GAAAARRRRR!!!! It would seem as though not even we pirates can make it through these tough economic times. All the people that be buyin' me goods I steal be runnin' outta money. So now I be stuck with a whole heap of stolen goods I can't be seeming to get rid of. So my question to ye be what other job do ye think I be suited for?
Till I write again,
Anonymous the Pirate
Every day on the NPR and the CNN I hear stories of this economic apocalypse. Truly its reach has no equal. Like a slinky-armed kraken it has encircled the globe, bankrupting all but the Gold Men of Sachs. (And how does one bankrupt a golden man? It is impossible!) Several times an hour I overhear Molly muttering at her computer terminal. Cries of, "Oh fucks no," or, "Jesus, another one" echo through our cavernous office. At the lunchtimes, Molly and Rob, Devo and Mr. Leeks exchange tales of what they have seen anew in this city ravaged so hard by economic storms.
Rob swears he saw a naked man last night in a 1976 Monte Carlo being pulled by a team of dogs. The wheels had been removed and replaced with roller skates, rollerblades, and rollerbabies.
Mr. Leeks, our resident accountant, informed me that this building we rent space in—Detroit's lovely riverfronted Center of Renaissance—has traded corporate hands no fewer than nine times in as many weeks.
Devo witnessed children thieving the door off of a police station, presumably to either sell for scrapped metal or to sell to a local door baron.
I had hoped, dear Pirate, that you would weather this storm. One looks upon piracy as a recession-proof endeavor. There will always be ships and cargo, one assumes, and there will always be pirates to prey upon them. Alas, it is not so. Over a lunch of depression-era egg soup, my employees and I hatched a selection of possible career paths for you. Please consider this job-opportunities in sequence or in parallel, as best befits your processing style:
Franchise Restaurant Hostess: In my experience—which is, I note, far from limited, although I have been "out of the circulation" for some several decades, and have thus had little intercourse with pirates since the mid-nineteenth century—pirates are a winsome lot with a commanding fashion sense and a decorous and unstintingly democratic mien. To my mind, that is nowhere so vital as it is in the service of greeting and seating in any of the fine heat-and-serve sit-your-bottom establishments, such as the Rubied Tuesday, Lord Applebee's Food Dispensary, or Bless-the-Gods-on-Fridays Tavern. Here you will earn a fair wage, distribute tri-color wax crayons to pre-pubescent humans, and continue to harrow authorities, in this case by serving dishes well in excess of the daily recommended fat and sodium allowances, rather than by sinking her Majesty's frigates and burgling her barges.I hope these suggestions can be the golden parachute of metaphors that glide you atop the winds of joblessness towards the safe landing of economic prosperity.
Girl Who Drives Beer Cart at a Golf Course: As I understand it, these peppy lasses are, themselves, much piraty: They pilot small, swift crafts across the rolling waves of golf-course greenery, distributing good cheer, quaffing intoxicants, firing upon the bold, separating the weak from their lucre, and occasionally murdering and raping the wary, skittish denizens of the links. As I have never had the good fortune to go the golfing—most "country clubs" are still constrained by their antique notions of who qualifies as "their sort of people"—I am forced to base this advice on the honest and eye-witness reports of the terrors and glories of golfing offered by my lab assistant Rob. Nonetheless, provided you are possessed of "the perky tits" and are pleased to don "like, the short-shorts—I mean, not hoochie-short, but, like, regular short. Not bikini-wax-short shorts. Classier than that", then this is the life for you.
Secretary of the Treasury: Lab Director Molly suggested this. "The Treasury," she claims, "is already crooked as a broke dog's dick," Rob, midway through a soup-slurp, did chortle upon this turn-of-phrase, nostrilly spraying his egg soup upon the table, adulterating his own bowl and Molly's, "and so having an honest-to-God pirate in there could only classy the joint up." I must note that this quotation followed a phone call, during which Molly consumed nearly a pint of Able Sally's Whiskeyed Beverage, and which call related the information that Molly's father's house was being foreclosed upon because of banking errors, possibly Nigerian in origin. Still, if the chance presents itself, jump!
Founder of Anarchist Sea-Based Libertarian Community: Requirements include: Strong leadership skills; ability to survive at sea for months at a time; proven resistance to scurvy; back-watching abilities in spades; knowledge of Ayn Rand, Ron Paul, or Lyndon "Hermyle" LaRouche; a taste for fish and fish-like foodstuffs; a desire to form a new government and argue about its merits indefinitely; Photoshop skills a plus.
Soda machine attendant: Early this summer I happened to overhear a conversation betwixt my teenagéd typist, Jarwaun, and his young brother, Trael. In this, the former did explain to the latter that our soda vending machine, like all such machines, is manned by a lone, faithful dwarf, who himself hand mixes the Sevens-Up and Peptic Colas via "real secret recipes," and then cans them using a tiny hammer, forge, and aluminum smelter (thus accounting for the warmth at the machine's vents and the odd, intermittent knocking made by our beverage dispenser—sounds I had earlier, mistakenly attributed to a sub-optimality in the refrigerant circulating pump). I have never seen the beverage dwarf come or go, and volunteered this information, causing Jarwaun to wheel around in a panic, and then bashfully admit he "didn't know you was listenin to all that." He hemmed, and then hawed, and finally admitted that the soda dwarf has a two year stint and, owing to "magic promises," cannot leave his post during that time. A brief memorandum to our accounts manager, Mr. Leeks, confirms that our machine—and its dwarfly attendant—was installed in mid-August of 2007, meaning it is soon due for re-staffing. I, of course, would be more than delighted to submit a letter of recommendation and amicus brief on your behalf to the Pepsi Beverage and Medicinal Unguents Corporation Amalgamated Unlimited, LLC.
Intra-Aquarium Treasure Chest Monitor: Once, upon a trip with the office staff to Chicago Windy City, we dined at a "seafood" "restaurant." It was shortly after this column, and I had whinged to Rob and Molly that it had been too-long since I had tasted the flesh of mine own kind. The delicacy the Greco-Romans call calamari (from the Latin calamarium, meaning "pen case," recognition of my species long-established habit of writing periodical columns such as this). As everyone knows, cannibalism is a surefire shortcut to immense strength and reserves of power unknown in the world of chockablock sunshine moralities. I was afeared my resources were running low. I had hit what I believe petroleum scientists refer to as "peak calamari."
And so we found ourselves at this eatery on the Northside, near the water. It was tastefully decorated with candles upon the tables and a loading dock door wide enough to permit ingress to my supra-mersible travel suit. The restaurant was one of Molly's "hidden gems," which she assured me was not a euphemism for the clitoris, despite Rob's vociferous insistence otherwise. The entire Eastern wall of the establishment was an aquarium. Sharks lazily swam their circles within. A ray skated the glass walls making fighter-jet noises with his mouth (as is their wont; Top Gun ruined them.) A foul-tempered octopus hid in one corner, only emerging to molest a man in a deep-sea diving suit who stood calm and still (well advised among sharks, who have honestly earned their nome du nick, "the meth-heads of the sea"). The diver guarded a treasure chest that quaked and shook and, every four minutes and ten seconds, would open and belch forth a cloud of air bubbles, sending the octopus scurrying back (coward!) into a thicket of logs. The diver, even though he (or she) was surrounded by sharks, rays, the crushing depths, and an amorous octopod, remained calm and collected.
It occurs to me, with your experience at sea and in management, dear Pirate, that your mettle is perfectly tempered to such a career.
Until that Day, I Remain
The Giant Squid
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