McSweeney’s Says: Party With the Pequod!

In a McSweeney’s internet feature, Nathaniel Misseldine outlines his not-just-another-pirate-party theme in which guests are taken aboard New England’s most infamous fictional whaling vessel, The Pequod, along with crew members Queequeg, Starbuck, and Ishmael. Ahab, of course, is also in attendance — he is the captain, after all — but he’s hidden inside his cabin, and may or may not emerge to say hello.

So forget fake eye patches, talking parrots, and treasure hunts; Misseldine’s party of doom includes facial tattoos (by savage Queequeg, who else?), bobbing for Twizzlers in buckets of heated ambergris (translation: intestinal secretion), as well as eventual tidings of unease and emptiness. Misseldine urges the kids to avoid those Big Questions, though, about the “heartless voids and immensities of our palsied universe,” because after all, deep, serious inquiries have no real place at a birthday party. It isn’t clear, exactly, how the party should end, although if it reflects Melville’s tale in any way, there’s no doubt that cute, clean party bows are unlikely to stay tightly tied.

Because of the party’s ambiguous finish, suggested favors are scant at best. Still, it’s important to note: “After spending a birthday with us, it’s normal for there to be a period of letdown marked by feelings of morose emptiness and general restlessness with life on land. We feel this amounts to all the party favors one would ever need…Take heart, though, that by next year your child will look back on this whole experience and chuckle, finally dismissing it as hopelessly romantic.”

Upon a quick review of the original text, it might be wise to add that coffins, morbidly, work well in case of shipwreck. Either way, guests should be sure to bring with them “an unquenchable thirst for either adventure or revenge.”