As a loyal member of His Most Imperial Majesty's Royal Navy, I, of course, abhor pirates, which is why I don't play pirates on Facebook. I'd rather wear a shiny blue uniform than a gold earring and parrot. Last Saturday Jeff took me to Nauticus, a huge maritime museum in Norfolk Virginia, where the USS Wisconsin is parked, to see the Real Pirates! exhibit. It was cold and windy and miserable, which are three of the best reasons I can think of for traipsing around a museum exhibit.
The Real Pirates! exhibit is hosted by the National Geographic Society. It is comprised solely of artifacts lifted from the Whydda (say it like a Southerner saying "widow" --widda) which went down in 1717. Originally built to be a slave ship, the Whydda was captured by Sam Bellamy of New England, an out of work sailor who turned pirate so he could earn enough money to marry his sweetheart. Unfortunately the ship sank on his way back to Cape Cod. I'll let you read about the rest of it on the website. Nauticus has actually hired some real pirates, the Moody Crewe, to come and set up their gear every other Saturday and explain things to guests, letting them touch original tools and guns. I was hard pressed not to point out the inaccuracies of their clothes (one guy was, I swear, wearing his Civil War shirt), but they did make me snigger.
What made me laugh the most though was Jeff's careful examination of a model of the ship: "Why does it have a British flag on it along with a Jolly Roger?" I replied, merrily, "Oh, to confuse the enemy. 'Hum, hum, hum, just a British ship, here we are, being British, just sailing---OH NOES, WE'RE REALLY PIRATES HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, GIVE US YOUR BOOTY.'"
I can see why people like pirates, just as long as you remember that pirates are not Johnny Depp in eyeliner. Pirates are apparently a very democratic crew, but they like to kill and pillage and drink far more than is good for anyone's health.
I'm in a better mood today...I came home to two emails about the Billy Lee project, one with an attachment that contained all the sources mentioning Lee. Love historians so much. You get someone who shares your passion, and you can geek out for hours. I also got an email from a person at CW, saying how the play what I wrote for them has a "sparkle we haven't seen in the evening programs before." Ooooh, I'm gonna print that out and put it in my journal. Little bit o' praise goes a long way.