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Why Being A Pirate Wasn’t As Fun As The Movies Make Out!

Why Being A Pirate Wasn’t As Fun As The Movies Make Out!

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Growing up, you might have fancied the idea of being a pirate on the wide open sea, freedom at your finger-tips, and adventure as your constant companion.

Imagine your daily feast includes salt-cured meats that could pass for petrified wood. Our pirate friends didn’t have the luxury of snacking on tender jerky; they wrestled with this meat akin to chewing on leather soles.

And if you are not gnawing on bits of leather, then you are breaking what few teeth you have left on the next pirate staple: hardtack.

Chowing down on hardtack required breaking it apart with a solid fist—imagine eating something with the consistency of a brick.

No Room At The Inn

Next, let’s chat about quarters so close; you’re more packed in than clowns in a car. Cramped ship life meant cuddling up with unwashed, hairier versions of humanity. A nightly routine may involve mistaking seawater for… let’s not go there. And the soft caress against your arm? Either an affectionate rat or an equally unappealing shipmate.

Pirate ships were packed to the brim with hairy, stinking pirates – covered in lice. The reason the ships were so crammed? It gave them a fighting advantage.

In order to get booty, pirates needed to board ships rather than destroy them outright, so the more men they could throw aboard enemy vessels, the more likely they were to successfully raid said vessel.

So, if you want your share of the plunder, then you have to be prepared for Bob’s infested body hair to rub up against you when it comes time to get some shut-eye.

Pirate ships weren’t exactly floating spas. The odor could knock a seagull off a garbage scow, and that’s saying something. Bathing was as rare as an honest politician, and facilities for answering nature’s call? Let’s say that privacy was as non-existent as mermaids, so they made the ocean our all-in-one bathroom.


Scurvy is the VIP of diseases when you’re deprived of the beloved vitamin C. Starts off with some lethargy and before you know it, your smile resembles a jack-o’-lantern’s—bloody gums and all.

And let’s give a round of applause for the myriad of other diseases that could earn you a one-way ticket to Davy Jones’ Locker.

The Fighting Was Boring Or Brutal

As for the so-called glorious combat, those sword fights and dramatic duels Hollywood adores are a far cry from reality. Pirate fights were more a visceral expression of violence than any choreographed ballet. A true pirate confrontation was a bloodbath where the untrained and brutish nature of warfare was used more for shock and awe than anything else.

And if it wasn’t a horrific, brutal slugging match, then it was a snoozefest. You see, pirates’ reputations often preceded them. Tales of their brutality spread across the seas.

Because of this, the victims of a pirate raid were just as likely to surrender without fight as they were to draw swords.


Life as a pirate wasn’t all about treasure chests and merry sea shanties. Nope, the daily grind was more about dodging deadly threats that lurked around every corner—or wave, to be precise.

They had to keep their eyes peeled for pirate hunters, those pesky agents of the law who made a career out of ruining the pirate profession. Engaging with them meant naval battles that were as unpredictable as a game of cards with a cheater. You could never tell if you’d come out with all your limbs intact or end up as shark bait.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, you also had your shipmates to worry about. Trust was as scarce. The fear of mutiny was real. Even if the crew was treated well, there was always the chance that someone fancied themselves a captain. One moment you’re giving orders, the next you’re locked in the brig—or worse, walking the plank!

Storms and Natural Disasters

Ah, Mother Nature, the most fickle of all sea fellows. One day, she’s calm and serene; the next, she’s throwing a tantrum with storms that could snap masts like twigs. No weather apps in the pirate’s time, just good ol’ instinct and a heavy dose of good luck to avoid becoming an underwater attraction.

Surgery Without Anesthesia

Got a nasty injury or a gangrenous limb? Well, the pirate solution was swift – off with the affected part!

Surgeries at sea were about as fun as walking the plank, only with more screaming. The ship’s “surgeon,” often just the cook with a steady hand, would cut and saw without a hint of anesthesia.

The only pain relief? A swig of rum and a stick to bite on. Trust me, it was a far cry from a modern-day operating room.

Pirates were a superstitious bunch, ready to believe in any old sea tale or shaman promise. Their medicine chest was stocked with potions and concoctions that promised to cure scurvy with the squeeze of a lemon or offer protection from the pox with a mysterious powder.

The Problem? These remedies were as likely to kill you as they were cure!

Poor Retirement Plan

Ah, the pirate life—freedom on the high seas, a parrot on your shoulder, and an ever-elusive treasure map clutched in your hook. You could daydream about the romance of it all. But, say you somehow survive the disease and the brutal battles long enough to grow old; what about retirement?

Let’s face it, your 401(k) is as empty as a ghost ship. There was no pirate HR department matching your looted coin, no retirement savings plan—unless you count burying treasure and forgetting where you left it.

And if you tried to return to normal life, you were likely to be caught and hung or fed to the birds!

So, my young buccaneer-wannabes, think twice. The pirate life isn’t as grand as it’s painted. Honestly, Jack Sparrow wouldn’t last a minute. It’s a challenging existence that weighs heavily on even the saltiest of dogs. If the charming sway of piracy still seduces you, consider this your reality check. But who am I to squash dreams? If you insist on that pirate life, who knows, you might just bring a new definition to ‘seafood diet’—you see food and pray it doesn’t see you first.

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