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Humor Writer Shows Parents How to Raise Kids as Buccaneers

Tim Bete, best known for his association with the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, has just released a new book for pirate lovers everywhere. Guide to Pirate Parenting is the ticket to find out if your child is showing signs of being a pirate and what to do about it. Is it a bad thing to be a pirate? Let’s ask Tim and find out!

Q: Tim, thank you for this interview! First of all, are your kids pirates and how did you find out if they are?
A: Yes, all my kids are pirates. Our three-year-old is still in training. When she says, “I’ll give ye a taste of me hook,” she actually wants you to lick her hook. Here are some signs your child is becoming a pirate:

  • When your child was born, he yelled, “I sail with the tide!”
  • At the dinner table, your child has said, “I buried me treasure in the mashed potatoes.”
  • Your child has nightmares about being attacked by another ship and finding that the gunpowder is wet and unusable.
  • Your child told his teacher that he did his homework but it was eaten by a giant barracuda when the family’s ship wrecked on a carol reef near the Dry Tortugas.

But I’m proud my kids are pirates. It helps explain their behavior and their smell. Plus the family that plunders together, stays together!

Q: You have a co-author by the name of Cap’n Billy “The Butcher” MacDougall, am I correct?
A: That correct. But I’ll deny it during the trial.

Q: How did you become associated with him?
A: I met him at the Crow’s Nest Tavern while I was on vacation near the ocean. I asked him if he worked at a theme park. Real pirates don’t like it when you say those kinds of things. I offered to buy him a drink and he forgave me.

Q: Was it his idea to write this book or yours?
A: Cap’n Billy put his dagger next to my neck and told me I was going to write a book for him. He has a way of convincing people to see things his way. It’s the Captain’s dream that thousands of parents raise their little powder monkeys as pirates. Then he can put together a huge crew and plunder to his heart’s content. There’s nothing more exciting than sailing with Cap’n Billy, except maybe a merchant vessel full of gold.

Q: Does Cap’n Billy have any flaws you’d like to talk about?
A: Flaws, no. Scars, yes. In fact, he’s missing a few appendages and six teeth.

Q: Since the release of your book, what has been everyone’s response to Cap’n Billy? Did they like him or loathe him?
A: One person loathed him. He hasn’t been seen since, although Cap’n Billy mentioned something about a plank.

Q: I have to ask … does your family dress up as pirates for fun when it’s not even Halloween?
A: We dress up as landlubbers for Halloween. We’ve also been known to dress as pirates and plunder the UPS truck as it passes our house. It’s not filled with gold but we’ve got a big-screen TV, a few iPods, and a lot of clothes.

Q: You’re associated with the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. How long have you been with them?
A: Since it started in 2000. We’ve had some great speakers, including Dave Barry, who is very fond of Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19).

Q: Did you ever get a chance to meet Erma or her family?
A: I never met Erma. She died in 1996. But I’ve met the rest of the family and suspect they’re all pirates.

Q: Lastly, what would be the best parenting advice you can give to help us understand our children if they are showing signs of being a pirate?
A: The most important thing to know is when your child is a full-grown pirate. Here are the top 10 signs your pirate is ready to venture out on his or her own.

10. Your teen’s cell phone ringtone is a sea shanty.

9. Your teen complains that his allowance isn’t high enough to pay for “lavish pirate lifestyle.”

8. Your teen gets misty-eyed when watching Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

7. Your teen has already put a crew together, and they’re spending way too much time watching TV in your basement and eating your food.

6. A high school aptitude test showed your teen has great talent for high treason and skullduggery.

5. Your teen’s college entrance application essay that compared university professors to “drunken parrots with computers” didn’t impress any schools.

4. Your child is already wanted in sixteen states and on three oceans.

3. Your child finally finished patching the holes in the hull of the one hundred-foot schooner that’s been on blocks in your backyard for six years.

2. Cap’n Billy asked your teen to join his crew.

1. You recently changed the locks on your doors and didn’t want to spend the extra $1.29 for a key for your teen.

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