A shocking confession from my past

By Cliff McCollum
Posted 2/17/17

In this age of leaks and data dumps, we find out more about public officials and people in the public’s eye than we’ve ever known before.

Seemingly secret information, things they don’t want …

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A shocking confession from my past

Posted

In this age of leaks and data dumps, we find out more about public officials and people in the public’s eye than we’ve ever known before.

Seemingly secret information, things they don’t want known, will eventually come out and has the potential to damage well-cultivated reputations.

In that spirit, I’m afraid I must come clean with you dear readers about my own past, before some blogger or hacker makes my own shameful secret known.

In a coastal community such as ours, information like this could be particularly damning, and I pray the community will still embrace me after learning this sad truth.

I thought I could keep this under wraps, but I have embraced sharing this with you.

I … am a pirate.

Years ago, on an annual family vacation to Panama City Beach, an outing was planned on one of those wooden pirate ship cruises around the city’s waters.

The children got to enjoy all sorts of fun pirate activities – searching for treasure, sword fighting, sea shanty singing, playing with the cannon – while the parents enjoyed an adult beverage or two and some well-deserved time away from the children.

We wore pirate hats and eyepatches. The years have faded my memory some, but I’m fairly certain there may have been a parrot.

And we were given our official pirate names.

Since that day, I carry the name my pirate forebears gave me, a secret shame that I’ve tried to hide from the world – Cutthroat Cliff.

Upon disembarking, we were given our official certificates of piracy, entitling us to all of the powers and responsibilities that came with our new office – plundering, pillaging, rum swilling, searching for booty. All that good stuff.

I thought I had taken care to properly destroy the evidence, but a family friend somehow managed to retrieve the certificate from the trash and made copies.

My high school driver’s education teacher received a copy, and I was treated to a whiteboard drawing of a stick figure Cliff aboard an elaborately drawn pirate ship.

The certificate even found its way into my high school graduation ceremony. After walking into the building to get my diploma packet, a quick search through the contents revealed yet another copy.

I would hope you wonderful people of Baldwin County would not hold this past against me.

I have not undertaken in any pirate activities since my wayward youth, save the occasional imbibing of a glass or two of rum and an infrequent jaunt into “What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor?” after said imbibing.

I promise not to try to scuttle any vessels or steal any of your doubloons, though the desire to do so does manifest from time to time.

But, I promise you here and now: yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life … is not for me.