I know from exasperating experience that raising teenagers can be a challenge.
    As a parent, you encourage the budding proto humans to make good choices. You tell them about some of the dumb things you did at their age in the hopes they will benefit from your mistakes. The tricky part is doing this without conceding that you – the supposed adult – were ever that stupid.    
    I circumvented this problem by using a fairytale format to share such experiences with our two sons. Here is an example:
    Once upon a time there was a dashing young knight. The knight had a faithful squire who was his constant companion and best friend.    
    One summer day, the knight and his squire were cruising around in the squire’s 1964 Impala when they learned of an all-nighter slated to be held at their local drive-in theater. They instantly agreed the all-nighter was a must-see.
    The knight expressed a wish for fermented malt beverages to enhance this experience. But alas. Such beverages were taboo for the young heroes. This only caused them to desire the beverages even more.    
    The quick-witted squire sprang into action. He spurred his tawny Impala, and our intrepid heroes soon found themselves at a grungy roadside saloon. Its parking lot bristled with hulking hotrods and menacing motorcycles. An unsavory collection of roughish young toughs loafed about, laughing and drinking from long-necked brown bottles.    
    The squire bravely approached one of the largest thugs, an immense, grimy fellow who looked like a sasquatch. The knight opted to stay in the Impala and lock the doors.    
    After a brief conversation, the squire handed some cash to the sasquatch. The hairy creature lumbered into the roadhouse and presently returned with a brown paper sack that he gave to the squire.    
    The knight and his squire sped off, jubilant. As you may have surmised, the sack contained two six-packs of fermented malt beverages and the hairy behemoth was, in fact, the squire’s cousin.    
    But there was a fly in the ointment. The all-nighter was several days hence, and the malt beverages would certainly lose its coldness during the interim. The gallant young heroes knew keeping their malt beverages in the royal refrigerator was not an option as they would be summarily confiscated by the authorities.    
    The young knight soon hit upon a solution. Why not store the fermented malt beverages in the stock tank that sits out in yon pasture? The beverages would be vouchsafed from prying eyes and, hopefully, the cows would drink enough well water to chill the beverages.    
    On the evening of the all-nighter, the plucky heroes retrieved their booty only to discover the cows had failed to accomplish their assigned task. The malt beverages were lukewarm.
    Undaunted, the knight and the squire rinsed the off the algae and motored to the drive-in. Once there, they began to consume the tepid brew despite the dire warnings they had heard regarding this practice.
    The heroes had each consumed two cans of warm malt beverages when the knight’s kidneys leaped into overdrive. He was thus forced to make several urgent pilgrimages to the men’s room.    
    The knight discovered his painful shyness had diminished to the point where he was able to engage young maidens in conversation. All of the maidens quickly excused themselves, but the knight eventually found a fair damsel who smiled and listened as he prattled on and on. The knight was deeply embarrassed when he realized he had been talking to a movie poster.    
    The third movie was well underway when the knight finally returned to the Impala. During the knight’s absence, the squire had consumed much of the remaining fermented malt beverages. The squire slurred that he felt like Hades and asked to be taken home forthwith.    
    The squire writhed and moaned in the Impala’s backseat as the knight motored from the drive-in. They had traveled but a short distance when the squire demanded they stop. The squire bolted from the backseat and dropped to his knees at the roadside. The knight assumed the squire had espied an acquaintance as he heard him call out several times for someone named Ralph.    
    The next day, the two young heroes suffered mightily as they stacked hay bales under a merciless summer sun. The knight teased the squire about what must have been the mother of all hangovers. The squire growled that the knight should hold his tongue, that his turn would surely come. The knight chuckled, saying he had learned from the foolish squire’s bad example.    
    And lo, it came to pass just as the squire had foreseen. Or so goes the fairytale. 
    Jerry is a recovering dairy farmer from Volga, South Dakota. He and his wife, Julie, have two grown sons and live on the farm where Jerry’s great-grandfather homesteaded over 110 years ago. Jerry currently works full time for the Dairy Star as a staff writer/ad salesman. Feel free to E-mail him at: jerry.n@dairystar.com.