Black Flag

Last night I spent about two hours reading a comment thread on Reddit about why pirates are depicted as wearing eye patches. I don’t know how I ended up there, but I did and it helped me build a path to the topic of this blog post. No one actually has proof that pirates wore eye patches, no one knows why they would have if they did but the most plausible idea is that it helped them see in darkness. Fun fact: if you are in the dark and you know a light is about to be on briefly, you can cover one eye so when the light goes out you can still retain your vision that was adjusted for the darkness. In case you’re ever going to get flash-banged in a dark alleyway sometime soon.

Regardless, that’s the theory about eye patches. One of many, that is. Pirates wore them to shield one of their eyes from the sunlight while they were on deck and when they went below they could flip it up so that their eye that was covered would already be adjusted to the darkness. They also probably flipped their eye patch up when someone needed a good stabbing, but who am I to assume as such?

Since I was a child I’ve always had an affinity for pirates, one that I’ve carried into my adult life. I’ve collected any pirate themed thing that I can get my hands on and I have done quite a bit of research and reading on the idea of pirates from the golden age of piracy. I’ve been so enthralled with the lads that I’ve adopted one of their ideals into my own life.

The classic idea of pirates includes that they were savages at sea who lived only for themselves and would pillage and steal and commit other various crimes across the seas that they treaded. In many cases this was true, but not always. Certain ones, including Edward Teach (Blackbeard) was actually a much different person on land. A book that I had read some time ago explained that he was actually a respectful man on land. He paid bar tabs and protected women who were being targeted by vile men. He did all of these things and yet, at the same time was still Blackbeard.

Whether this is true or not, I won’t say because I don’t know for sure, but I can tell you one thing, it made me think about our every day lives today. So many people walk around and act with two faces. They will be kind to you when you are around and turn to a devil when you’ve gone, slandering your name and the kind of person that you are. They go forth and show different sides of themselves to every person that they meet and create this awful manipulative persona within themselves that is only there to support them.

I’ve seen it happen. In fact I’m watching it happen in my personal life today.

This is not honorable. At least pirates, who were actually just awful humans for the most part, had a code of honor. The kind of two faced attitude that seems so prevalent today doesn’t exist on any code.

Thinking about the number one is no way to live your life.

There are so many other ways to go about it, sure, focus on who you are and what you need but don’t climb corpses of past friendships and associates to get there. Don’t stir up trouble for the sake of stirring up trouble. Everything we do should be to advance us as a whole. I’ve even seen it in myself lately, I’ve been slighting things in a way to make myself come out on top. Not because I need to, but because I have grown prideful.

Pride is no way to live. Still, I can see this in myself, and even though I can’t do anything about it for others, I can start a change by altering my own patterns. I can stand up when I don’t want to. Work when I don’t feel like it, and I can always, always show kindness and humility in my day to day life.

There is no code of ethics more powerful than the one that commands me to love.

If it’s the last thing I’ll do, in a world that is so full of hatred and greed, I’ll be the different one. I’ll make a concerted effort to stand out and I will fight. If that means I’m forced to raise a black flag, I will do it gladly.

Since I was a child, there has been no other life I’ve wanted to live. One filled with plundered evils that I can help abolish. A life filled with love and joy and honor. A life that I can be proud of, because of the things that I’ve accomplished. A life surrounded with the best crew of people I can find. A life spent on the sea, waiting for the next small wave just so that I can conquer it.

The life that I’ve wanted for years.

A pirate’s life.

A happy life, for me.

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