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A perfect piratical present. March 14, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Aaaarrrr! Yaaarrrr!!! Listen up, mateys! What do you buy for the little pirate-to-be’s birthday?

Silence Dogood here. My nephew’s turning five years old. His family lives across the continent from me and our friend Ben, so we don’t get to see him often and enjoy his growing up. I asked his mother to tell me what interested him now, so I could get him birthday presents that reflected what he liked, not what I or OFB had liked at his age. To my delight, she replied that he was fascinated by pirates.

Aaaarrrr!!! Here was something OFB and I could totally relate to. A few years ago, we’d made “treasure chests” out of Captain Morgan boxes for our somewhat older, much closer niece and nephew’s birthdays and filled them with pirate booty. It was the most fun I’d ever had putting presents together.

For a five-year-old, though, we needed a somewhat stripped-down version. Getting down to the bare skull-and-crossbones, it seemed to me that the perfect piratical present for a five-year-old would contain a treasure chest loaded with treasure, a small Jolly Roger flag, a bag of coin-shaped chocolates wrapped in gold foil, and an amazing, interactive book.

Fortunately, the treasure chest part proved no problem. Our favorite marble website, Land of Marbles, offers a pirate chest filled with shiny, glittery, colorful marbles, “gems,” and “gold” doubloons and “silver” pieces of eight. (Must have pieces of eight!) It also offers a big marble with the skull-and-crossbones on a field of black, perfect for completing the set. We acquired the pirate flag last time we were in North Carolina, which claims Blackbeard as a famous resident. And there are two candymakers near us—one within walking distance—that offer bags of gold coin chocolates.

The book proved to be the greatest challenge. Getting a “Pirates of the Caribbean” book or DVD seemed like an obvious solution, but surely a pirate-loving kid would already have all those. (We did get a movie-themed birthday card. Thank you, Johnny Depp.) Instead, we found the most amazing, historically accurate book on pirates imaginable.

Called Pirates vs. Pirates, it pitches ten pirates from different eras and areas against each other until only one remains. It’s like a video game in a book, with tons of action and historical factoids about each type of pirate, letting you guess who’d have won these mythical battles, then giving you their answers based on weaponry, fighting style, even food and first aid available to each type of pirate. There’s a ton of real, historical information hiding in these pages, and the graphics are unbeatable.

The winner? A buccaneer like Captain Morgan, a privateer like Sir Francis Drake, a corsair from the East? According to this book, it would be a “roundsman,” something I’d never even heard of (named for the rounds of bullets in his pistol). I’m sure my nephew will learn a lot while having fun as well. And, er, as OFB is a passionate marble collector as well as a pirate fan himself, we picked up an extra pirate treasure chest from Land of Marbles for ourselves. There’s no such thing as too much treasure, right, me hearties? Aaarrrr!!!!

‘Til next time,




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