Very long story short: When my sister and I were teenagers in Iowa, our family had a booth at the local Renaissance Festival. My sister would walk around and talk to people in a fake British accent while I mostly hid out in the back eating cinnamon-coated almonds and hoping nobody from high school walked by. Our booth was right next to the stage, so we watched the different performers all day, including a group of singing pirates called the Jolly Rogers. Now, at first we sort of rolled our eyes and tried to ignore the sea shanties coming from the stage nearly every hour. Singing pirates. How lame.
After hearing the same songs, like, eight times a day for several days, however, something happened to our brains. We grew to love the singing pirates. We knew all of the words. We became obsessed with the Jolly Rogers. We bought their tape (because hardly anyone owned CDs yet — that’s how long ago this was).
When I went on a spring break road trip in college, I made my friends listen to “Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum” in the car. They are still my friends. I don’t know why.
Well, twenty-ish years later, the Jolly Rogers are still around and performing at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival:
I was pretty excited to take WCK to the festival and introduce her to the Jolly Rogers. I checked the schedule and made sure we got to their stage in plenty of time. We bought a little bag of cinnamon-coated almonds. It was the early ’90s all over again.
Then, right before the show started, I noticed the Jolly Rogers had set up a large, hand-painted sign that said “PG-13” in big black letters. What? Why? Oh, yeah. It was all coming back to me, a little too late.
They launched into their hit song, “All For Me Grog.” If Renaissance Festival pirates can have a hit song, a song that makes the crowd want to go, “Woooo!” and hold up their lighters, “All For Me Grog” would be theirs. Here are some of the lyrics, which I’d sort of forgotten:
Where is me bed?Me noggin’, noggin’ bed?All gone for beer and tobacco!Well, I lent it to a whore, now the sheets they is all toreAnd the springs are lookin’ out for better weather! Hey!
Wait, wait, wait, Mother of the Year Committee! Don’t start filling out my award just yet! Wait until you hear the next verse!
And where is me wench?Me noggin’, noggin’ wench?All gone for beer and tobacco! Well her (clap) is worn out, and her (clap) is knocked about, and her (clap) is lookin’ out for better weather! Hey!
Yes. NOW you may send me the Mother of the Year Award.
For another song, they turned the sign around so it said, “PG-31”, because that song was even worse.
Fortunately, WCK did not understand any of the jokes. A few times, she whispered to me, “Mommy, I don’t get that joke,” and I’d pretend that I didn’t get the joke either. (I did get it, though, and it was hilarious.) My conclusion is that the PG-13-rated Jolly Rogers are fairly safe until your kid actually reaches the age of 13 and finally understands what they’re talking about.
At the end, WCK put a dollar donation in one of the pirate’s hats, to insure that we’ll be able to see the Jolly Rogers perform for many more years to come. Or at least until she’s 13.