The Evolution of the Jolly Roger. A Flip Flop Philosophy.
Pirates, once they were rogues of the sea, thieves, murders, and men without much moral standing. They cared for little but personal gain and most would stop at nothing to get what they wanted. And the symbol of these marauders… the pirate flag, a.k.a, The Jolly Roger
Since the golden age of piracy, roughly 1650’s to 1730’s, the pirate flag was used as a means to strike fear into the hearts of pirates would be victims. The intention was to get them to surrender without a fight and as a warning that the typical rules of engagement would not be followed.
But in our modern culture the pirate has been largely de-vilified and along with the Jolly Roger now stands for something more commendable and worthy of celebration. Perhaps this is due to Disney and storybooks but whatever the root for this paradigm shift it has given rise to a new symbol and a greater meaning.
Since I first heard Jimmy Buffett sing “A Pirate Looks at Forty” and the line “yes I am a pirate” coursed through my soul, I identified with this new definition of the pirate and adopted it as part of my identity; and to this day it describes very well my view and approach to life.
No longer does the skull and crossbones on that black flag stand as a warning of impending doom. No, today the Jolly Roger is a sign of freedom and a bucking of societal norms. For some this flag and that philosophy is flown only for short periods of time during vacation or at a concert as a means of escape from the realities of the world. For others, the few lost souls like me who constantly strive to the next horizon, the next adventure, without care or concern for what we “should” do, it stands for that free spirit and sense of adventure!
So yes I am a pirate! Just not 200 years too late. In fact, I’d say I am right on time! In an increasingly crazy world where the well worn path seems dull, with more and more people wanting to hoist the colors and sail to destinations unknown, and with my own increased awareness of our limited time on this planet, now more than ever I sail under the black flag and there are armadas of fellow pirates behind me! A rum soaked, sun kissed, good timing, easy going, brethren of salty souls!
And that is likely why you are here now and reading this, that is why you, like me, feel the words of “Soul of a Sailor” and “A Pirate Looks at Forty” to your core. That is why we carry the moniker of Parrothead, Castaway, beach bum, No Shoes Nation, and pirate. We strive to embody what the skull and cross bones means today. We strive to live with no worries and no stress. We strive to seek adventure and enjoy our lives. This flag is our battle flag and with boat drink in hand and toes in the sand we will stroll into battle and fight! Fight our way to the bar and order another drink! Because that is what pirates do! Now…bring me that horizon.
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