Captain Hook: The Quintessential Bad Guy


One snowy day, we stopped at a gas station to fill up, and Claire said she had to go to the bathroom. I stayed in the car with Cormac, leaving Crispin to take her in. When they returned, he said, “Guess who peed on the bathroom floor?!”

“She didn’t!,” I gasped.

He grinned. “Captain Hook.”

Apparently, Claire had seen how wet the bathroom floor was from all of the snowmelt from people’s shoes. She stopped and stood, aghast. “Daddy!,” she exclaimed, her eyes wide. “Captain Hook came right in here and peed ALL over the bathroom floor!”

At three years, one month, Claire is busy trying to sort all the characters in the world into her simplistic schema. She routinely asks us, “Is he a good guy or a bad guy?”  She dismisses it when I painstakingly try to explain that good people can make bad decisions and vice versa. Oh, well. There’s time for that.

Since that day, Captain Hook has become the perfect scapegoat. One day, Claire had gum on the bottom of her boot. She knowingly explained to me, “Captain Hook spit out his gum right on the ground and I stepped on it.”  Another time, she got out one of her books that she had previously drawn on the cover of. She looked surprised to see the wayward pen lines. “Look!” she demanded. “Captain Hook drew on my book!”  And then, after some reflection, “He’s so naughty.”

Since then, we’ve really embraced the idea of this convenient villain. Someone leave the toilet paper roll empty?  Captain Hook. Someone break a jar?  That hook makes it nearly impossible to hold things carefully. Someone left their toys out on the floor?  That insufferable codfish.

Having such an opportune culprit has added some levity to this sometimes-trying time of the threenage year. If you have the chance to welcome a bad guy into your home, I recommend it–they can really make life a little more fun.


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