So here I am, thinking it’s too quiet on the news front in terms of anything recently regarding modern pirates, not seeing anything dramatically grabbing the headlines half a world away.
Not realizing a story of interest not more than a mile off…
I present to you, the Occu-Pirates, a boat crew with connections to the Occupy Wall Street movement who are trying to remind people about OWS with protests on the Hudson, sailing one of the drum circles that used to fill the streets with sounds downtown along the river to “drum up” support (no pun intended; really) for the cause. This prompted the NYC Parks Department, operators of the West 79th Street Boat Basin, to threaten to revoke his mooring privileges if he did not cut that out.
Whatever you think of the OWS cause, or about class warfare in general, you do have to admit: If ever there was a tradition that needed to be kept alive in New York, it’s that of trouble at the wharves caused by pirates. This city would not be the same without Thomas Tew spending pirate booty in the taverns, making enough return on investments made in him by the Van Cortland family to put their names north of the city. We’d be a much poorer city in terms of our culture had Sadie the Goat not left the Fourth Ward to plunder the Hudson.
So if in the name of haves this pirate is forced to put to sea and leave for good, are we really any better off? If we lose a proud pirate tradition for the sake of the troubled sleep of the moneyed, then maybe it’s time to yell to the one-percenters, “Up against the Wall Street, motherfu-“
We interrupt your parlor wall drama for some vital messages:
Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man? Me?
Do you know the legend of Hercules and Antaeus, the giant wrestler, whose strength was incredible so long as he stood firmly on the earth. But when he was held, rootless, in mid-air, by Hercules, he perished easily. If there isn’t something in that legend for us today, in this city, in our time, then I am completely insane.
Everyone must leave something in the room or left behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.
We know all the damn silly things we’ve done for a thousand years, and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, some day we’ll stop making the goddam funeral pyres and jumping into the middle of them. We pick up a few more people that remember, every generation.
The preceeding was a message from the late Ray Bradbury, author of the novel Fahrenheit 451. We now return you to your parlor wall drama, already in regress…