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So much to report. Let's see. Sam decided, after much internal philosophizing, to visit the shearer, reasoning that hair grows back and job opportunities do not. His ears and neck appeared to the world after an absence of many months. I could see he was somewhat traumatized by the appearance change. (Casey the dog reacts similarly, requiring much encouragment and sympathy after a haircut.) Thea, ever the sensitive twin sister, told Sam he looked like a dork. Then stared at the rest of us. What? she said. It's what we're all thinking. Sam smiled and shook his head -- he's known his sister since they shared a womb.

He took his haircut to the interview and between the two of them managed to secure the job at the yacht club. Now he gets to wear a golf shirt and navy shorts and hang around with nautical people.

That is so cool! I told him. Do you salute them?

No, he said.

Do you talk about starboard and port?

Sometimes, he said.

I tingled. I love sea stories. In my dream life I sail with Nelson or Cook. Or Edward Teach. (And thank heavens for dreams. The only time I have ever been on board a real yacht at sea -- well, at lake -- I was sicker than a dog.)

And do you use the nautical words for things? I asked. Decks and bulkheads? Heads and hatches?

No, he said.

You should. I'm sure it would impress people if you talked about swabbing the deck or battening the hatch. They would think you were knowledgeable.

They would think I was a jerk, he said. Or a pirate.

That was enough for me. I got all misty eyed. I remembered Sam in diapers, in kindergarten, in the science fair (this was not one memory, you understand, but a series. Sam was toilet trained well before his science fair days). Now he was all grown up and out in the big world. Some parents beam and brag at their children's success in medicine. Not me.

My son the pirate, I said.

He sighed.

I was going to give him a big hug, but the phone rang. It was my editor, wanting to argue about the cover for the new book. I told her I was in no mood to fight. How would you feel, I said, if you had just learned your son was going to be a pirate?

My editor knows me well. Call back when you're sober, she said.


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