…there a support group for sober pirates?
And, conversely, are pirates ever really alcoholics? There’s no doubt that drinking is a much-associated lifestyle for those who are “pirates”. Hollywood has given us this grand idea that men would work ships while inebriated, and could get away with it. So, drinking has been ingrained into the pirate culture. Being seen sober is, to many, a crime.
Why? What gives pirates the right to be constantly drunk and disorderly? Is it some self-fulfilling prophecy along the lines of “I’m a pirate and it’s expected of me?” Or, is it something more heinous? Are alcoholics infiltrating pirate culture and using it’s guise as a shield to protect their identities and dangerous lifestyle? Case in point: I once had the “honor” to serve a fellow pirate while I worked at an event bar. He was piratically dressed to the nines and had said, several times, that he was the designated driver. I was proud. Yay! A pirate who was responsible. He even had a can of Coca-Cola in his hand. But, about half-an-hour later, he comes up to me and asks me to pour the rum directly into the can of soda. WHAT? Are you kidding me? Not only does he ask me this, but I come to find out that the can of soda never had soda in it, but had been filled with hard liquor all night long. The other bartenders had been asked to do the same thing. He asked each of us only once to avoid detection, and was also toting a flask that he asked us to refill as well. It was an open bar, so we couldn’t say no. Give him the liquor in a cup, and watch him pour it directly into the can. What a sleaze! If you need to hide the fact that you’re drinking, you’re probably not doing yourself any favors by dressing out pirate. That whole situation got me thinking:
Are we pirates who get drunk? Or drunks who play pirate?
I am often embarrassed for those dressed out when they stumble, curse, swerve and fall after a few too many drinks. I can have fun, and drink, but will never cross the line. I carry explosives on me. My gun, sword and knives can kill if I lose self-control. Is that all that stands between me and drunken, disorderly conduct? Or is it something more? Do I simply not have the desire to drink as much as the next pirate or is that next pirate actually an AA member who’s fallen from the wagon for a spell?
My issue: why has “pirate” become synonymous with “alcoholic”?
Have we brought this image onto ourselves as a whole or have the antics of a few just spiraled out of control? I would hope that the majority of pirates are decent folk who just like dressing up and entertaining people. Hard-working men and women who relax on the weekends by slipping on their outfits and becoming another self. Nothing says they have to be constantly sober, or that sobriety is required, but I consider the outfit a uniform. I am in uniform. I am a representation of something bigger than myself. So, I must act in a way that positively reflects the uniform which I have chosen to put on.
Nothing says the uniform I’ve put on isn’t a heck of a lot of fun! I can drink while talking with tourists, drink while singing, drink while relaxing… so there are plenty of opportunities to throw a few back. But not going overboard is a personal choice. I can be standing perfectly tall, straight and without swaying, and someone will inevitably ask if there’s grog in my cup. Firstly, no. Secondly, grog would not be my drink of choice. Tequila. Or sangria. Or perhaps Chathum Artillery Punch. Either way, the question just solidifies my issue. Why must I always have an adult drink in my hand for people to take me seriously as a pirate? Can’t I be a professional pirate without being drunk!?
I carry a .62 caliber flintlock, for heaven’s sake! Isn’t that enough for you people?