Backstory: Range-fed wisdom

Dear Mr. Organic:

Recently, in the cheese section of my organic food store, I came across a mother explaining to her 5-year-old daughter how to distinguish a double cream brie from a triple cream brie. Don't you feel forcing a child at such a formative age to take a position on brie does irreparable harm to her self-esteem if she guesses wrong?
Bollixed in Berkeley

Dear Bollixed:

Although self-esteem is as important to me as cleanliness and romaine lettuce, the real question is why this mother waited until her daughter was 5 to explain something as essential to her early education as brie identification.

Dear Mr. Organic:

Do you know of any home kits for testing mercury in fish?
Stymied in Santa Monica

Dear Stymied:

Try a traditional folk solution. Insert the fish into your mouth, hold it there for three minutes, then check to see if your body temperature is displayed on its gills.

Dear Mr. Organic:

Last Saturday I came upon a number of children playing a warlike game of dodgeball. Concerned for their long-term welfare, I rushed home and returned with coloring books and crayons. The children seemed unappreciative of my efforts: I was left with broken crayons and torn pages. What causes such hostile behavior in children?
Worried on West End Avenue

Dear Worried:

Perhaps the crayons were rife with artificial colors and the pages of the books were not from recycled paper. Children can become quite upset about environmentally inappropriate playthings. Especially when they are having fun.

Dear Mr. Organic:

Last night, with good friends over for dinner, I inadvertently mixed nonorganic radicchio in an otherwise pure and pesticide-free salad. Too embarrassed to say anything, I went on with the meal. Shockingly, no one noticed, and, to my consternation, some people even asked for seconds! Was I right to remain silent? Or should I call my guests and confess?
Confused in Cambridge

Dear Confused:

Unless guests call to say their aura has changed from umber to black, my advice is to lie low.

Dear Mr. Organic:

Although I have pleaded with my teenage daughter not to take the SATs, to protest their inherent bias against minority groups, she insists on going through with the tests. Can you advise me how to get through to her?
Perplexed in Portland

Dear Perplexed:

Woe is moi, as Proust (Marcel) often trilled. Try some reverse psychology. Hire an SAT tutor to help her get into a first rate, undiverse college. There, wallowing in luxury, forced to choose between a $30,000 internship in London or Paris, she will (possibly) realize the error of her ways and thank you for doing whatever it was you did for her.

Chuck Cohen is a satirist and advertising writer in Mill Valley, Calif.

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