Dear Dr. Boli. As an active modern father, I always try to answer all my children’s questions in a straightforward but age-appropriate way, even when they touch on topics that may be sensitive or personally embarrassing. Last night, however, little Algernon asked me a question, and for the first time in his young life I could not think of a proper answer calibrated to his level of understanding. He had been trying to use the school library’s computer to look up how to construct a classic Molotov cocktail, and when he came home he asked me, “Daddy, why do so many people use Windows on their computers when everybody knows it’s so annoying?”

I could not then, and still cannot, think of a properly age-appropriate response. When I think about Windows, in fact, the language that comes to mind is not what I would ever allow myself to use within range of Algernon’s tender ears. What would you have said? —Sincerely, A Concerned Father.

Dear Sir: Dr. Boli commends you for making the effort to address your child’s natural curiosity. Like you, he believes that no sincere question from a child, no matter how difficult or embarrassing, should go without a proper age-appropriate answer. In cases like this, the proper age-appropriate answer is “Ask your mother.”