Skully the Pirate. Skully the Pirate? Could it be that simple? One minor change. Just a few letters, really, could solve a whole bunch of problems. In the book, Schmitty doesn’t like his father. He doesn’t know he’s his father for a while, and when he finds out, it rocks his world. Well, wouldn’t that make more sense if they didn’t have the same name?
Yes it would.
Then, I started asking: What if? I love that question. It opens so many doors.
What if Schmitty’s mother kept her maiden name? After all, Schmitty’s never met his father before. Maybe the truth, that his father is a pirate, has been kept from him. This makes sense because Schmitty’s grandfather, Admiral Ironskull, has instilled a hatred of all things pirate in his grandson. So maybe Schmitty’s not named for his father, Captain Schmitt, but for his grandfather. Therefore, his name becomes Skully.
And it’s not a stretch either. I named the Admiral Ironskull because he’s hard-headed. So is Schmitty. I mean Skully. Maybe.
It also solves another, less obvious, but potentially harmful, problem. Last week, I quoted the good things Michael Grant had to say about my series idea. This is what I didn’t print:
I'd think about the name Schmitty. Hard to spell, hard for a kid to be sure how to pronounce it. Also you're making it awfully easy for them to transpose a few letters and come up with Shitty the Pirate. So if it was me I'd be looking at a different name.So now I am. And this problem came up a few years ago. I mentioned to my friend Joe that I’d feel I was a success when Schmitty became a breakfast cereal.
“Sure,” Joe laughed. “Just add chocolate milk. Shitty Schmittys.”
And I’m whispering here, but I think I like Skully. A lot. Better. It rolls off the tongue, don’t you think?
It’s hard to accept this. He’s been Schmitty for so long. I can’t even type Schmitt without inadvertently hitting the y. Still, if it’s for the better….
Is it? Somebody tell me its okay.