Being a pirate isn’t easy, at least if you want to have what some people call a normal relationship. I have written here and there about my many misadventures in pursuit of love, including a book that chronicled all my exploits in often embarrassing detail.
But now that I am in a happy, fulfilling relationship with someone that took the better part of five decades to find, I can reflect on the effect my pirate life has had on relationships, both good and bad.
I only write this because I was recently watching a documentary on the Treasure Island Resort in Vegas. This shouldn’t be more than a footnote, except that I got married there. This would be Marriage #2. This was back in 1994 when I was still so young and immature. But I am getting ahead of myself.
As you may recall in my missive about Diablo, the entire relationship could be described by the titles of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Episodes 3 and 4, At World’s End and On Stranger Tides, mirrored that relationship perfectly, right down to the moment when we struck the reef of romance and Diablo jumped ship, leaving me to go down with it, as any good captain would.
But as I think more about it, the years that end in a 3 and 4, much like the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, seem to strange influence on my life.
In 1983, I became a Seafair Pirate. I had gone through my year of candidacy and the crew voted me in unanimously as a member in the fall of that year. I was a full-fledged pirate, in more ways than one.
I was told back then by a fellow pirate that “when you become a pirate, you know it, and so does everyone else.” This, I think, is where the casual pirate player and a pirate diverge. When you become a pirate, your brain changes. You no longer care about your job, your relationship, paying bills or civilian life. That world is a place you visit occasionally, but you no longer live there.
It is a transformative process, going through that year of candidacy, learning all the ropes, doing total shit work that would make the most determined individual quit, and then going through hell week, Seafair, where you stay in a hotel and live and breathe being a pirate 24/7.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that during Seafair 1983 I found my romantic sea legs and lost my “pirate virginity” as it was called. I was now a true pirate. And one of a select few.
Just one problem. I still had a wife in the civilian world. What to do, what to do.
Long story short, she found out I was spending a lot of time in someone else’s harbor and wasn’t thrilled I was visiting that particular port regularly. The following April (1994), I was on the lam, my brothers were trying to kill me, my soon-to-be ex was living with my mother and me, I was navigating a new world.
Not really proud of how it all played out, but hey, that’s life.
Almost 10 years passed before I found true love again. At least she was a wench and singer. She understood where I was coming from more than the civilian. Plus we went everywhere together as part of a crew, so what could possibly happen?
Back to Treasure Island. We started dating in 2003. We got engaged in the winter of that year. Looking for a place to get married, we saw that Treasure Island Resort had just opened. So we set a course for Las Vegas.
We were the first couple to get married in full regalia at Treasure Island. I still remember when the security folks tried to keep us out of the casino after we got hitched. Then someone whispered in their earpiece and we were free to roam about the cabin. Take that, members of the King’s Navy.
This was back when the pirates and navy fought one another in fully rigged ships in front of the casino. It was pretty cool, being in our gear, posing for photos in front of the ship and getting a salute from the crew on our wedding day.
The show went on for 10 years. About midway through it changed to a Sirens of TI show, the pirates becoming half-naked showgirls. It closed in 2003.
This was the same year we went down to Key West to renew our vows. It was the DVD release of the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie, titled appropriately, “Curse of the Black Pearl.”
Feel free to read the details of that misadventure in the Diablo chronicles. Talk about a curse. But let’s cut to the chase. I found myself dropping anchor in a different harbor again.
In April 2004, I was once again offered the chance to leave the wonderful life I had and set course for the stranger tides of Florida. Dumbass.
If I had only known that the Treasure Island Resort had shut down the show the previous October, I may have been able to keep a weather eye out for rough waters ahead in Key West, knowing my “dating” problem. As we know, history repeats itself and mine seems to have a love of Aprils, years ending in 3 or 4, and pirates, whether movies, events, or antics.
So it’s with a bit of trepidation that Kat sees 2023 on the horizon. I keep telling her that I don’t believe in all this nonsense. That’s it just an amusing coincidence or more likely, a writer’s overactive imagination.
I can’t say I blame her. I can take solace that there are no more Pirates of the Caribbean movies coming up and I have lost my taste for unfamiliar harbors. I’m very happy with the anchorage and safe harbor she’s given me.
The years are just years now. It’s 2021 now, next year it will be 2022, then comes 2025, 2026 and 2027. Just dates on a calendar and there’s not a single stitch of superstition left in me.
Somewhere north of Seattle, keeping my tiller in familiar waters,