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Drawing Inspiration From Pirates

In June of 2005, a middle-aged American couple were yachting on the Red Sea when they suddenly found their vessel surrounded by Yemeni pirates.

The armed scallywags tried to board the yacht in an attempted takeover.

Despite being outgunned and outmanned, the couple managed to drive off their attackers.

The ride back to shore, for these pirates, was undoubtedly silent. Each man, staring off, dazed, wondering what went wrong. No man able to look at another in the eye.

Finally, one speaks up.

“Yarr, we’re…we’re not good pirates,” he says defeated.

Word of this incident swiftly spread round the world and nearly sunk the piracy profession.

Many a young man, considering piracy as a career swiftly changed their majors.

Many a pirate traded in their peg legs for crutches or wheelchairs.  Others had optic surgery, discarding their eye patches and their dreams to become doctors, lawyers and investment bankers instead.

The skull and crossbones inspired laughter instead of dread (unfortunately, because of this, many people also no longer took the symbol for poison seriously, resulting in several hospitalizations)

On the rare occasion that the Jolly Roger was flown, it was flown ironically.

It was no longer considered ‘impressive’ to speak to your boss, religious leader or girlfriend’s parents using pirate language.

Piracy, as the world knew it was dead.

How often have you or I been in this situation?

You suffer one defeat, make one big mistake and it seems like it’s all over.

You lost the firm’s biggest client and now he’s been put on the missing persons list.

You break up with your girlfriend via the scoreboard at the Yankees game and now she never wants to talk to you again, despite the fact that you sent a barbershop quartet to her house begging her for your stuff back.

You text your boss that you plan to bring plates to the annual company picnic, only the auto-correct changes the word ’plates’ to ’slaves’ and now your boss changes his budget based on your promise.

You’ve made a mistake.  You’ve lost your credibility and now you’re in the same boat as those pirates, heading into shore, unsure if you’ll return to sea without having to wear a fake moustache or some sort of disguise.

Well, it’s 2012 now and you’ll be happy to know that pirates are terrorizing, killing and stealing more than ever.

Piracy is now a 107 million dollar a year industry.

How did pirates manage this turn around?

First, they invested resources to appear more professional. In fact, Africa’s pirates are now so organized their ransom notes are now delivered on letterhead.  Just ten years ago, this concept was unthinkable (mostly because the majority of pirates still had dot matrix printers).  Imagine, if you sent a note to that lost client’s wife, on letterhead, explaining that the client had promised to pick up the tab and asking if she could send you a check.  Just think of how impressed she would be.

Second, the pirates showed a capacity to change in the face of adversity.  Rather than rude and crudely written ransom demands, with the word ’arr’ being constantly used as an adjective and a generic filler, ransom letters are now quite pleasant.  What if you went to the doorstep of that girl you so callously broke up with via scoreboard, told her you wanted her back and took her out to a nice dinner.  I bet you would get your stuff back.  Then, instead of breaking up with her in front of tens of thousands of people, you could do it with privately, with an airplane toting a banner, while you’re on vacation some place else.

And finally, the pirates never gave up. How easy would it have been to stay on land, like so many other pirates and do something else, like open a restaurant or become a brain surgeon?  If your autocorrect said you would bring slaves to the company picnic, then follow through, go out, get those slaves and bring them to your company picnic.  If you get in trouble with the law, just explain to the police that you thought you were bringing plates.  They’ll understand.

So the next time you think you’ve been defeated, that all is lost, just think of those pirates, and hang in there.  Just don’t think of the Yemini pirates. They were all killed.

About Stickwick Stapers

I'm about yay-high and weigh about yay pounds


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