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A SHIP WITH NOWHERE TO GO
…another Robzerrvation, by Robb Zerr
The world of pirating is in irons these days. A global pandemic has a way of doing that. e world's third oldest profession is in the grips of a historic lockdown on venues, events, parades, festivals, and even our favorite home away from home – taverns and bars.
Pirating takes on many forms across the country and around the world. For some, it's a casual hobby, something you enjoy on a summer weekend at a faire. For others, it's a way of bringing in some coin to keep a roof over your head and to buy some grog and belly timber. For still others, it's a lifestyle.
As an entertainer and musician, the pandemic tides put me in irons in March as the Governor issued a stay-at-home order for Green Turtle Cove, Neverland County, my pirate stronghold here in Washington State. I was beached. Against my will no less, by an invisible force I could not see or fight, save locking myself in my quarters, and waiting for the storm to pass.
The loss of performance gigs was difficult, but I am still a pirate through and through. It is in my blood. I remember the day I became a pirate like it was yesterday, even though it happened in 1982. I was
tending bar in the party room at the Tropics Hotel in Sea?le. ?e rest of the Seafair Pirate crew had headed to their rooms, and I was on a solo watch drinking what turned out to be a vodka and Coke. It
seems somewhere in the night I had lost track of which bo le of clear liquor was the rum.
I have courted favor from heads of state, partied with beauty pageant queens, and fell asleep in the Caribbean, grateful that when I awoke, the tide was coming in and I still had my bo?le of Sangster's Old Jamaican Coconut Rum.
As I stood there, a light began to show brightly in the window. “Who turned their high beams on again?” I thought to myself. It was the sun. I had spent 36 waking hours as a pirate, and I no longer cared if I had a job, a wife, family, a home. Nothing else ma ered to me. I just wanted to be a pirate.
Fast forward 38 years and I am still sailing that same course. Wives have come and gone like the tide. Children, the ones that I know of, are all grown. I have traveled to nearly every corner of the Western Hemisphere as a pirate, from the Bay Islands off Honduras to the streets of Port Royal.
I have courted favor from heads of state, partied with beauty pageant queens, and fell asleep in the Caribbean, grateful that when I awoke, the tide was coming in and I still had my bo le of Sangster's Old Jamaican Coconut Rum.
I've been put on trial, thrown out of homes I've owned with just the clothes on my back, ran off with a now lost love to the Polynesian Islands, and been chased from hotel rooms by raging, half-blind boyfriends.
I see these days that some of my mates have been released back into the wild, able to resume their piratical ways, at least until a second or third wave rolls in. Me? I am still waiting for the storm to pass. So what advice do I have as we weather this storm?
Stay the course. Keep your weather eye on the horizon and keep yourself shipshape. As my wife, Krimson Kat, likes to say, “ is is just one season.” Like pages and chapters in a book, there will be other voyages and more adventures to be had.
You don't even have to wait for the all-clear to come. Make up adventures of your own. Grab your gear and go for your daily walk around the neighborhood in your finest waistcoat and tricorn. Make it your own li le Mardi Gras parade by bringing along some trinkets to toss to any kids you see playing in their yards.
If you're technically inclined, go on account via Zoom. Invite your favorite mates and sail off to adventures untold on a virtual ship. Email cryptic clues to each member of the crew and lead them in finding the treasure. Share rum drink recipes and talk shop. If you're an entertainer, go on Facebook and host an impromptu concert. I find these to be the most fun a er a few glasses of wine – for you, not your audience.
If you're just beginning your adventure in the sweet trade, thank your lucky stars that you still have so many years ahead of you. e passage of a tide or two won't make much difference in the grand scheme of it all.
This is also a good time to turn your own quarters into the pirate lair of your dreams. It's amazing what a li le bamboo, some drop cloths from a home improvement store, and blocks of foam will do to liven up your abode. We've taken such a liking to the pirate bar we made out of some barrels, crates, and flotsam and jetsam, that we may have trouble leaving port once the storm warning has been li ed. As the famed pirate Dorothy Gale once said, “ ere's no place like home.”
If you're just beginning your adventure in the sweet trade, thank your lucky stars that you still have so many years ahead of you. e passage of a tide or two won't make much difference in the grand scheme of it all. If you're an old salt like me, well, we've had our adventures, and our be er days are now behind…
Wait? What am I saying?
My old shipmate, Waterrat, is now 95. He was a Seafair Pirate captain in 1971 and is still pirating. If he were to hear this bellyaching, he would almost certainly cut my rations
and make me clean the scuppers - again. To him, I am still wet behind the ears, a couple of notches above a landlubber.
As we sail through this storm together, laugh long, drink hard, and leave no evidence behind, mates. Life is short enough without le ing a li le rough weather get to you. Eventually, the ol' doc will emerge from below decks with a cure for this pox. I just hope that this time it doesn't require a rusty syringe full of mercury.
Safely at anchor in Neverland County, waiting for favorable tides,