So, last week was International Talk Like a Pirate Day. If you didn’t know that – what rock have you been hiding under?? 🙂 For those who celebrate this day there is much silliness and celebration of all things piratey. And so I watched the brilliant “The Pirates in an adventure with Scientists”.
For me, this film sums up why a bunch of thieving, murderous, not very attractive louts are just so popular – why it is that so many kids (and us grown up kids) are so attracted to them. And that’s the utter joy they take in life. They revel in it. It’s just refreshing to see a whole group of people getting every last morsel out of life, living it to its fulness – sucking out the marrow as Thoreau would say. Everything they do, they look on it as an adventure. I love that these particular Pirates have Ham night and that is their favourite thing about being a pirate. And when they do Ham night, it’s a performance, a highlight, something that they all partake in and yes, they really do enjoy it.
As well as the simple joy of life, the other attraction of being a pirate – in this film more than most – is that it’s not something you do alone. It is a community, the ship is your family. Even the ship’s parrot (who isn’t a parrot at all) is a member of your family. And everyone in the family is a little bit odd, out of place and more than a little bit broken. We have a peg leg, an albino and a suspiciously curvacious pirate (yes, it’s a woman in disguise) and they all love life and just as importantly to them, love just being around each other. They aren’t blood relations, but they are a close family; a community bound by common purpose, common affection and common attitude. It’s a community of support, they share in the Captain’s shames and triumphs equally; they show accountability and responsibility for one another – it’s a family bond I envy (yes I know they are Plasticine! but I’m a sap at heart).
It’s only when the Captain’s actions put money and success before community that the family momentarily turn their backs on him (he sells Polly! – the cad!). His previous madcap schemes have been easily forgiven or overlooked by the crew, but Polly was family – “You can’t just say Arrr and make everything alright”. And so as the Captain wanders the streets of London alone, deprived of community he finally understand what it is to be a Pirate – it’s being part of a family who just loves being together and enjoying life together. So of course he sets out to reclaim Polly from Queen Victoria (yes, it’s really as mad as it sounds, but by heck it’s fun!) and despite his mistakes, the family forgives and joins him. And by the end they have each saved each other – “This is our most heart warming adventure ever!”
And I look at these Pirates and think, Oh yes, I’d love to be around people like this, people who suck the marrow out of life, who wring every last drop of life out of this life. But you know what, I have a responsibility to be one of those people too. To help others see the joy in even Ham night, to be part of a community that enjoys each other, that shares each step of Tragedy and Triumph and who looks beyond the quirks and oddities and sees my sisters, my brothers – my dearest friends, and to be part of a community that forgives, and modelling that forgiveness and the Grace of acceptance. I’m actually blessed enough to have people like this in my life. I hope I can be the same to them.
Footnote: I recently “celebrated” a milestone birthday and had been nagged for a long time to “do” something. It took me a long time to decide because I don’t particularly care what I do for fun, as long as I’m doing it with those Friends I deeply care about – and do it in a way as to suck the marrow out of life. Thankfully, we had a great day! But you know what, I’d even turn to Piracy if it meant simply hanging with those I count as family – and we’d have fun. Of course we wouldn’t be real pirates…..would we? 🙂
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close,…” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods