November 13, 2011

I’m Going To Be a Princess When I Grow Up

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I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my future. When I was young, I had a laundry list of things that I wanted to be when I grew up. Among them were the usuals: princess, ballerina, astronaut, veterinarian and possibly famous equestrian show jumper, in my spare time.So I did a quick browse on CCNet. Listings for “ballerina?” Thin on the ground. An astronaut? Let’s just say that as a History and American Studies major with a predisposition to motion sickness, I do not meet the qualifications to apply for this position. But has it ever occurred to you — while you’re vying for Wall Street positions (or not), revving up for a lifetime of making beds or even readying for a stint at McDonald’s before law school — that there might be something else out there? You know, something bigger, badder and better than the stimulating, exciting and well-paying futures our careers will probably lead to? Is wanting more than “good” too much to ask?I think not. My friends, I have found the answer to our childhood dreams. I give you: the micronation.Take, for example, The Sovereign Principality of Sealand. A roughly 6,000 square foot platform off the Southeastern coast of England, Sealand is an unrecognized sovereign nation owned and governed by His Royal Highness Prince Roy Bates and his wife Princess Joan.You heard me. Princess.Now that is a title that I could handle.HRH Prince Roy Bates was originally Major Paddy Roy Bates. But in 1967, he lay claim to the platform and established his own pirate radio station there. After eight years, Bates established a constitution, flag, national anthem, currency and passport for his nation.His coat of arms reads “E Mare Libertas,” or “From the Sea, Freedom,” and includes two lion-mermaid hybrids hugging a shield, because that’s the kind of people Sealanders are. Believe you me, running your own country is no cakewalk. A prince has got some pretty balling enemies to deal with and Sealand proved to be no exception.In 1978, Alexander Achenbach hired some German and Dutch mercenaries (read: pirates!!!)  to storm the island. They succeeded, taking the Prince Regent Michael Bates — HRH Roy Bates’ son — hostage.But crisis was averted when Bates retook the island, recapturing both towers and holding Achenbach prisoner on charges of treason. Still, pesky things like piracy pale in comparison to the idea of being princess of your own country. I looked into the prospect and discovered that for the small fee of  £600 million, I can purchase custodianship of this beautiful wartime platform in middle of nowhere!  But assuming I wouldn’t get a real job after graduation, that price looked a little steep. No big deal. HRH Bates sells the title of Baroness for a mere £49.99 on his website. And if I was feeling really economically minded, I might even go for the slightly less prestigious — but still totally awesome — title of Lady, which runs for £29.99.My friends, do not take His Royal Highness Prince Roy Bates’ example lightly. If good old Paddy Bates could make his childhood dreams of sacking his very own concrete and steel platform in the middle of the ocean come true, by God, what is stopping you?Cristina Stiller is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at cstiller@cornellsun.com. Believe You Me appears alternate Mondays this semester.

Original Author: Cristina Stiller