Monday, July 17, 2006

Let me tell you a sea story...

Approximately 500 years ago, I sailed in the Merchant Marine. I was a deckhand on LNG tankers that sailed between Japan and Indonesia.

One of my duties while sailing through the Malacca Straits was to stand “pirate watch”. Now, this might sound amusing to those who have wrapped their entire pirate experience in the mincing steps of Johnny Depp or the flat out delicious hoar d oeuvre that is Orlando Bloom. Truth be told, the Malacca Straits is one of the most treacherous bodies of water in the world. Pirates have a tendency to board your ship and rob you blind, or perhaps I should say, dead.

Now, what does one do on pirate watch? Well, one stands on the fantail of the ship with a high pressure fire hose loaded and ready to be turned on as soon as you see the grappling hooks fly over the guard rail. God! Where you absent on that day of school or what??

Standing in one spot with a loaded hose for four hours in the dead of the Singaporean night after being told by the first mate that if you let these people on the ship, the first throat cut will be your own, it gives one pause to imagine what kind of people would do this? What, in other words, is the modern pirate like?

I’m going to bet that they don’t use nearly as much make up as Captain Jack Sparrow. And perhaps they’re just a shade on the not so funny side…

These were my thoughts as I held the plush pirate toy from the McDonalds happy meal.

It wasn’t very realistic.

It didn’t even come with real life throat slitting action.

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