Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"Last year, one caught fire!"

I am told there are more pirate festivals in New York State in the summer than anywhere else on earth. Actually, I am not really told that, I came to that conclusion myself by reading other people's Facebook statuses. Never let it be said that Facebook isn't a great research tool. Just today I got advice on my taxes. It's remarkable. Anyway, considering how many of these festivals there are, it was surprising to me that I'd never been to one before. For I am the original pirate enthusiast. I liked pirates before Johnny Depp ever thought to wonder how he'd look in eyeliner. I did a whole paper on pirates in ninth grade. I was writing pirates into my stories at the age of twelve. I am David Cordingly's biggest fan. Yes, David Cordingly -- nobody knows who that is and that's why I am the original pirate enthusiast. I think the only person who beat me to this was that guy who used to work in Borders. He had shoulder-length straggly hair, leggings, a floofy white shirt, a bandana tied around his head, and possibly a cummerbund if I remember correctly. Every time I saw him, he was dressed like that. If he wasn't trying to be a pirate, then I have no explanation for his fashion sense.

The point is I've been feeling a little blasé about pirates. Arr, matey, parrots, grapeshot, Davy Jones, blah blah blah blah. Avast already with the pirates. I'd be more interested if a kid showed up on Halloween wearing fatigues and carrying a machine gun and instead of "Trick or treat, smell my feet," said "This oil tanker is now going to Somalia." I would give that child a lot of candy. First of all because with kids these days you never know if their guns are real, but secondly because that child would be demonstrating a much deeper understanding of piracy in relation to the current state of affairs geopolitically speaking of course than some jerk in a floppy hat.

And yet. When the question of a pirate festival came up, my forgotten love for floppy hats surged in my heart and I immediately braided my beard, lit it on fire, and hopped in the car with the crew of the Windy-something. I forget what. I was too dazzled by their costumes to listen properly.

These guys are all over the internet so I'm not bothering to protect their identities with pigeons. Besides, parrots would be most appropriate, and I don't have any.

The highlight of this particular pirate festival was to be a SEA BATTLE. On the SEA. Or the best approximation, a small lake. And with SHIPS. Or the best approximation, one moderately convincing miniaturized ship with sails and a bowsprit and everything, and one that looked more like a tug boat. It being a sort of a local effort, we were somewhat concerned as to what the "ships" were going to look like, whether it was going to be just silly, when we were told that one caught fire last year. That was all we needed. We were in.

The ships sailed up at dusk, one on each side of the lake, shooting some pretty lame fireworks at the shore as if attacking. It looked like it might turn out to be silly after all. But then they met, close up to the beach, and started bombarding each other with fireworks. It was a spectacle. It was about the cutest pirate battle any of us could possibly imagine.

My camera does not take good night shots, but I did my best for you. If you squint and turn your computer upside-down, you can kind of tell what's going on.

There were a lot of fireworks, horizontal and vertical, one minor on-board explosion, a couple of brief fires, and much hollering and clamoring by small children who could not contain themselves. I can't blame them. Pirates are totally awesome.


Ivan said...

excuses, excuses-- now all I want to do is buy you a parrot for your birthday...

Simon said...

don't you dare!

Simon said...

unless you teach it to say princess bride quotes first