I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this here before, but Jasper and Emilia love pirates. Jasper especially. He also loves superheroes (‘supers,’ he calls them), but he has a more granular passion – a passion that is more specific and focused and oriented around the granular details – for pirates, mostly, it seems, because he identifies with pirates. Pirates are troublemakers. Pirates make trouble their business. Jasper is down with that, because Jasper knows a thing or two about trouble himself. And Jasper is getting even better at it, because he is attending a school for pirates. It’s an e-course, and doesn’t carry transfer credit, but still.
Jake’s Never Land Pirate School, through which Jasper is pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Piracy, offers four credit streams: sailing, maze navigation, music (Pirate Band) and advanced use of maps and spyglasses. No pillaging, which is probably for the best. Jasper is excelling at maze navigation and sailing, which have limited use, seeing as we have access to neither mazes nor boats, but still. The development of his pirate skill set is beside the point. Pirate school – in its incarnation here, as an app – keeps him entirely engaged for deliciously long stretches of time, and during these long summer months that is worth its weight in gold dubloons. Not least because of the car rides. ALL THE CAR RIDES. Can I tell you about the car rides?
It is just over two hours from our apartment in New York to our house in the Catskills. Two hours, which is not quite long enough to warrant long stops, but still long enough to cause small children to get car-cabin fever and unleash holy terror upon all within. Which is not, you would think, the best environment in which to impose learning, but if it’s pirate learning… well, then. You’re onto something. Jasper studies maze navigation while Emilia studies pirate music appreciation (Pirate Band) and all is quiet.
Until we get to the Catskills and Jasper leaps from the car, ready to battle the Mountain Pirates and their evil leader, Captain Hook Of The Delaware, but by then, I don’t care. Once he’s out of the car, he can scream battle cries at all the pirates he likes. And lead them through mazes, and teach them how to play all the instruments in Pirate Band, and I can have a glass of wine.
The app, my friends, has done its work.
(You know how badly I wanted to title this, ‘APP-pirating We Will Go’? Pretty badly. I resisted, though.)
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