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I remember, as a kid, how the older men would spin a yarn and pull my leg with stories and anecdotes that entertained me. Occasionally an opportunity arises to which I can continue good stewardship and instill a new generation with thought.
A kid came up to me the other day, possibly one who watches a lot of pirate cartoons like Square Pants Sponge Bob, and said he wanted to grow up to be a pirate. If you do not know Sponge Bob, well, it is a cartoon show about a square sponge that wears pants on the bottom of the sea with an assortment of dysfunctional odd characters. I believe one of the characters is a pirate. I guess it is kind of like watching the Democrat or Republican national convention.
The tyke was insistent on being a pirate.
“I know a pirate,” I said, thinking that he would not understand a reference concerning Dick Cheney and thus created my own colorful, less deceitful, character.
I continued speaking to his amazed attentive face.
“The pirate I know has one leg made from the nose bone of a narwhal.”
The kid must watch the Animal Planet Channel as he corrected me by telling me that narwhal’s have tusks rather than long nose bones.
“Don’t interrupt me kid. I’m on a roll.” I said and continued with my tale.
“One leg of narwhal tusk and the other leg from the fin of a bottom feeder yet to be named. He had a knitting needle for a right hand and a halibut eye that after it replaced his own eye, moved around to the back of his head.”
“Halibut eyes do that,” said the intelligent lad…a fine smart kid, he is, as I start doing my pirate accent and verbiage.
“And,” I continued, “to protect his bald fair skinned head from the ocean sun he kept a large jellyfish on his noggin.”
“The jellyfish would dry out,” said the kid…smarter than he looked.
“Don’t over think the bit,” I told the scurvy little mate.
“For teeth my pirate friend used the toenails of a small walrus.”
The comment went by with acknowledged head shaking indicating to me that neither of us knew for certain if a walrus of any size has toenails. Or, maybe they do have toenails, the kid knows, and I just got lucky on my reference.
“Do you know my pirate friend’s name,” I asked?
“Is it Captain Jack,” the tyke said.
“No…no,” it’s not named after a Johnny Depp character.
“His name is Lucky,” I said.
The lucky reference sailed over the boy’s head higher than Billy Barty had to climb to shake hands with a jockey.
“Do you know how some pirates have a parrot that sits on their shoulder,” I asked?
“Well, my pirate friend could not afford a parrot so he had a deli ham wired to his shoulder.”
The kid was perplexed and so was I. The ham reference just rolled from my lips without explanation.
“Did it talk,” he asked?
“The ham,” I replied. “Why, no, no, that would be crazy wouldn’t it.”
“A monkey would be cool,” he replied.
“Yes, yes it would.” Why couldn’t I have said monkey? I can work with a monkey I thought. There’s a lot of stuff I could have told him if I had only said it was a monkey instead of a ham. Sometimes I wish we could have more do-over in life.
“Maybe you and Lucky will get to sail together when you grow up and become a pirate,” I said.
“I want to be a doctor too,” he said.
“Let me tell you about my friend the proct...,” but the kid’s aunt stepped up and gave him a Popsicle and told him to go play.
She looked at me and said, “You destroyed his desire to be a pirate and we all are leaning to the doctor idea, so let’s hope the doctor thing works out for all our sakes.”
Ah, a possibility for free medical care is in my future.
(Ken Stone is the publisher of the Grant County News. He can be reached at 824-3343 or by e-mail at email@example.com.)