Captain of the Month – February 2010

We’ve been slipping a bit and did not produce a Captain of the Month for January. And for that, we’re sorry. I think it had something to do with the extended period of Captain Flintheart, but I can’t be too sure. Anyhow for February you’re in luck because we’re making up for this mishap by paying tribute to a legendary Captain – Captain Phil Harris.

Who was Captain Phil Harris? Many of us might know him as the Captain of the Cornelia Marie on the Deadliest Catch, others simply know him as Captain Phil, and many others know him (or wanted to know him) as a friend.

This past month, Captain Phil succumbed to a stroke while off-loading crab in the Bering Strait. A TV icon, Captain, father, husband, and friend to many was lost in a matter of moments. In the Bering Strait, there is no room for error or mistakes. Having a stroke is not either, but given the conditions of Captain Phil’s work environment, the chances of survival were minimal. At sea, even the smallest ailment, such as a cold or flu, can become deadly.

While many of us hide behind our desks and computers putting in a “challenging and grueling” 8+ hour day, Captain Phil and his crew routinely work for days straight without rest. Our complaints about cold coffee and broken printers pale in comparison to working on a fishing boat in the middle of winter in the Alaskan Bering Strait where frequent storms, in-climate weather, and hardships are the norm.

When tallying up man points, who wins?

Hardcore dudes rocking out on a fishing boat in the dead of winter.

Dudes rocking the shit out of a printer in the middle of a field.

I’m throwing my lot in for Captain Phil and his crew on the Cornelia Marie.

The point I’m trying to make here is that when you think about what men are supposed to be doing, it’s definitely not sitting behind a computer all day. Captain Phil Harris gave us a glimpse into the past where men where men, they stuck to their decisions, they worked their ass off because they had to, and took everything thrown at them in stride.

When I think about sitting behind my desk, dealing with corporate bullshit, and listening to all of my complaining co-workers, I take solace in knowing I got it easy. I usually sit back for a moment, close my eyes, and think of what others like Captain Phil do for a living to put bread on their plate. It gives me a sense of determination to sack up and keep my complaints to myself. It reminds me to not be such a pussy.

Captain Phil is the last of a dying breed of men who exist in the Alaska’s of the world. Next time you decide your job is too demanding, too tough, too stressful, think of men like Captain Phil who gave his life for what he loved – crabbing on a boat and being a leader of men – all to provide for his family and for himself.

RIP Captain Phil Harris.

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