Skip to main content

Whittling Away: A pirate’s life is the life for me

March 15, 2019 11:37 am Updated: March 15, 2019 11:39 am


When I grow up, I want to be a pirate.

I’m not being influenced by recent Disney movies. This is something I’ve given years of consideration to. One must plan for one’s future. Over the many years that separate me from my distant childhood, I’ve considered many career options.

At a very early age, being a fireman had great appeal. I loved the equipment — especially the trucks. Being a sensible child, I abandoned this attraction quickly.

All the firemen I knew were volunteers, making this a highly useful — but not very profitable — profession.

The little girlfriend I had at the time, who had a taste for red licorice whips, made me realize that profit would have to be one of my motives for choosing an occupation.

Next came the urge to hit the range: Just me, my trusty horse and a funny sidekick on the western plains. Shooting bad guys and the occasional band of marauding Indians and having a saloon-dwelling girlfriend who wore a fancy dress had a lot of appeal.

The fact that the horse got more kisses than the fancy lady made a lot of sense to a young lad also. Chewing tobacco and having those cool bowed legs almost lured me into the cowboy way of life, but every time I got on a horse, I fell off and they smelled funny.

I put “cowboy” on the back burner.

There came a very brief period during which I wanted to join the ballet. This ended quickly when I couldn’t find a tutu to fit and was told that toe shoes didn’t come in a size 13.

I finally realized that having all the natural grace of a moose in combat boots would probably mean that no ballet company would be interested in me displaying my talents to the world.

Next came the desire to become a clown and make small children laugh and clap their little hands. I actually did become a clown for a short period and went from place to place painting faces and dressing funny.

As for making the small children laugh, I quickly learned the sad truth: Kids are scared to death by clowns. I’d come near a little one with my funny red nose, bright red afro and big, floppy shoes and the kid would scream and run to his mother.

Another career path ended when I discovered that kids have the same reaction to Santa Claus. Adults love clowns and Santa. Kids are scared stupid by them.

My interest in children led me into teaching elementary school. This career stuck and I spent 38 years in the classroom. It was a wonderful job, but then I retired and again started considering other career options.

I have looked at all the jobs that might have some appeal to me that I might be good at. I’ve decided that a pirate’s life is the life for me.

I’ve always wanted a peg leg, just to see how fast I could spin on it, eye patches are cool and a bandanna would look great on my bald pate. I already have a nice naval cutlass, short pants and long stockings. I even have a pair of shoes with buckles on them leftover from a colonial costume.

I like rum and cannons. I’ve been practicing my naval expressions. I figure I’m ready; I don’t think that the fact that I don’t know how to sail will have a big effect on my ability to find employment.

If you hear of anyone who’s hiring pirates, would you let me know? I know I’d be really good at it, after all, I was a politician for 20 years.

Thought for the week — What has four legs and an arm? A happy grizzly bear!

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach Dick Brooks at