Thursday November 21, 2002

Note: In the waning years of the 20th century a popular self-help book for businessmen (something about effective people and the habits they have in common) was lampooned on-stage by an improvisational comedy troupe which only four years later was completely defunct, giving rise to speculation that perhaps those in charge should have been reading the book more carefully rather than lampooning it.

Their sketch (something about effective pirates, and the habits they have in common,) went completely unnoticed (except by the attorneys for Covetous Franklinstein, who sent them a Cease & Desist letter) for several centuries, until the day an archeobibliologist named Joel happened across the script in the Gates Memorial Archive Of Banned Things From Ye Olde Internet. Our story would have ended there, except that Joel's younger brother Linc was in prison for privateering, and it occurred Joel that perhaps his wanna-be pirate brother would get a kick out of reading it.

As Linc read the script Joel sent him he laughed aloud ("Bury the hatchet! Hah!") and then realized that he was in prison because he was not an effective person, and was an even less effective pirate. So he began to write.

Most books written in prison do not tend to sell well, but this one did. Eventually, The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries was translated from Galstandard West into the other four Galstandard languages (East, Eight, Brown, and Peroxide), and became a handbook not only for pirates, mercenaries, smugglers, and privateers, but also for CEOs, trademark attorneys, and tenured professors.

Not all of the malapropist aphorisms in this tiny volume are applicable across such a broad range of professions, but some are almost universally useful. Consider Maxim 12: A soft answer turneth away wrath. Once wrath is looking the other way, shoot it in the head.

Book 2: The Teraport Wars
Part I: Raising Capital Offensive