By Eli Lehrer
The official explanation for the name R Street does come from Washington, D.C.’s actual R Street. But one reason we (okay, me mostly) liked the name was that it reminds me of the greatest, most awesome group of people ever: Pirates. Pirates, you see, say “arrrrr,” all the time.
In all job interviews I do, I ask people about their preference between pirates and ninjas. So far as I am concerned, “pirates” is the only correct answer. And (really, honestly) we give people points on the scorecard for getting hired if they answer “pirates.”
Pirates are awesome (and cooler than ninjas) for at least three reasons:
1) They were libertarian: Pirates lived outside of the state and, in the 16th century “golden age of piracy” nearly everything they “stole” (gold from the New World) had, itself been stolen by conquistadors. Pirate crews were run democratically. They even created “pirate republics” in some areas. At a time when society as a whole was quite bigoted, pirates were racially egalitarian.
2) They were meritocratic: The ability to loot, pillage, and sail were a lot more important on pirate crews than rank or circumstances of birth.
3) Pirates invented workers’ comp insurance (really): No fault compensation for injuries sustained on the job began on pirate ships.
So, basically, pirates are awesome. And we think everybody should like them. We do here at R (or ARRR) street. Oh, here’s my favorite pirate joke:
Seems there was a pirate ship on its way back to port. About halfway there, it was approached by a Royal Navy vessel
“Captain, captain, what do we do?” asked the first mate.
“First mate,” said the captain, “go to my cabin, open my sea chest, and bring me my red shirt.” The first mate did so.
Wearing his bright red shirt, the captain exhorted his crew to fight. So inspiring was he, in fact, that the royal navy ship was repelled without casualties.
A few days later, the ship was again approached, this time by two navy sloops!
“Captain, captain, what should we do?”
“First mate, bring me my red shirt!”
The crew, emboldened by their fearless captain, fought heroically, and managed to defeat both boarding parties, though they took many casualties. That night, the survivors had a great celebration. The first mate asked the captain the secret of his bright red shirt.
“It’s simple, first mate. If I am wounded, the blood does not show, and the crew continues to fight without fear.”
A week passed, and they were nearing their home port, when suddenly the lookout cried that ten naval ships were approaching!
“Captain, captain, we’re in terrible trouble, what do we do?” The first mate looked expectantly at the miracle worker.
Pale with fear, the captain commanded, “First mate…. bring me my brown pants!”