pressure however commuting your free will and independence to others without a word of protest that’s the real crime.  Individuality stems from inner strength moving towards your independence.  You cannot just see, read, and hear you must trust your two most valuable senses. Smelling and tasting allows your conscience to determine what is good, what is quality, and not your vision or the ad campaign delivering you the message sublimely. If you’re quiet and unafraid you have the ability to ward off the unspoken and return to  self reliance. Leading the band instead of the bit player. Life is one which strips us of who we are and what we can be, but only if we allow it to happen. Next time you’re in that big tasting and someone pulls out the beautiful bottle and overwhelms most with their enormous personality, look for the quiet. After the directions are given about the tasting, put the ear phones on and listen to something pleasant. Wash out the noise, and for goodness sake put the blinders on, you will be better for it!

Choices are many, decisions need be made, so let’s get on with the work at hand and make our own calls. The wisest person I know said this, “Pour the wine in the glass, I’ll let you know what I think, I’m not drinking the package”!

Here’s to not drinking the package,

Greg Linn




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