Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Pirate Life For Me

Sloop of War
This is the USS Constellation in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. It is a sloop of war (corvette) class warship. The sloop of war is one of my favorite classes of ship. From the 1700's all the way into WWII, the sloop of war class was used by the British and US and others. It was a design that was ahead of it's time. It was also one of the two preferred classes of ships for pirates.

Pirates liked them because they were small, fast, nimble and heavily armed. It could handle itself in combat and flee fast into shallow coastal waters that larger warships could not go giving them time to hide in coves. Pirates took excellent care of their ships and kept the hulls as clean as possible to keep them fast. 

I have been fascinated by pirates since I was a child. Most pirates usually started off as conscripted sailors by their governments. To be a sailor was usually a death sentence and the governments did not provide health care, disability or a fair wage. They had a lot in common with slaves. So much so that when they took a slave ship, one of the first things they would do is offer the slaves a job with equal pay. 

When a conscripted sailor died, he was listed on the ships's roster with a skull and crossbones. When they committed mutiny, it was a cry of freedom from oppression, abuse and death. They believed they were worth more and deserved the dignity of fairness and good treatment. Pirates were paid equally and if they were injured and unable to work, they were given not only compassion, but disability compensation so they could afford a life without work. Everyone was an equal and they had a voice and dignity. 

When they took to mutiny and were free from oppression, they would hoist a flag of the skull and crossbones. It was a statement that said, "We are dead to you, your rules, your abuse and your lies that we are not worthy. Even if you kill us, you cannot take that away from us." 

In life, many of us are told we are worthless. In many ways we are abused, neglected and not treated fairly. Fighting for your freedom is hard and it is sometimes risky and dangerous. When you win your freedom there is an opportunity to have a merry life and a good life. Regardless of how long that life is, it can be passionate and wondrous and good. You will surround yourself with others who feel the same way you do. Should you win your freedom, if you can, make your life like a swoop. 

Stay nimble. Stay fast. Stay strong. Take care of yourself. If you have to, there is no shame in finding a safe space where the bastards who hurt you cannot get to you. That is not cowardice. Like your life, it is choosing to go to places they can never go with people they can never understand and live a life that they will never see the value in. The pirate's life has value. It is a life of dignity, equality, fairness and decency. Sometimes you have to be a rogue to be civilized in an uncivilized and unjust world. 

I do not know about you, but it is the pirate's life for me.

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