SONG: “A Pirate Looks at Forty”
ARTIST: Jimmy Buffett
I wasn’t even alive when the album, A1A was released in 1974 but that didn’t stop me from finding this song. I was 13 or 14 years old and my friend Sarah played Jimmy Buffett’s SONGS YOU KNOW BY HEART for me. That was the moment I became a Parrothead. When I first heard “A Pirate Looks at Forty”, I thought, this artist gets my soul…though I think my 13 year old self said gets me vs soul. Now that I’m older, it’s soul.
“Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call, wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall. You’ve seen it all, you’ve seen it all…in your belly you hold the treasure that few have ever seen, most of them dreams…Yes, I am a pirate two hundred years too late. The cannons don’t thunder there’s nothin’ to plunder I’m an over forty victim of fate. Arriving too late, arriving too late…I have been drunk now for over two weeks. I passed out and I rallied and I sprung a few leaks,but I’ve got to stop wishin’, got to go fishin’, I’m down to rock bottom again. Just a few friends…Mother, mother ocean, after all these years I’ve found, my occupational hazard being my occupation’s just not around. I feel like I’ve drowned,..”
Back at age 13, 40 seemed so old and so far away. Today at 9:50 pm, I turn 40. While it’s a milestone to some, to me, it’s just a number. You can label me 40, but I am far from what I expected a 40 year old me was going to be when I was 13.
This song though, has stuck with me for 27 years of my life. It has been with me when I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up (hint…still don’t) and it’s been with me when I thought I had shit figured out (hint…still don’t have that shit figured out either). More importantly, it has kept me dreaming and kept me believing in the magic of the music, the Universe and the fact that salt water heals all wounds.