Pirate Parenting, and Living the Pirate Life

Geek Culture

To me, Pirate Parenting consisted of spying a pirate outfit in the Halloween section of Wal-Mart right after having read Dave
Barry’s column on Talk Like a Pirate Day, picking it up on a whim, and making a pirate feast for dinner that night. To John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur and Mark
“Cap’n Slappy” Summers, the guys who came up with the idea, Pirate Parenting means raising your kids with a swashbuckling attitude to fend for themselves.
In The Pirate Life, their new book, they tell you how to carry out a parent’s main responsibilty –
keeping your offspring alive and out of jail – through the three stages of childhood: Little Kid, Kid, and Damn Kid (otherwise known as Barnacle, Matey, and Mutineer).

The book includes subjects your pirate kid may choose to study when they get to college: Basics of Plundering, Disemboweling for Fun and
Profit, Practical Animal Skills. And it talks about how to find a mentor – or as they put it, a tormentor. There’s also lifestyle guidance for the adult pirate wannabe, with chapters such as “Live Free or Diet! Pirates and Easting”
and “Take What You Want, Give Nothin’ Back – Pirates in Business.” It’s good fun for anyone into scalawag humor with a Barryesque flavor.

I love Talk Like a Pirate Day, and I think the Pirate
Guys are awesome. But to me the book is a strange mixture of practical advice
(“Do not attempt to be your teenagers’ friend. That’s not part of the job description.”) with pirate-themed humor. I dipped into it here and there but couldn’t get into it. My kids loved it … but it’s not really a book for kids. 

What I’m really impressed by this Talk Like a Pirate Day is the real-life story of Ol’
Chumbucket. He and his family – wife Tori "Mad Sally" Baur, their four kids and Tori’s mom — have taken a silly offhand idea he once had and made it their life. This is what he said in June on his blog Island Time:


"You don’t know if you can fly until you’ve thrown yourself off a cliff."

We’re moving to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands because, as much as we like Oregon, we’re tired of being cold and wet nine months out of the year. We’re throwing ourselves off a cliff, confident enough in ourselves that we’ll be able to get jobs and survive in a new place with new customs and challenges and opportunities. 

The family is getting settled in their new home (with some bumps along the way) and I wish them all the best. And their true pirate adventures will inspire me the rest of the year. 



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