Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A small pirate quiz (don’t worry, it’s open book)

My family watched the ancient 1991 movie Hook the other night. A scene stuck out that made me realize I’m no Peter Pan. I’m not even a Lost Boy. I’m a pirate. Here’s how I know:

Rufio skateboards toward Peter Banning, who forgot he used to be Peter Pan. Rufio jumps off the skateboard and swings on a vine. Peter says, “Oh, that is so dangerous!” Then Rufio pulls out Pan’s sword.

Peter Banning: Okay, mister. Alright, show's over now. You put that thing away! No, put it down before you poke somebody's eye out. 
[the Lost Boy all laugh at Peter] 
Peter Banning: You're not old enough to shave! What are you doing with a sword. I've been flying around - This is an insurance nightmare! What is this? Some sort of the "Lord of the Flies" pre-school? Where are your parents? Who's in charge here? 
[the Lost Boys all point to Rufio] 
Peter Banning: [in disbelief] No! No, Mr. Skunkhead with too much mousse. You are just a punk kid. I want to speak to a grown-up! 
Rufio: All grown-ups are pirates. 
Peter Banning: Excuse me? 
Rufio: We kill pirates. 
Peter Banning: I'm not a pirate. It so happens, I am a lawyer. 
Rufio: [with the rest of the Lost Boys pulling out their weapons] Kill the lawyer! 
Peter Banning: [laughs nervously] I'm not that kind of lawyer!

Then the Lost Boys chase Peter around for a while, while he shouts about how they should be wearing helmets.

When I was in high school (back in those ancient pre-internet days) I watched this movie in the theater. I didn’t understand what Peter’s problem was. He was excessively stuffy, shouting about helmets and insurance and kids poking their eyes out.

But according to the Lost Boys, I’ve now become a pirate. I’m the one shouting at my kids to put on their helmets. I’m the one telling them they’ll poke their eyes out while running with sticks. I’ve become a grown-up. And it’s all because of insurance. Now I’m the one paying the medical bills every time someone in my family gets hurt.

So, just in case you aren’t sure where you stand, here’s a small quiz to help you decide whether you’re a Lost Boy or a pirate.

1. When you see kids doing crazy stunts on skateboards while not wearing helmets, is your first thought about how they might crash and need stitches? And whose insurance will pay for it?

2. When you see kids climbing on railings two stories off the ground, do you call out for them to be careful, because both you and the insurance company know kids can’t fly?

3. When you see kids sword fighting with sticks, do you think about how sticks and stones can break their bones, and how insurance won’t be the only one paying for it when they poke their eyes out?

If you said yes to one or more of these questions, you might be a pirate, too.

I felt a twinge of longing for my pre-pirate days when I realized I’d become a stuffy old person who worries about things like insurance, instead of having fun. Those were the good old days, back when I didn’t have a worry in the world except why my secret crush was ignoring me, or how to keep pimples off my face. Insurance never crossed my mind.

But then it hit me. Being a pirate isn’t so bad. If we were all still Lost Boys, there wouldn’t be any grown ups around to patch us up. Doctors wouldn’t exist, because they’d still be kids, too. There would be a lot of missing eyeballs, crooked arms and legs, and huge scars all over our heads from skateboarding without using a helmet.

I think I prefer the world where Lost Boys grow up. The Aflac duck is much easier on the eyes.


  1. First, I love that movie. And second, I have to agree with you. With 4 kids, I am most certainly a pirate, but it would be nice to be a lost boy occasionally.

  2. We definitely need to keep a little bit of Lost Boy in us, too :)