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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Take The Sippican Cottage Parenting Test (from 2006)

I’m an OK parent. I’ve seen really good parents. I’m not them.

I am A Parent, though. There is a pass/fail aspect to it, and I defy any person to say I don’t pass. I think that many parents fail because they are not satisfied with passing; they are determined to be THE BEST PARENT EVAR. And they mess up their kids trying.

There is only one way to demonstrate that you are THE BEST PARENT EVAR – your kid must be Bruce Lee/ Buzz Aldrin/ Tom Brady/ Albert Einstein/ Steve Jobs. Unless of course you’ve got a female of the species, you know, the ballerina/astronaut/CEO/oarswoman/scholar/runway model. There will be no finger painting. You will learn Mandarin Chinese while listening to Bach fugues and eating free range organic watercress sandwiches and drinking only water collected from terne metal gutters from French cathedrals, while waiting for your violin lessons to start.

While wearing a helmet.

I’m not THE BEST PARENT EVAR. My children get three squares a day, and can read and write after a fashion, and their peers don’t point and giggle after they walk by, and other parents ask their children: “Why don’t you invite that Sullivan boy over, he’s nice and polite.” They sleep all night in their beds untroubled by adult cares. We don’t watch slasher movies together. They go outdoors occasionally. They won’t get mumps or whooping cough because they have THE BEST PARENT EVAR who won’t let them be immunized because immunization leads to being average! Like everybody else!


Sorry, I was channeling a bit. My kids are not extraordinary. You know, like Michael Jackson or The Olsen Wraiths…oops I meant Twins, or Paris Hilton or River Phoenix or Screech or Danny Bonaduce or Gary Coleman or … well, you get the picture.

Anyway, I’d like to set your mind at ease. Take the Sippican Cottage Parenting test. Don’t worry, it’s Pass/Fail. Watch the following video. If it doesn’t look like you and your children, then you’re probably fine.

How’d you do? I thought so.

I wonder how many kids that woman had before she started the act.

7 Responses

  1. terne metal gutters… nasty stuff. don't drink off them.

    kids are very resilient thankfully and allow for a big grading curve…not that i've ever set the exam.

  2. I hate to tell you this, but that makes you the best parent evar. I didn't "encourage" my kids to go to a university. Everyone around me was aghast. You would think I was throwing knives at them, or something. I let the older ones choose what education they wanted after they finished high school,(they both went to community college at 15), and they both chose trade school. Guess what? They both are well employed, while very few of their highly "educated" friends can even find a job.

  3. The ship-shaped pulpit your boys are standing beneath is really intriguing. Of course, it reminds me of the scene in Moby Dick when the preacher rallied the congregation in a similar contraption. Where is this room the boys are in…. and did you build this pulpit?

  4. Hi Leon- Thanks for reading and commenting and wearing that hat.

    Hi Leslie- We were rather beset by people asking us why our older son won't go to formal college immediately after finishing homeschool high school. The words "But there's all this free money around" were actually uttered to us.

    Free money. Um Hmmm.

    Hi Tom- It reminds you of that scene in Moby Dick because that's where they filmed that scene in Moby Dick. It's the Seaman's Bethel on Johnnycake Hill in New Bedford, Mass. We used to live near there. I think that picture is four years old or so.

    The ship's bow pulpit is amusing. The moviemakers added it for filming, and then took it apart. Tourists started going to the Bethel looking for it, and went away disappointed. After a while, they people that ran the Bethel built another one.

    I wrote more about it here: Who Against The Proud Gods And Commodores Of This Earth Stands Forth His Own Inexorable Self

  5. I think I got that a little bollixed up. John Huston made a replica of the Seaman's Bethel, with a boat-prow pulpit, and filmed there, and then tore it down. People came to the actual Seaman's Bethel looking for the boat pulpit, so they built one.


  6. So…. once upon a time there was an actual ship-shaped pulpit… or was this something Herman Melville dreamed up? THEN… John Huston built the visionary scene in his movie "Moby Dick" and when they split town people were upset that this temporary contraption was no where to be found? Because it was promptly deposited in the local landfill? And then public outcry demanded that the screen-vision pulpit be rebuilt so that people may be able to spend a few more moments on Johnnycake Hill? I'm planning my next vacation and want to maintain a somewhat tenuous grasp on reality.

  7. Thanks Greg for the links and the earlier piece you wrote back in 2009. This chapel is totally worth a visit. I should have read your article first… and the wiki article… before commenting once again.

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