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Thing1 is going to hit high school next fall, and, even in out-of-the-way Arlington, VT, stories of adolescent bacchanals fill most parents with dread.   Thing1 and I have talked about booze and consequences, but everyone in a while I get an unexpected bit of help helping him resist temptation.

On the TV, little yellow minions were shepherding a dozen kinds of fruit down a conveyor belt into a jam-making vat.  When the fruit hit the vat, the stars of Despicable Me2 began stomping the grapes and apples into jam.  One of the minions got stuck in a jar on the way to the next step, and seven-year-old Thing2’s curiosity crested.

“Is that why the jam tastes so bad,” he asked.

“Because there’s a million kinds of fruit in one jar?” Thing1 asked looking for clarification.

“No, because they’re stepping on the fruit with their feet.”

“Maybe,” said Thing1.

“I think it’s the conveyor belt residue,” I said.  Then I added, “Anyway, that’s how they still make wine some places.”  Thing2 gave me a funny look.

“They step on it?” he asked.  “Is that why wine tastes so bad?”

I was quiet for a moment and then said, “Ye-e-e-ss.”  Thing1 doesn’t really like the taste of wine, but he was dubious about the source of the bad taste.   Thing2 was quiet as he mulled over the science of wine making.

“So basically wine is just foot jam with water,” he said after a few more minutes of watching the movie quietly.

“Wow,” groaned Thing1. “I’ll never be able to get that thought out of my head when I look at a bottle of wine again.”

When my own stomach finished doing backflips over the thought that I’ve been drinking glorified fermented fruity foot-jam-juice with my pasta all these years, I gave Thing2 a quiet kiss on the head as Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ began to play on the TV screen.