There once was a man named Samuel who lived in a sleepy seaside village and had an odd evening ritual. He’d always poured himself a shot of whiskey before night for years on end. Like the rhythm of the waves pounding on the adjacent shore, it was an unchanging ritual. Evelyn had been more worried about her husband Samuel’s nighttime indulgence.

When the sun started to set and the stars started to come out, Evelyn made the decision that it was time to deal with the problem. Samuel had a great affection for whiskey, and she wanted to find a method to make him see the dangers it was posing. She devised a strategy to deliver her message.

After going to the kitchen, Evelyn removed two shot glasses. She filled one with sparkling, crystal-clear water and the other with Samuel’s favorite whiskey. After gingerly bringing the glasses to the dining table and setting them side by side, she went to the garage to retrieve Samuel’s old bait box.

Evelyn breathed a quick breath and added, “Samuel, I want you to see something.” After opening the bait box, she took out an earthworm that was squirming. She dropped the worm into the water glass gently. They were shocked to see how actively the worm swam around, its little body flowing through the transparent liquid with grace.

Then Evelyn reached up for the second worm, which was just as alive, and dropped it into the whiskey glass. The worm slowed down its movements instantly and curled up in the amber liquid, dead.

Evelyn turned to face Samuel, who had been observing thoughtfully, and said, “What do you have to say about this experiment?”

Samuel leaned back in his seat, scowling at his thoughts. He couldn’t resist smiling mischievously after a brief interval. Evelyn, he said to her, “at least I won’t have to worry about worms in my belly if I drink whiskey!”

With a sigh, Evelyn realized that her attempt to talk Samuel out of his nightly whiskey habit had taken a surprising turn. Though she was usually comforted by Samuel’s sense of humor, she couldn’t help but worry about his health. It occurred to her that perhaps a more sincere discussion would be required in order to properly express her concerns.

So it was that Samuel and Evelyn remained at the table long into the night, talking about their hopes, their worries, and the future they wanted to create together—a future hopefully filled with healthy decisions and laughing. The waves continued to pound on the adjacent coast.