"Piracy is not a Crime"
Or, Context is Everything


No fear. It's an in-joke going back about 5 years. But you deserve an explanation.

Teknobi and I were working in a mountain camp with about thirty people, who --- for one reason or another --- found it necessary to work for minimum wage in the middle of the Rocky Mountains for 3 months. One of the truly amazing things about being isolated with that few people is that assumptions about identity break down, and very quickly you are forced to realize that nearly all people are very good at heart.

At least, when they’re in the wilderness. Anyhow.

To entertain myself I began leaving pirate maps and treasures for the children of my labor crew boss. But as the summer progressed and the maps became increasingly more elaborate, it became clear that the kids wanted to know who the Pirate King was. So come the end of the summer we had a pirate party to unmask the Pirate King.

Teknobi, Heather (not yet my wife), and some others filled the upstairs lab with skulls, portholes, nets and a host of other pirate/nautical themed decorations. We had this massive, kid-friendly party, culminating in the children locking the Pirate King (Harley) in manacles, and marching him off a gangplank into a creek, where he floated downstream and out of sight.

One of our fellow workers was a great kid we called "S.A.," (short for "Skinny Aaron," not the racial slur). SA made a shirt for the party playing off Harley’s two loves: skateboarding and pirates (the “arrrrrrr” type, not the download type).

Riffing off of the Skateboarding is Not a Crime slogan (debatable, but that’s another conversation), SA made a t-shirt with markers that read:

Piracy is Not a Crime.

The juxtaposition of the two thought streams, along with the image of Blackbeard wearing that shirt as he boarded sinking galleons, burned the slogan into our collective memory. SA, already indeared, was canonized.

So there’s the context. Who is "they?" Jonathan and I. :)


At 10:41 AM, Blogger ec said...

Ah. Good story. :)

At 1:31 PM, Blogger SnakeOil Sage said...

One-Eyed Harley strikes again!

At 6:17 AM, Blogger ec said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6:20 AM, Blogger ec said...

I can imagine how much your coworkers' kids appreciated this. :) When my boys were very small, we spent a couple of summer vacations at a cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. There's a lot of pirate lore in the area, which inspired one of the noontime activities--a treasure hunt, with maps, inside the house. (I religiously kept the kids out of the sun from shortly before noon to a couple hours after.) This was such a hit that we had a neighborhood pirate treasure hunt for a birthday party. Even Easter baskets were found by following the treasure maps and clues hidden in a series of plastic eggs. (This event was separate from the egg hunt.) When Andrew was about nine, a treasure hunt wasn't feasible because he had a houseful of guests. He was stunned to wake up and find his Easter basket at the foot of his bed. I felt like such a slacker...

At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you mean can(n)onized? HA!


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