As I’m sure you all know, Friday is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.
Invented in 1995 by John Baur (aka “Ol’ Chumbucket”) and Mark Summers (“Cap’n Slappy”) as a personal joke, the day became widely known after journalist Dave Barry wrote about it in his syndicated column in The Miami Herald.
Now every September 19th, CEOs use the term “land-lubber”, homeless people ask you for “pieces of eight” and people around the world greet each other with “Ahoy, me hearty!” (although McDonalds employees are still required to use the more traditional “Hail fellow, well met” as their standard greeting).
Followers of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster also observe International Talk Like A Pirate Day, claiming that pirates were “peace-loving explorers and spreaders of good will” who distributed candy to small children, and that modern pirates are in no way similar to “the fun-loving buccaneers from history.”
The official patron saint of International Talk Like A Pirate Day is actor Robert Newton (above), who portrayed Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1950) and Long John Silver (1954). Largely forgotten now, Newton was once a favourite of the English schoolboy audience, with both Tony Hancock and The Who’s Keith Moon citing him as a role model. I’m not sure which is more surprising – that Keith Moon had a pirate as a role model, or that Keith Moon had role models at all…
Proving that there is no limit to the concept of “celebrity”, the creators of International Talk Like A Pirate Day appeared in an episode of Wife Swap in 2006. They played “a family of pirates” along with Baur‘s wife, Tori. Baur also appeared on the game-show Jeopardy, introduced as “writer and pirate.”
Their official website can be found at www.talklikeapirate.com, where you can also find links to pirate name generators, English-to-pirate translators, and lists of pirate acts, “or acts with significant pirate content”. There’s also a list of pirate pick-up lines (presented in reverse order, David Letterman-style).
Top Ten Pickup lines for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day
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?
1. Prepare to be boarded.
No sign though, of my favourite pirate joke:
Q. Why can’t children go to pirate movies?
A. Because they’re rated Arrrrrrr…..