You catch more flies with vinegar…

Last week, my oldest son came home with some distressing news: a kid at his school had been stealing his water bottle, drinking from it, and giving it back.

“What do you do when he takes your water?”

“I tell him not to,” he said. “But I can’t do anything else. If I punch him, I’ll get in trouble.”


“But he’s bigger than me, so I can’t stop him without punching him.”

“Have you told a teacher?” my wife asked.

“Nah. I can handle this,” he said.

“Try humor,” I suggested. “Go for something surprising.”

That got him thinking, and in very little time, he had crafted his plan. He filled his regular water bottle up with vinegar, then stashed a second water bottle deep in the bottom of his backpack.

For the next several days, we waited to see what would happen, but the water thief didn’t do his stealing.

Finally, yesterday, we had vinegar news.

“It spilled,” my son told us, “at gym, on another kid’s backpack.”

“Oh no,” I said. “Did you get in trouble?”

“Not much. I told the gym teacher the whole story. He thought it was funny.”

“Is he going to talk to the water thief?” my wife asked.

“Nah. The gym teacher asked for his name, but I said I was handling it.”

“What about the other kids?”

“Well, the one with vinegar on his backpack was pretty upset, but when he started yelling at me, another kid told him to shut up, he said it was just vinegar, and that it was no big deal.”

“Wow. Who was the kid who came to your defense?”

“You’ll never believe it,” he said, shaking his head. “It was the water thief.”

I guess that means the vinegar worked, in a weird sort of way.

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