George the Author

George was a pirate, but he wasn’t a very good pirate.
He know a lot of good pirates, though.
So, he talked to them, wrote a book, and claimed to be the utmost authority on pirates.
Except that his book was a complete fabrication.
Well, okay, the dates and events were real.
But George substituted his own name for each of the heroic pirates involved.
With each edition, George grew more bold, daring, wealthy, and famous.
Thankfully, nobody bought George’s book.
He’d appear at bookstores for signings, but nobody showed up.
Eventually, George gave up writing, and took up bowling.

George Turkel

George was a pirate, but he wasn’t a very good pirate.
Instead of raiding and pillaging, he would sit back and observe his shipmates.
Sometimes, he took out a tape deck and interviewed them about their life.
Or he’d interview the villagers that they’d just attacked and looted.
Sometimes, he’d talk to slaves. Or plantation owners.
Progressive and left-wing radio stations would play his interviews.
His books weren’t best-sellers, but they were popular among the disenfranchised and the marginal.
A champion of the common man, they called him.
Or was that Studs Terkel?
I get the two of them confused.

George the Addict

George was a pirate, but he wasn’t a very good pirate.
He did an awful lot of drugs.
This affected his balance, his judgment, and fine-motor skills.
Instead of helping with battles and plundering, he spent a lot of time sitting in his bunk and giggling.
Or he’d walk up to someone and say “Did you know that God spelled backwards is dog?”
And then he’d sit down and giggle some more.
The captain sent George to rehab a few times, but George would go back on the drugs again.
At least he knew where to score the best deals.

George the Greeting Card Writer

George was a pirate, but he wasn’t a very good pirate.
He wrote himself encouraging Post-It Notes, such as:
He stood at the mirror, practicing his menacing leers, and telling himself that he was a good pirate.
This didn’t change anything.
But George did get a side job of writing pirate greeting cards.
With every amputation and newly-installed peg leg, his shipmates also got one of his renowned Get Well Soon cards.
How nice of him.

George’s Website

George was a pirate, but he wasn’t a very good pirate.
Not that you could tell that from his website:
It had a lot of animated GIFs and flashing text. Very 1996, if you ask me.
He wanted, but a domain squatter had snatched it up before he could buy it.
The Twitter account was gone, too. And the best he could get on Facebook was georgethepirate47.
Not that George had much use for social media.
He was out at sea a lot, and satellite Internet can be very expensive.
And pirate taverns rarely double as Internet cafes.


George was a pirate, but he wasn’t a very good pirate.
Instead of swabbing the deck, he resurfaced it and painted it to create a regulation shuffleboard court.
“That’s very impressive,” said the captain. “Care to play a game?”
Unfortunately, George hadn’t thought to buy a set of pucks or cues.
“Perhaps we can make do with plates and cutlasses and other objects?” he said.
After several matches, their cutlasses they used as cues and the metal plates they used as pucks had scratched up the deck considerably.
“That’s too bad,” said the captain. “How about you swab it now?”

George the Pirate Radio King

George was a pirate, but he wasn’t a very good pirate.
His crew looted a town with a low-power radio station, and George rigged up the equipment to start his own pirate radio station.
He broadcasted music that other stations wouldn’t play.
Sea shanties, hornpipes, and other pirate tunes.
George became the most beloved radio personality among pirates across the world.
When the authorities tried to shut him down, the captain would raise anchor and sail the ship back to international waters.
One night, lightning struck the antenna and fried the broadcasting equipment.
George shrugged, and started a Spotify station.

George the Active Listener

George was a pirate, but he wasn’t a very good pirate.
He was a good active listener, though.
Active listening is different from passive listening, because you’re not just saying “Uh huh” and nodding your head.
You’re repeating back key phrases and showing an interest in what they’re saying, prompting for more.
The other pirates would tell George their problems, and he’d listen, and keep the conversation moving forward.
Pretty soon, George learned a lot about his fellow shipmates and their lives.
He came to realize that they were all scallawags, brigands, and thieves.
You know, because they were pirates.

Into a story

Recently, I went to Disneyland, and I stayed at a hotel that allowed early access to the park.
It was a Thursday morning, and the crowds hadn’t built up just yet.
I went all the way back to New Orleans Square, and instead of the usual forty-minute serpentine lines for Pirates of the Caribbean, I practically walked all the way up to the gate and boarded the boat.
Floating by the fishing shack, banjo playing, mist and fireflies.
The story washes over me, all around me.
I raise my arms and laugh as the boat plunges down into the past.

Davy Jones

Davy Jones was the lead vocalist for the band The Monkees.
When people said that his locker is at the bottom of the sea, he’d shrug and smile and say:
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Maybe it belong to David Bowie? After all, his name was David Jones before he changed it to David Bowie.
You know, because he didn’t want to be confused with Davy Jones.
He’d also shrug and smile and say “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I guess neither wanted to have to explain why there were so many dead sailors in it.