Things that trouble us, and what we do about them

Things that trouble us, and what we do about them

Posted by 826 Valencia on Jul 23rd 2020

It's not always easy, running a store for pirates.

Once, someone came in with their leg in a shark. Their leg! In a shark! They were stepping right on the shark's fins or flippers or whatever, and the shark was making growling noises as it chewed on their leg! And they came into the Pirate Store, with their leg in a shark, and had the nerve to ask us if shark removal came free with purchase of a wooden leg!

Reader, it does not.

We endure many other tribulations. Whenever a big storm hits, our clientele stagger around, unable to keep their footing on a flat surface. San Francisco's city council is after us to accept a charter and become The Privateer Store. It's getting harder to find eyepatches without eyes already in them. But all of that is beyond our control; we have learned, as a measure towards retaining our own sanity, to focus on the things we can change. Here are some things that trouble us, and what we do about them.

Things that trouble us: our computers are haunted.

Keyboards oozing something unspeakable, files flying across the desktop, the whole works. At first we were scared, because we're pretty scared of computers even when they aren't haunted, but eventually we decided the lard reports couldn't be put off any longer and we held a seance.

It turned out the ghosts were mostly really bored.* We downloaded them some ebooks of our student work, written by our students and full of light and love and laughter and a surprising amount of cake, and now our unspeakable keyboard ooze is down to normal levels.

Things that trouble us: the trespasses of rice.

We took our socks off and filled them with rice, in preparation for a rousing game of ricesock, but there are holes in our socks, and all the rice leaked out.

We know that we're hard on socks. The Pirate Store is basically 90% splinters†, but that doesn't stop us from taking our shoes off and sliding across the store. Anna breeds moths in her socks. Was that a reason to give up ricesock? No! The holes had to go. We needed to cover them with something not permeable by rice. Like a patch.

Before we knew it, we were patching all kinds of things: jackets, sacks, mouseholes, commercial software, open wounds, anything we didn't want rice to get into or out of. We patched them with colorful, high-quality, iron-on patches, patches with our logos on them, as a message to rice everywhere: 826 Valencia will not stand for your encroachment.

Things that trouble us: the Tax Board says our paperwork is boring.

"Where's the fun?" they ask us, in their monthly missives. "You didn't even ask how our day was.‡ Are we just a tax board to you?"

Ideally, yes. But the relationship of a tax board to a tutoring non-profit with a retail storefront is a two-way street, so now we select a beautiful greeting card, pen a witty, personal note, enclose our quarterly tax return or license renewal form or whatever, and send it off.

The world is full of problems. Between barnacles, typhoons, tax laws, and people coming in with bits of their anatomy in marine life, we at the Pirate Store have had, we would estimate, our fair share. Fortunately, most problems can be solved by something, and the Pirate Store is full of somethings.§ Maybe one of them is your solution.

* We were like "you're a computer ghost, how are you bored? Can't you access the internet?" and they were like "nooooo" and we were like "why not?" and they were like "ghoooost reasoooons." We were convinced.

† 86% splinters, 3% "merchandise", 7% rope fibers, 2% goo.

‡ We did. In section 18a we wrote "How are you? We are fine, thanks. Love to Shanae" as stipulated in section D, chapter 31, subchapter B § 4042 of California tax code.

§ 89% full, if you count splinters.