Police Inspector Earl Smyth will never forget his first Pirate Intervention Class at Our Lady of Mercy High School as a young police rookie. "There I was with all my pirate paraphernalia and every time I said something I was met with laughter."
Maybe it was his age-he was only a few years older than his students-or maybe it was his good nature, but the kids eventually let him in on the joke. "Everything I was telling them was wrong. From the eye patch to the parrot on the shoulder. No wonder they were laughing."
Today after lecturing to thousands of students and parents, Inspector Earl, as he's affectionately called, could laugh about it himself, if the subject wasn't so serious. "Every year hundreds of teenagers abandon student life for an uncertain and dangerous living on the high seas." He warns parents. "Your child could be a pirate and you wouldn't even know it."
Mr. and Mrs. Cutworthy know all too well the danger of piracy. Their young son, Daniel Jr., was a pirate until the day they got the call that every parent dreads. "The signs were all there, we just didn't know them." explained Daniel Cutworthy Sr., Daniel's father.
"We were so proud of Daniel. Besides school he was working a double shift at Mickey Dee's, and it was just his luck that they had just implemented a tipping policy which let him bring home really big money...or so he told us." added his mother, Daniela. "When we cleaned out his room we found his rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47. His large stash of "bling-bling"-pirate slang for jewelry, according to Inspector Smyth,and $1.5 million in American currency."
Thanks to his easy rapport with today's youth, Inspector Smyth is "hip" to all the latest pirate slang. "One day you might surprise your son while he's "sporting a woody"-smoking a cigarette, and then his friend may want to "kop a feel"-get something to eat. His girlfriend may want to "give him some head"-buy him a gift. They all may want to go some where and "smoke some bud"- meet up with their friends. Pirate speak can be very picturesque, but such talk is a clear sign of trouble in a young person's life" He warns.
"The first thing parents should do is forget all those old pirate clichés. Your child isn't going to show up one day with a peg leg and an eye patch", Inspector Smyth explained. "You have to be in tune with more subtle signs of trouble.
Here are Inspector Earl's ten signs your child may be a pirate:
Their grades suffer.
They are absent for long periods of time with no clear explanation of where they've been.
They have a deep, deep tan or might even be sunburn.
They are flush with cash but don't have a job.
They wear odd clothes or have an new, unusual hair style.
They sport all sorts of flashy jewelry.
They start speaking Somalian.
They have a keen interest in Ak-47 assault rifles.
They bring home a rocket launcher.
They have knife or bullet wounds but won't tell you why or how they got them.
Any one of these actions alone maybe just a normal part of being a teen, but when they start piling up it's a sure sign that you son or daughter is experimenting with the pirate lifestyle.