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College: A pirate’s life for me

Joey Falco | Wednesday, November 12, 2003

For almost 120 years, we had been the most feared and well-respected men in the world. Thanks to our traditionally brilliant leaders, no one could match us in what we did, and that showed in our astonishing 74.6 percent success rate. Our legendary achievements had even attracted an almost religious following, unsurpassed by any of our rivals, who always awaited our results with rowdy anticipation. Without a doubt, we – the men of the Golden Grogger – were the greatest pirates to ever sail the seven seas.

Unfortunately that all came crumbling down when a riotous mutiny cast our former Captain overboard, leaving him victim to the harsh, green sea awaiting below our ship. In his absence, we proudly passed the eye-patch on to our new leader, Captain Crustache and his ignorant first mate Blacktooth Bill. At first, the crew rejoiced for our new Captain, and under the influence of several barrels of rum, we praised him as one of the greatest leaders to ever command this ruthless band of scallywags. However, as time passed, the crew began to realize that our Captain was nothing more than a scurvy dog here to steal our booty and damage our good name, and the evidence against him spoke for itself.

The real trouble started after another ship, the Dirty Eagle, struck our mast with a cannonball just before escaping with the last of our plunder a little over a year ago, and after that, things continued to spiral downward like a sea dog cast overboard after drinking too much grog. We not only began losing to much weaker ships; we actually started being humiliated by them. In addition, the crew started to lose focus and looked more like a bunch of landlubbers trying to swab the poop deck with their arses than real buccaneers. It was not uncommon to find more than one pirate trying to shoot the same cannon at the same time, often backfiring and sending the ship in reverse. Even worse, Blacktooth Bill was constantly sending our top sailors below deck and replacing them with some of the most incompetent crewmen on the ship, always bringing certain disaster to the Golden Grogger.

To make matters worse, an old sea dog who had long since worn out his welcome, known to us as Shark Bait (since that’s about all he was good for), was constantly scuttling about the ship encouraging support for our struggling Captain. Some nights, after cozying up with the rum barrels, Shark Bait could often be heard riling up the crew with shouts of “Raise the sails,” or “Feel the plunder!” We tried making him walk the plank, but the old fool just kept on yelling. He even tried to replace our legendary skull and cross bones with a Spirit Sail, but it did not matter. We continued to be out-plundered, out-Captained and just plain out-pirated by most other ships, with the possible exception of her Majesty’s Royal Navy, to whom no self-respecting pirate ship could ever lose.

Finally, a secret coalition of us, loyal only to the true spirit of the Golden Grogger, decided the time had come to lead a pirate rebellion against Captain Crustache, Blacktooth Bill and Shark Bait. We first attempted to speak to our expressionless leader about our concerns, but he merely responded, without even raising his eye patch, “Arrg, mateys. Everything is going according to plan; We just have to keep on pumping and get our ship righted and pointed in the right direction.”

After that fruitless talk, we moved along to Blacktooth Bill, but since he had already gone ashore for a night of whoring, we instead brought our worries to Shark Bait.

“Rebellion against Crustache? Never!” he shouted. “He’s the Captain of the ship that sails the sea of green! He’s the commander-in-chief of the Grogger brigade.”

But before he could finish his next ridiculous description, we lifted up the old salty dog and tossed him into his beloved sea of green, where he was instantly torn apart by hammerhead sharks, still screaming, “But all of our pirates are going to graduate!”

With Shark Bait finally out of the way, we tore down his Spirit Sail and used it to tie up the Captain and his First Mate. After three hours of flogging them with a cat o’nine tails, we marooned them back where they came from, the miserable Cardinal Island, and we were finally free to roam the seven seas like the legendary swashbucklers of old.

And just when we began to worry about who would emerge as the next Captain of our great ship, winter arrived, and as usual, brought with it the seasonal return of the brilliant Captain von Hottub. At last, some personality stood at our helm, and with his passion for pirating, the shiver finally returned to the timbers of the mighty Golden Grogger. Arrrrgg.

Joey Falco is a freshman marketing major. His column appears every other Wednesday. He can be contacted at jfalco@nd.edu.The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.