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News arrow Opinion arrow Columns arrow At the Helm: Blimey! It’s a pirate festival!

At the Helm: Blimey! It’s a pirate festival! Print E-mail
Written by Scott Graves, Pilot staff writer   
July 22, 2011 10:01 pm

 

Arrrrh me lads and lassess! I like pirates. Not the baseball team, but the 17th century seagoing felons who sailed the seven seas in search of treasure, women and rum, and who, more often than not, ended their lives swinging from the end of a rope.

If you like pirates or, better yet, want to pretend to be one, why not head down to the Port of Brookings Harbor, where the first Pirates of the Pacific Festival continues today and Sunday. 

Come on! It’s the perfect location for such a festival and the weather is expected to be perfect for sword fighting, dancing and live music. So don that pirate hat and eye-patch stashed in your closet and help launch what could be Brookings next big annual celebration.

When I was but a lad and first heard the story of Peter Pan, I rooted for Captain Hook. A hook for a hand? Awesome! Darn that crocodile! The Lost Boys? Forget it. I wanted to be a member of Hook’s motley crew.  

My love affair with all things pirate was cemented with my first ride as a boy on Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean. I’ve been humming “Yo ho! Yo ho! A pirate’s life for me” ever since. And I’ve been wearing a pirate costume for more Halloweens than I can remember.

Each year, upon getting a new calendar, one of the first things I do is mark the date of International Talk Like A Pirate Day. The annual event, created by two Oregon buccaneers years ago, gives people like me the opportunity to go around saying “Arrrrrh!” all day until everyone in the office wants to knock me over with a cannonball.

I recall one year on International Talk Like A Pirate Day when my first act of piracy was to replace the Wild Rivers Coast flag flying outside the Pilot office with the Jolly Roger (skull and crossbones). I wasn’t alone. Two other members of the news staff  dressed as pirates and joined my pirate-centric crew, helping me to fill the office with cries of “Arrrrh!” and “Ahoy!”

Why did we do such things?

Because it’s fun! 

It’s a whimsical alternative to all the serious work we have to do all day, every day. That, and because pirates are cool!

Who wouldn’t want to roam the seas, gathering up treasure and putting a cutlass or cannonball into the gut of every scurvy dog that crosses your path. Then, there’s all that rum. We can’t forget the rum. And the Jimmy Buffet songs! (Never mind the fleas, poor sleeping accommodations and rotten food.)

Being a pirate is so cool that actor Johnny Depp couldn’t wait to play Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s  “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. Rumor has it Depp modeled his character after real-life rock and roll pirate Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. And who could forget that spacefaring scoundrel Han Solo of George Lucas’ “Star Wars” movies. He was nothing but a space pirate!

It’s not just a guy thing, either. Plenty of women dress up as pirates and are willing to keelhaul landlubbers for a few pieces of eight. Thanks, me hearties!

As H.L. Mencken once put it: “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

That saying is just as true today as it was back then. So hoist the Jolly Roger, me lads and lasses. Ye be better acting your shoe size and not your age, least ye find yourself walking the plank!

Arrrrh!

 

 

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