May 4, 1716 — If I grow a beard, maybe the other sailors will stop calling me “Stupidface.”
October 10, 1716 — The beard is coming in great! I’ve gotten used to the itching. Plus, it’s been months since anyone has called me “Stupidface.”
October 11, 1716 — The men are now calling me “Stupidbeard.”
November 18, 1716 — Today, the first mate said my beard resembles the pubic hair of a wild boar. He said this in front of everybody. They all laughed. The first mate’s name is Andy. I hate him so much.
November 20, 1716 — I’ve decided to become a pirate and murder Andy. Before you freak out, here’s the thing: the guys are are still laughing about that joke Andy made. And my beard looks awesome! It’s thick and full, with a rich black hue. It doesn’t look like an animal’s pubic hair, not even a little bit. I’m going to kill Andy with a sword.
November 21, 1716 — That went well.
November 24, 1716 — It’s official: I’m a pirate! I told the crew that if they want to stick with me, they’ve got to be pirates, too. We’ve got a cool pirate flag and everything. Also, I came up with a new nickname for myself: “Scarybeard.”
March 5, 1717 — We seized a sloop carrying eighty barrels of wine. It all went pretty smoothly, and I had my beard all braided up so it looked frightening. I also did this thing where I took little pieces of rope, lit them on fire, and put them in my hair. I looked so fearsome — like a monster! The other captain said I was trying too hard. “What do you mean?” I asked him, having just taken control of his ship. “Well, come on. ‘Scarybeard’? Who calls himself that? You’re coming off insecure. Just be yourself.” I think he could tell I was feeling bad after that, so then he said something about how my outfit looked scary, but I could tell he was just saying that.
April 24, 1717 — I’ve got it! “Blackbeard.” Why didn’t I think of that before? Sailors are going to be so scared when they see Blackbeard’s ship coming! They probably won’t even put up a fight, and instead just hand over their bags of flour or whatever.
June 1, 1717 — I just realized that becoming a pirate is probably what will kill me.
August 18, 1717 — My beard keeps getting thicker and fuller! Jerry, the ship’s cook, said yesterday that he was sick of how I keep bringing it up. “Can’t you give this beard talk a rest?” he said with this exaggerated shrug. Rude, right? Come on, Jerry. Let me have this.
August 19, 1717 — I know I should let it go, but I’m still annoyed about what Jerry said. God, maybe I am too insecure. After all, I’m a feared pirate captain with the best beard on the high seas. Who cares what some lowly cook has to say? Then again, I thought Jerry was my friend, and then he turns around and says I talk about my beard too much? No, Jerry, you talk about biscuits too much! Oh, man, I wish I had said that. That would’ve shown him. Wow. I’m getting myself all worked up. Breathe, Blackbeard. Breathe.
August 20, 1717 — We need a new cook because I just threw Jerry overboard.
October 13, 1717 — Sometimes I worry that my beard is all people will remember me by. Don’t get me wrong — I love my beard. I’ve built my brand around this beard. But maybe I’ve boxed myself in. Two hundred years from now, will people think it’s stupid that I made such a big deal over my beard? This is gnawing away at me.
January 1, 1718 — New year, new me: I’m shaving the beard and changing my nickname to “Smoothcheeks.”
May 19, 1718 — That was a terrible idea. I guess “Smoothcheeks the pirate” didn’t instill the same dread that my previous nickname did. Anyway, the beard is growing back, but the piracy hiatus I’ve had to take in the interim has nearly ruined me financially. I’m such an idiot.
September 13, 1718 — You know what? If my beard is all people remember me for, I’ll be OK with that. I am the beard; the beard is me. At the end of the day, you can’t choose how you’ll be looked back upon. All you can do is live your life the best way you know how, with the blackest, bushiest beard possible. Above all else, you have to be true to yourself. That’s what this line of work has taught me. It’s also taught me that stealing people’s belongings is profitable and fun.
September 19, 1718 — A bird tried to nest in my beard today, and it was just the cutest thing.