Saturday, April 09, 2005

If Piracy Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right

There are some people who believe me to be the scourge of open waters, the enemy of civilized races, hell bent on nothing but plunder, profit, and perniciousness. They find me vile, unholy, of a base and wanton nature.

To them, I say: if piracy is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Sure, I fly the banner of King Death as I muddy the high seas with blood in search of treasure. So what? Some people are content being dermatologists or soccer moms. Not me. Give me a crew of violent, illiterate scum and three masts to sail them with and I’m happy as a clam. Or, as it were, a pitiless buccaneer.

Still, there are certain bluenoses out there who find the raping of women, children, and livestock objectionable. Well, I’m sorry, Polly Puritanical, but I happen to disagree. I have a penchant for piracy, and in this topsy-turvy world, it’s important to find what you’re good at and make that your passion. Some people play fantasy baseball. Others knit or read to the blind. I raid the vessels of mighty nations in the hopes of pillaging their precious cargo and selling their crews into slavery. That’s me. That’s what I do.

You know, I’m not sitting on my ass all day getting high and watching the Cartoon Network. What a waste! At least I’m doing something with my life. I’m sorry if that “something”—the brutal ransacking of your sovereign’s gold and jewels—happens to offend you. Maybe if he and his armies hadn’t murdered, ravaged, and despoiled the natives of the New World, you wouldn’t have to live in constant fear for your safety as you navigate the horse latitudes. Think about that.

Do you know how much skill it takes to make a treasure map? Or how difficult it is to invent contraptions that will foil would-be looters’ attempts to abscond with said treasure? Ever fire a blunderbuss? You’ve got to be pretty sharp to do all that. Pretty sharp.

Giovanni da Verrazzano? A pirate. And they named a bridge in New York after him. Case closed.

Throw any epithet you like at me: savage corsair, ignoble shellback, odious picaroon. I’ll keep on sailing the Seven Seas, flouting such jibes. You sit in your cozy breakfast nook with your Boston Globe crossword puzzle and your delicious Berry Burst Cheerios—no parrot, no eye patch, no wooden leg or hook for a hand to speak of—and you tell me if you’re so mightily superior because you don’t take an almost religious pleasure in slaughtering the innocent for your personal gain.

I didn’t think so.


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