Yes, I Am A Pirate.

Posted by admin on July 3, 2017 in Pirate Adventures |

I’ve just returned from another weekend of pirating. No matter where I am, I have a great time doing it, largely because, well, I have a bit of a history.

For those that know that history, then you know why I’m a bit different than most pirates. I don’t come from a faire background. I don’t even like ren faires. And I don’t pirate for the social aspect of it. As such, hanging with a bunch of pirates to kumbaya together is akin to putting sharp sticks in my eyes. It’s not that other pirates or wenches are necessarily boring or uninteresting. It’s just that I learned my craft differently and it’s way too late to change something that works.

Hell, for years I never even sat down or ate when I went a’rovin’. I’ve touched on the eating conundrum in the past. Not in a single comic book, TV episode or movie did Superman sit down and have a bite to eat when he was Superman and not Clark Kent. It’s the same with being a pirate in my book. You are either ‘on’ or you are ‘off’ and when you’re ‘on,’ kids don’t want to see you eating a burger on the street any more than they want to see you take a piss. It’s a Superman killing moment.

I admit that I now eat on occasion. The old body can’t cash checks like it used to. If I don’t take care to eat or drink an occasional water, it will not end up well for me or others around me. After all, I didn’t get the name Hurricane because I like blow jobs.

Hmm… maybe I should take that back.

Yes, I can get pretty prickly when I don’t eat. So, I’ve given into some of the realities of life.

Others, however, I refuse to give into. First, there’s no reason at all to entertain pirates. I’ve been asked to sing a song many times when I’m among the brethren. I try to politely deflect the request or say I need a break. After all, I’m not a wind-up monkey with cymbals, ready to play on demand. It’s not that I don’t like other pirates; it’s just that I was trained to entertain the public, not pirates.

It’s just one of the things I’ve learned after doing this for 35 years. It comes with the territory. When you’re new to pirating you’ll do damned near anything. Hell, I certainly did! That’s how I got trained in black powder, learned sword fighting, figured out how to pitch a period-perfect camp, and how I learned all about Port Royal’s buccaneer history at a scholarly level.

But as Krimson Kat so rightfully pointed out a couple days ago, I am not an average pirate. I am mostly a pirate, one who has lived life as one as much as entertains as one. It’s not dress-up for me; it’s a lifestyle and some would even say a calling.

As such, there are things I simply can’t fathom. Before I go down this road, let me start off by saying I don’t judge anyone who chooses to do any of these things. It’s simply not in my pirate DNA to indulge in them because I learned this whole pirate thing back in the days when there were less than a hundred practicing pirates in the U.S. This was back in the 1980s, a time when you could drink on parade routes, brandish and scrape your sword, fire sawed-off shotguns with abandon on the street,  pick up women (literally, as in off the ground), and got away with driving drunk because you knew a couple police officers and fellow pirates who were still at the bar you just left.

But I still can’t get a tattoo. Besides the fact that they are about as period as bucket boots, I really don’t think pirates would like to be marked with anything on their bodies that said, “Hey, look at me! I’m a pirate!” You might as well have a peg leg and a parrot and a Margaritaville t-shirt that says, “Yes, I am a pirate.” because the last thing you want to do in port is be recognized by any marking that stands out. Pirates wanted to blend in in town, not stand out like a sore thumb. Unless, of course, they wanted to do a jig at the end of a rope.

That said, my wife has one amazingly beautiful tattoo. I’m the first to admire the art, but as a pirate, I just can’t put one on my own body. Of course, I’m also not willing to get a peg leg so I feel more piratey either.

I’ve already covered the entertainment problem. I think it’s adorable that people want to sit around a campfire late into the night and sing “pirate” songs, which 1) aren’t really from the pirate era and 2), are played on instruments that didn’t exist them. I’m the first to admit that my tenor guitar was developed in the 1920s; it’s no more period than the songs I sing.

And then there’s the whole politics of piracy. I don’t court favor, I have no desire to be a Leviathan or any such nonsense. I mean, really? Do you think Blackbeard or Morgan would care if they won a popularity contest back in their day? I know that the pirate legends who trained me – guys who had already done this for 30 or 40 years when I met them – would laugh me right out of piracy with such an idea.

Thankfully, I am mostly left out of the politics and most of the drama. I just don’t play the game anymore. I don’t care who did what to whom or whether I’m on the outs with someone who isn’t part of my “real” life because I didn’t respect them as an equal because they had a tricorn on.

But, the endless drama and politics are one reason you won’t see me at very many “pirate-centric” events. Again, this is no one’s fault and it’s not that I am some kind of prima donna. Rather, it’s because I learned long ago that it’s far better to be the only pirate in town than one of many.

It’s the old supply and demand thing. When our crewe walks into a town or a bar or any place and there’s just us, magic happens. We are the something different that’s there that day. We’ve turned an otherwise boring, same ol’-same ol’ day into magic, just by being there.

It’s something you can’t do when there are pirates and wenches everywhere. It’s too much of a distraction. As such, it’s tough to get that rare moment I seek, the one where I get to touch another person’s life and connect on a level that is so memorable, so primal, that we both hold onto it for the rest of your days.

When I’m in gear, that’s all I am looking for. It’s the reason I became a pirate. For ultimately, the only imortality you can ever achieve in this world is to be someone else’s lasting memory. And if I have learned nothing else over these last 35 years, it’s that this is the magic of being a pirate. To create a lasting memory.

In the Emerald City, blessed to have been trained by the best while still knowing that I will always remain humbly in their shadows,

  • Robb


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