Superman Never Eats.

Posted by admin on May 9, 2011 in Pirate Adventures |
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Back from my recent soiree as a pirate entertainer, I was asked why I rarely if ever eat while I’m in costume. Sure, I’ll nibble on something now and then, but rarely will I pack in the groceries, even though I may be starving at the time.

I replied, quite simply, “Because Superman never eats when he’s wearing the cape.” If you think about it, this is true. Did you ever see Superman sit down at the diner when he was in costume? Of course not. Sure, Clark Kent would grab a bite to eat with Lois Lane and Jimmy now and then, but he was Clark, not Superman at the time.

I don’t really know when I first stumbled into this whole concept. Back when I was in the Seafair Pirates they ate all the time, but only after they would finish a parade. We knew all too well that eating beforehand was the death knell of a good parade experience. We’d all end up full and that meant sluggish. Far better to be hepped up on a bit of alcohol and be starving than be stuffed to the gills and wanting to have a nap.

I also thought it destroyed the magic of being a pirate. There you were — all bigger than life in your pirate gear — swords, daggers and pistols dripping off your side. A little kid wanders by but he sees you’re chomping on a Big Mac. It destroys the whole illusion that you’re going for.

It’s like seeing Santa without the beard squirreling away some whiskey from a flask with a voluptuous elf on his lap. The images don’t match up with the expectation.

And so, I starve. Only when I’m through with my day of pirating do I finally stop for a bite to eat. In fact, Saturday night at the Schooner Wharf bar was the first time I think I’ve sat to eat a meal in costume for a couple of years. In my defense, I had only had half a bagel in the morning and by the time I figured out I was starved, I had been working the pub run event from some 14 hours. I was famished. So I chowed down on some conch fritters and a burger.

Then the inevitable crash came. I was full. I was ready for a nap. I wanted to go home.

Superman doesn’t eat. And neither do I. In fact, I rarely even sit down while I pirate. A pirate should always be roaming the grounds. If I sit down, I’m not working the crowd, I’m not entertaining the kids and I’m not looking for opportunities to interact. I’m just sitting there, like a spider waiting for a fly. Again, it’s not the way I was taught.

As anyone who has pirated with me knows, when I come to town, be it for a day or for a week, I am rarely seen out of costume. There’s two reasons for this. First, it spoils the illusion to have someone see you as a pirate early in the day, then see you in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt later on. In an instant you’re just a mere mortal. The second reason is that I am usually in town to promote an event. When you’re in costume you can do your job, promoting the event you’re at. You can be there days before the actual event and you’re a walking, talking billboard.

Most of the times, I even drive in the costume. It’s not because it’s important to the magic. It’s because I’m just too old to get dressed in the front seat of the car any longer. I used to do this all the time in my younger days, when I’d get off work, dash off to pirating, and change in the parking lot. Yup, just drop the old drawers with the car door blocking me. I can’t do that any more. I think if I did, I’d probably be arrested for being a dirty old man who was trying to expose myself.

Not that I haven’t exposed myself inadvertently a time or two. I think it was actually the pirate costume that kept me out of jail. I’m sure the little children who were on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, sand castle buckets in hand, are still in therapy because they saw a half naked pirate rise from the chaise lounge on the beach, still half drunk from the night before. I did it with complete aplomb, of course. Well, as much as you can when little children are gawking at you. I would have been faster to my feet, but I had to get the girl off the top of me first. But that’s a whole other story!

Being with the Pirateheads taught me the importance of being in costume always and always carrying that air of piracy. The first few times I showed up to a Piratehead event I was in full gear. Then I showed up once to a party in civvies. I took a lot of s**t for it. It was like having Clark Kent at the party instead of Superman. Let’s face it, Clark doesn’t get invited to many parties.

Oh well, I’ve learned my lesson. So, I don’t eat while I’m pirating. I don’t show up in civvies and then get into pirate gear. I certainly never wear modern sunglasses in pirate gear. Ruins the photos people are taking. I don’t ever get into civvies after pirating and I’ve learned never to pass out on a beach without being fully dressed.

Who says you can’t teach an old seadog new tricks?

Out on the Treasure Coast, writing this in pirate gear (not really, but I do have a tricorn on),

– Robb

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