10 Reasons Why Being a Pirate is Badass!

Steampunk-SharonHey there folks! Winter and I are gearing up to play “Toast of Tortuga” up in Oregon, so I thought it would be fun to celebrate our inner pirates! After all, being a pirate is fun! Rife with lust-filled adventure, larger than life swagger, and the quest for all life can give us!

Are you a pirate? I bet you are! Or easily can be, with just a wee sleight of perception.

A note: I like to think it goes without saying that we are speaking of the pirate archetype, here, not actual pirates, with more blood on their hands than showers on their skin, and a desperate hunger that drives them to desperate deeds. Au contraire, we invoke the pirate archetype to fight back against the forces of desperation, among other things. This is just a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun, which may also, for the discerning reader, reveal a pearl or two of genuine wisdom along the way.

Without further ado, 10 reasons why being a pirate is badass!

1) Pirates are always up for an adventure.
When have you ever heard about a pirate who just sits around in his shorts? Never, that’s when! Pirates are always ready for a swashbuckling good time. With few possessions, and a hearty thirst for adventure, a pirate is ready at a moment’s notice for the most outlandish of shenannegins. As a pirate, you will have no shortage of epic voyages to undertake, and tall tales to tell, which virtually ensures you get invited to all the best parties. If you are going to live at all, live to the utmost, we pirates say!

2)Pirates take risks to live their dreams.
Never ones to fear the unknown, pirates will leave no stone unturned in their quest for a well-lived life. So far as we know, we get one crack at this thing called life. This insight is never far from a pirate’s mind, and she means to drink up every drop while she can! A pirate knows he is only as good as the legends he lives, and so live them he does!

3)Pirates push back against “The Man.
A pirate lives by a code, and that code does not include exploiting one’s fellow man, destroying the very earth (or ocean) that gives us sustenance, or stealing from one’s own. At the core of my enduring admiration for pirate lore is the struggle against encroaching empire. Work that is still very relevant today!

4)Rum.
Really, I think this one speaks for itself.

5)Pirates always know where the treasure is buried.
Masters of finding hidden jewels, a pirate can delve deep into the blackest heart of the matter and find the pearls. Be that in the scary basement at Aunt Millie’s, or within the inner sanctum of her own psyche, this willingness to explore the hidden places at the edges of reason gives the pirate an unearthly charisma, which she can then wield to her advantage in all sorts of precarious situations.

6)Pirates know how to tie – and untie – a corset.
This is damn useful for all sorts of activities, folks.

7)Pirates always have an abundance of seafood
I don’t know about you, but this one here is a high priority for me. Fresh oysters, lobster, Dungeness crab, prawns! I could go on and on. Any life worth living has an ongoing stream of Fruitti di Mare, as far as I’m concerned. Although I am part mermaid, so I may be biased.

8)Rum.
See #4.

9)The Pirate’s code is a pirate’s bond.
We all know that the code is really more “guidelines” than rules, but therein lies its power. A pirate develops his own moral compass, and while this can be, shall we say, relative, it can also be flexible. And flexible means the ability to make decisions on one’s feet! Decisions that can save lives in the heat of battle. A pirate will risk her own life to save the lives of her fellows more times than not. There is a certain “Robin Hood”  quality about the pirate’s code, a willingness to take from those who have grown fat on the backs of others (The East India Trading Company comes to mind), and to organize democratic societies with the spoils. Each member of a pirate crew is paid in equal shares. Sure, those who take more responsibility or risk may get more shares, but it is more like 7 or 8 more shares, rather than 5,000 more shares. (I’m looking at you, CEOs). Do pirates ever have disagreements about how many shares they ought to get, and disembowel each other? Why, yes. Yes they do. But let us remember! We are not talking about “Pirates That Were”, we are talking about “Pirates That Could Be!” For indeed, we are modern pirates, writing our own adventure! So let’s make it a good one, shall we? We are stronger together!

10)Pirates have an intimate knowledge of the mysteries of the Sea!
Pirates know the sea like a lover. The salt spray in the air, the caress of her winds, when she shall turn tempestuous and when she shall rock you gently to sleep. A pirate is inextricably bound with the soul of the sea, and as such can carry you through her most guarded mysteries and into the great voyage beyond the horizon. The sea is rife with magic, and a pirate knows where to find her secret portals into the realms of the fantastical! So hoist yer sails, and find you a pirate crew forthwith! For the adventure shall sail with or without yeh!

Will we see you in Tortuga? Because there won’t be a better gathering for finding yer pirate crew any time soon!

Check out our full list of upcoming shows on our tour page!

Henry Rollins and the art of Commitment

I want to be like Henry Rollins.

Last weekend I saw Henry perform live at the Independent in SF. He was brilliant. I expected him to be witty but I had no idea he’d be downright hilarious. He spoke of the changing world, the suffering of people, and the need to band together. He described democracy as an “us” thing, and had a refreshingly hopeful outlook for someone known as a badass. In fact, his rant on cynicism particularly resonates with me. He says cynicism is a cop-out. It is much easier to write the world off as hopeless because then we don’t have to do anything. Much more challenging – and courageous –  is to maintain a vision of optimism and strive to bring that to light.

Yes, I want to be like Henry Rollins. Of course there are key differences. I would never refer to my home as the “Utilitarian Hovel”, as he does. I prefer living in the “Budget Luxury Castle.”  After all, there is no reason not to surround yourself with beauty.  I figured out long ago that you don’t have to have riches to have beauty in your life, just imagination. And commitment.

Commitment is a powerful thing. It is easy to let ourselves straddle life from the vantage point of “non-attachment”,  thinking we are so zen to accept whatever life gives us. But that is only part of the coin.  If you don’t seize life and carve out the slice you want, you are going to get the leftovers. Sure, you need to have a certain amount of grace in rolling with the punches, but to never make a commitment because that is somehow lusting too much or grasping for something that may never be, well there is a recipe for an unfulfilled life right there. Not for me.

And I suppose that was what I liked so much about Henry Rollins. He obviously has a brilliant mind. Here is a man whose command of the English language is such that he can describe the air pollution in Beijing as  “Satanic marshmallows of filth”. But he still had to sit down and figure out which of his lightning quick thoughts he was going to organize into a skit. He had to choose how to string them together into a story, and work on the pacing to fit within the time frame of his shows and maximize comedic delivery. There was definite commitment there, a focused application of Will, to create a show out of his strengths. And because he has done that, he gets to travel around entertaining folks. Then he spends the rest of his time traveling the world and seeing the sights, which gives him then more rich material from which to glean new entertaining yet poignant and relevant bits of wisdom for his audience.

I was pleasantly surprised by his hopeful and uplifting outlook.  Here is a guy who is just about as far from the new age happy- place hippie you can possibly imagine. Yet he still feels that we are going to figure out our predicament as a species. He thinks we will rise to the occasion and put our collective brain power together and help each other. There will always be greedy assholes trying to take all for themselves, but ultimately there are far more of us than there are of them, and many of us are smart. The more we can learn to help one another the more we will not just survive but thrive. This was the core message that I took away from his show, and which made all the other funny stuff just gravy. Here was an obviously intelligent person, who really thought things through, who was not just a wishful thinking kind of person, whitewashing everything with “it’s all going to be fine”. Here was someone who thinks the hard thoughts – and still thinks we are going to be okay because we will band together and help each other out.

And that is why I say I want to be like Henry Rollins. I too would like to inspire, with beautiful  music and clever stories that make people laugh and cry and ultimately feel a surge of hope for our world. To be part of that cabal that reminds each other that life is worth participating in fully, that the things we are passionate about are worth committing to.

Thank you Henry, for rekindling my hope the other night. May I take the torch now and light another’s. And may those others also pass the flame and together we will rekindle the world. After all, it’s an “us” thing.