Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pirate Map, Death Warrant, New Lease on Life

We got a call from England today. It was Alan Pryor of Pryor Publications, to be exact, calling to congratulate America for voting in our new president-elect, and to make sure we'd received Pryor's latest parcel of treasures. It had arrived, we assured him, and we were most excited about his Pirate Map and Death Warrant.

The map is a reprint from a 17th-century atlas showing Madagascar, which was known then as "The Pirate Island" for its hospitality to buccaneers and its key location on trade routes between India and Europe. Alan's copy was acquired in pristine condition from the National Maritime Museum before undergoing a grueling journey involving spilled coffee and the barbecue grill to achieve its vintage look. The 1722 death warrant appears to have been discovered in a distressed state, and distressed is how one would expect a pirate to feel having this decree read to him.

Pirates have been all the rage in the States for quite some time. Maybe Americans have been identifying with the brigands' feeling of disenfranchisement. After all the uncertainty and hand-wringing leading up to yesterday's historic decision, today we awoke feeling ennobled and empowered. Maybe soon we can start romanticizing more honorable historical figures. None are without their shortcomings, but may we suggest--

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