Who is this Pirate Steve fellow?

A soldier-philosopher. War makes men think, well some men anyway. Throughout history there have been some very notable soldier-philosophs; Socrates, Descartes & Wittgenstein for example (one day, no doubt, some other fellow will add my name to that list in his treatise). In my case, brutal experiences of serving God & Country, plus being orphaned at birth, plus dyeing twice, plus a few other less consequential events have led the Pirate to a life of quiet reflection and meditation (interspersed with not-so quiet times to soothe the soldier side of the psyche).

At heart I am a gypsy. I have an insatiable thirst for travel, knowledge and adventure. My soldier side loves doing wild and exciting things that require virtually no brain (I will pretty much jump out of or off of just about anything for example) while the philosopher enjoys nothing more than time in quiet meditation where he does nothing but pursue thoughts and ideas. Yes, I have actually spent hundreds of hours contemplating my own belly-button (imagine what I have spent on other parts!) I can, and do, spend whole days following a specific fish around a reef or watching other small living things enjoy their days. Flowers, fish, squirrels, birds, grass, whatever. I find tremendous peace enjoying their day along with them. I like people too. I am a very social creature, completely extroverted.

And then, like turning a corner, I have had enough of people and I hide away from them for a while. I like daytime matinee movies in the theater (pure escapism + popcorn + Goobers + cold air-conditioning = Pirate fun), and I love a good roller coaster. But as my childhood friend Ratty says, "There is nothing - simply nothing - half as much worth doing as messing about in boats." I paddle my kayak or canoe every morning, and I love nothing more than just drifting with the current or poking along the shoreline. Ratty knew all about life for certain, simple pleasures are the best pleasures. Then the soldier comes out to find a bungee cord and a bridge...

Vegetarian for decades I get asked all the time, "How can a sailor be a vegetarian, don't you eat fish at least?" I always reply that I have a deal with the fish - I don't eat them and they don't eat me. So far this has worked out pretty well. I have, over the years, tried every variety of vegetarianism - vegan, macrobiotics, fruitarian, lacto-ovo, blah, blah. I have settled on vegan aboard Spanky, adding occasional egg and dairy products on land (so I can be more social). Plus, I am a complete Pizza conneseur. I can live with a little rennet and a milk cow for a greasy New York or thick Chicago style slice any day, my apologies to the bovines.

Despite the pizza, my body is a wonderful physical specimen. Strong, tanned, healthy and fit. But my brain is a different story. It is a mess due to injuries I suffered in the Army. I am blind in my left eye (that's where "Pirate" came from, I had to wear an eye-patch for a long time). I have epilepsy and constant, unrelenting chronic head pain. Most days I am in control of the pain and seizures (thanks to daily meditation and self-hypnosis), and on those days I go out into the world and have all my fun. This is the Pirate everyone sees. The other one hides aboard his boat on days when he is not able to deal with the pain, or when his seizures are particularly bad. I have been known to drop off the face of the earth for days, weeks, even months at a time while I heal. Yes, it can be very lonely. Perhaps I should find a private nurse...

If I died this moment, I would go happily with not a single regret. If I had not suffered the trials of my youth, I would not have the wherewithal to contemplate the aspects of life that interest me now. No doubt I would be reading a website like this from my cubicle and worrying about my next Porsche payment. Thankfully, I was spared this fate. Today I am living exactly how I have always wanted to live (OK, I admit I don't quite have the harem yet, but I am conducting interviews...) I know my simple gypsy life is not everyone's idea of success and happiness, but it certainly is mine.

That's all you get for free now. If you want more it's going to cost you a beer. If you want sailing stories, well, one beer is definitely not going to do it...

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