Blow me down! Talk Like A Pirate Day is coming around again September 19 and this year the international celebration marks a decade of trying to gain appreciation for pirates around the world.
Oh, this day is not to honor the modern Somali pirates I’m reading about in the novel Djibouti, by Elmore Leonard.
The eye-patch-wearing, rum-guzzling, party-hardy subjects of this annual salute are the pirates of the comic arrrrr! variety, who drink grog and say things like, “Smartly, me lass” to the barmaid when ordering another round, quick.
The Talk Like A Pirate Day story is older than Johnny Depp and his Captain Jack Sparrow, so rather than try to re-spin the tale I’m rerunning last year’s Great Lakes Gazette post.
That means more yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum time for this bloggin’ wench, aye?
Ayyyy, matey. Get your grog on. Smartly. September 19 is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, and the only defined activity is talking like a pirate (although pirate parties and costumes are encouraged, too).
It all began in 1995 when two buddies in Oregon, John Baur and Mark Summers, started talkin’ like pirates to eachother during a racquetball game. They decided it was fun and a lot of folks could enjoy it (the pirate talkin’ part, not necessarily the racquetball) and designated September 19 as Talk Like A Pirate Day.
But the holiday didn’t really take off until 2002 when they alerted humor columnist Dave Barry to the concept; he wrote about it and created a world-wide buzz about the 24-hour buccaneers.
By the looks of the First Annual International Talk Like A Pirate Day Drunken Sailor Sing-Along, it appears some wanna be pirates and wenches enjoy getting into the run.
Check it out and and see (and hear) Dave “Bluebarry Beard” Barry, along with a cigarette-smoking hand puppet, beer drinking pig and assorted pirates and their lasses from across the fair land singing, “What do you do with a drunken sailor” (though one group, maybe because it’s National Chicken Month, offered their rendition of, “What do you do with a rubber chicken”).
Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers and John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur have written books about your inner pirateness and seem to be having too much fun livin’ the pirate life (in a cartoonish, not cutthroat way).
You can get free ring tones and a free knitting pattern for a pirate queen’s booty bag at their website, which is packed with info and tips like how to pick up a pirate and, of course, how to talk like a pirate.
The two have made YouTube videos including “The Five A’s,” a primer on the five “a” words that will get you into the spirit of the day.
The Great Lakes Connection
Little is known or reported about Great Lakes pirate history and activity, although undoubtedly somewhere someone is researching the secret legend of the swashbuckling life on the inland seas.
If the pirate life’s for you, check out the Great Lakes River Pirates or the Brethren of the Great Lakes. The Brethren have five Pirate Lords—one for each Great Lake—who live by the Pirate Code and promise, “They won’t kill you for your goods or kidnap your children. But these pirates do look for treasures and go on adventures.”
The Brethren of the Great Lakes also host the Michigan Pirate Festival in Grand Haven each August, and will work for doubloons, appearing, speaking or performing at schools and libraries, events or parties dressed in full pirate regalia. Ayyyy….