Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Arrrr, Matey!

Arrrrr, matey! That's correct. The day you've been waiting for (or are just learning about) is finally here. It has finally bestowed itself upon us! Today, September 19, as it is every September 19 (and has been since 1995) is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Arrrrr. Avast! Arrrgh again!

Now, I'm sure you're sitting there thinking, "WTF is Talk Like A Pirate Day? Arrgh?" That's pretty much the initial reaction from most people, from what I can tell. Here's the scoop: Back in 1995 a couple of regular guy guys, John Baur and Mark Summers, just started talking pirate talk whilst playing racquetball one day. (No, they're not gay lovers. And never were. Or will be.) After noticing how the pirate talk made the game go by faster while at the same time making it all the more entertaining, the boys decided that there should be an entire day where everyone just speaks like a pirate. (Guys are very into formalizing crazy ideas they come up with. It seems as if that strategy makes their ideas all the more valid. Thus, if there is a specific day for something, well, you have to do it. It's what the day is for, right? Right.)
For reasons that even they don't get, they settled on September 19 because that is the day of Mark's ex-wife's birthday and he felt that was a day he could recall easily. Go figure. And so Talk Like A Pirate Day was kind of born. I say "kind of" because for about 6 years after that, the guys pretty much celebrated it on their own. Just two guys, talking crazy pirate talk together, with or without a racquetball. It wasn't until 2002 when they managed to get hold of Dave Barry's email address and write to him about their day. Their idea was that he would be their national spokesman for TLAPD. And Dave Barry, being Dave Barry and all, thought it was a fabulous idea (even though he used the term "very excellent"). Next thing they know, Dave Barry writes a column about TLAPD which appears in the Miami Herald and an obscure, but fun as hell, quasi-holiday was born.
TLAPD is celebrated in several, yes several different countries and continents including Antarctica (don't ask. I didn't. Frozen pirates. Brrr!). And just in case you're not up on all of your pirate-ese, the Pirate Guys (as they are now known), John (also known as Ol' Chumbucket") and Mark (also known as "Cap'n Slappy"), have a website where they give you tips, answer questions, have pirate vocabulary (in English AND in German!) and have way, way, way more information on this thing that I ever thought there could be. (It's speakin' like a freakin' pirate, for cryin' out loud and...and...shiver me timbers or something like that! How much could there be? A lot, matey. A freaking lot.)
Here's what I've learned:
  • Lots of pirate words start with the letter "A". Avast! Ahoy! Aye! Aye aye! And my personal favorite, Arrrr!! No word on why that is, matey.
  • These guys had way too much time on their hands. I have never seen anything so inclusive as their website in my life. Everything you could have ever wanted to know about speaking like a pirate is there. Everything you never wanted to know about speaking like a pirate is there. It's incredible. These guys are some thorough, thorough pirates. Aarrrr!
  • There are several hundred pictures of several hundred different individuals, in various forms of dress and costume, who are celebrating TLAPD in the years past. And while it is TALK Like A Pirate Day, many of the folk seem to think that also means that it is DRESS Like A Pirate Day. Thankfully, you do not have to dress like a pirate to participate in these festivities. But you might find yourself wanting to.

  • People really, really, really get into the whole pirate-speak thing on this day. I mean they really get into it. So much in fact that it makes me glad this thing is only once a year. Otherwise I'd fear that there would be a rush of people chopping off one leg at the knee and hopping around on their good leg and a Louisville Slugger with a parrot on their shoulder. That would be bad. And frightening.

  • Using the Pirate Name Generator to get your very own pirate name is quite fun. Somehow, I ended up being Mad Ned the Executioner. And you don't have to stop at just names for pirates. You can use the Pirate Ship Name Generator and get a name for your pirate ship. I ended up with the Horrid Buccaneer.

  • And speaking of buccaneers (or just using any excuse I can to throw in this joke from the Pirate Guys), "A little boy is trick or treatin' on Halloween by himself. He is dressed as a pirate. At one house, a friendly man asks him, "Where are your buccaneers?" The little boy responds, "On either side o' me 'buccan' head!"

The guys even realized that pirates must need a little bit of lovin' (or booty, as a pirate might say. Arrr!) and on their website they provide the Top Ten Pirate Pick Up Lines. You know, just in case the scurvy hasn't set in yet from those months at sea, surrounded by your mates and wenches. Those wenches can look mighty good when you're delirious and your internal organs are starting to shrivel up due to a lack of fresh water. So if you find yourself in that very situation and are at a loss for words, you can always fall back on their list:
  • 10 . Avast, me proud beauty! Wanna know why my Roger is so Jolly?
  • 9. Have ya ever met a man with a real yardarm?
  • 8. Come on up and see me urchins.
  • 7. Yes, that is a hornpipe in my pocket and I am happy to see you.
  • 6. I'd love to drop anchor in your lagoon.
  • 5. Pardon me, but would ya mind if fired me cannon through your porthole?
  • 4. How'd you like to scrape the barnacles off of me rudder?
  • 3. Ya know, darlin’, I’m 97 percent chum free.
  • 2. Well blow me down?
  • And the number one pickup line for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day is …
  • 1. Prepare to be boarded.
And just because they're pirates (sort of), that doesn't mean that they discriminate. Oh, no. No, no! Arrr! Far from it! Aye! They have the Top Ten Pick Up Lines for the Lady Pirates as well.

  • 10. What are YOU doing here?
  • 9. Is that a belayin' pin in yer britches, or are ye ... (this one is never completed)
  • 8. Come show me how ye bury yer treasure, lad!
  • 7. So, tell me, why do they call ye, "Cap'n Feathersword?"
  • 6. That's quite a cutlass ye got thar, what ye need is a good scabbard!
  • 5. Aye, I guarantee ye, I've had a twenty percent decrease in me "lice ratio!"
  • 4. I've crushed seventeen men's skulls between me thighs!
  • 3. C'mon, lad, shiver me timbers!
  • ...and the number one Female Pirate Pick-up Line:
  • 1. You. Pants Off. Now!
Yeah, I'll definitely be giving some of these a shot. It can't hurt. And even if it did, well, that might be good in this case. Arrr!
Now, look, I'll be the first to admit, I thought this was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard of when I first got wind of it. Arrr! But I have to tell grows on you. Quickly. And it is fun as hell! Arrr! Give it a shot. You'll be amazed at how quickly it catches on with co-workers after they're assured that it's a real thing and that at that very moment, people all over the world are speaking pirate and they should too! And they will. (Just make it clear that it's OK, and they'll do it. Trust me. Those co-workers of yours? Gullible as veal calves.) You'll thoroughly enjoy yourself, I promise. Arrr!
Now avast, ye land lubber! (Or something like that.) Go smartly back to thy cubicle with the rest of the bilge rats and sneak yourself a swill of grog. And then hurry up and get those pants off! Talk Like A Pirate Day only lasts for twenty four hours! And I can't think of a better way to spend it than swilling a little grog me self with another pantless pirate. Arrr!

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