The Piratitudes

This week the title and teaser to my UPI columnhave come over to the blog with the column.
Titles and teasers are written by editors, usually I like mine better,
but this week Larry Moffitt UPI editor extraordinaire beat me all to heck!

The Piratitudes

Blessed are the swashbucklers.

Blessed are those who shiver me timbers.
They walk among us.
They look like us - at least on weekdays.
They are pirates, and you should be worried!

So there I was…

… Sitting in a restaurant with a friend when some unusual snippets of conversation carried across the room. The conversation was a bit raucous and included the words “avast” and “scurvy dogs.”
“Aarrr” I said to my dinner companion, “Thar be pirates here.”
“Aye, but I’ve got yer back,” said she.

Indeed, there were pirates – a whole galley full; bilge rats, old salts, and wenches a plenty. And it is a true fact of the universe that if someone is talking pirate in your vicinity, it is nearly impossible not to join in with an “aye, aye” or two. I have also noticed that the craving for flagons of grog rises as well.

We left the establishment as the pirates disembarked. I noticed a wee bairn, not more than three. She was dressed up in tiny 17th century English splendor; frilly frock and golden curls spilling over her velvet cape. She was adorable. As we passed her I decided to join the fun a bit.

“Darlin, it seems ye have been kidnapped by pirates. If ye need a rescue, just holler.” The tyke laughed cherubically. “Oh, it’s ok, that’s just my dad; he likes to pretend he’s a pirate.” To which the swashbuckler escorting her added. “Aarrr – she’s safe as safe can be – we never damage the merchandise.” The baby laughed again.

Funny stuff. Made for a colorful evening. Then I got to thinking about what it must be like growing up in the pirate lifestyle. Daddy sells insurance and mommy drives you to ballet; except on the weekends when he becomes a privateer and she becomes a buxom wench and they dress you up and take you to the local state park where lots of other people dress like this and talk like that and they walk the plank a lot.

You see, there are a lot of people living the pirate lifestyle, google it up if you doubt me. Or sail around
the pirate web ring and see the variety of commerce and avocation dedicated to piracy.

They have their own lingo, having coined the noun ‘piratitude’ to name the spiritual/emotional/intellectual state of being a pirate. It involves swagger. It involves lust. It involves the flagrant flaunting of normal conventions while simultaneously adhering to a strict interpretation of the Pirate Code of Ethics. A piratitude can be adopted in any walk of life, even in times and places where the full expression of the lifestyle is not tolerated.

There are major municipalities that have Pirate Days like others have Founder’s Day or Pioneer Days. There are parades where pirates come out of the woodwork, flying the Jolly Roger instead of the red white and blue. They shiver their timbers without a shed of shame.

They have been secretly indoctrinated you children at Disney Theme Parks since 1967.

“Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot,
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
We extort, we pilfer, we filch, and sack,
Maraud and embezzle, and even high-jack,
…We kindle and char, inflame and ignite,
… We burn up the city, we're really a fright,
We're rascals, scoundrels, villans, and knaves,

… We're devils and black sheep, really bad eggs,
… We're beggars and blighters, ne'er-do-well cads,
Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads.”

What will become of the children raised in the pirate lifestyle? Will they become pirates? Will they plunder? Will they pillage? Or will they rebel against the piracy of their parents and form an ex-pirate movement of Naval re-enactors? I do not know, but I think that the watchdogs of morality are not paying enough attention to this. This is a group that advocates ravage not marriage. This group does not demand rights – they scoff at rights. “You have the right to be ransomed – we’ll take that in doubloons, please.” They don’t ask to be allowed to adopt – they will slip in at night and steal your babies away to Neverland. They don’t want into your churches – they want to burn your churches for plunder.

They have a celebrity spokesperson – Johnny Depp – who admits to modeling his character after Keith Richards. Now there is a guy who has piratitude! Keith recently fell out of a coconut tree in the South Pacific – are you paying attention now?

But I am here to tell you that pirates are not as pretty as Johnny Depp. They have bad teeth and bad breath, and body odor. You can shout “Parlez” all day long and it is not going to do you any good. I have been to Africa and if you have the misfortune of being on a ship off of the Somali Coast you can meet real pirates. These days pirates carry AK-47’s and shoulder launched rocket grenades.

And America has people, lots of people, who think that imitating these guys and their historical antecedents is good family fun. So when you sit in your pew in your house of worship and wonder why America is so unchurched, and why the morals of the country seem to be sliding – remember that your lifestyle is competing with the pirate lifestyle. And some weekends the pirates are winning.

im not entirely sure i understand your point, is the american pirate lifestyle good or bad? are they really ethical scoundrals having fun or silly americans that mock serious world issues? are you saying christianity is losing its appeal becasue its boring and being wild and free-booting is just so much more fun?
Ah - a comment from an actual swashbuckler - even if she is a gnome!

I think the point may be all of the above.

Imanginary piracy can be fun. I intend to see to movie as soon as it comes out.

Only Americans could be so sheltered as to think of this as an avocation.

Isn't a little weird that even imagninary rape pillage and plunder is seen as wholesome family fun?

And I am interested in pointing out what churches are competing with and loosing. I want people to think about why church is boring compared to piracy.

And I was actually hoping for the satirical contrast to the hysteria about the "gay lifestyle" I mean really, they just want to settle down, get married and join a church - how subversive!

Do you remember when your uncle Peter and I took you and #1 to Disneyland and we went on the pirate ride several times in a row? We had the song about memorized. It was fun to look up the words.

"Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads!"

come home when it cools of ok?
Okay, I got the contrast to the hysteria about gay and lesbian folks wanting to get married and settle down, adopt orphaned children and go to church. I thought it was a very good point.
And sometimes we just have to put the silly in silly poor gospel
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