We often commemorate special days with deep tradition and solemn ceremonies. On Memorial Day, we visit cemeteries, on Veteran’s Day, we lay wreaths, at Thanksgiving we show our gratitude for what we’ve been given. There are also religious holidays that are intensely important to many of us.
Toss all that overboard for Talk Like a Pirate Day. It is a "parodic holiday" that was created in 1995 by two friends, John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy) from Albany, Oregon.
Cap’n Slappy explains that on June 6, 1995, he and Ol’ Chumbucket were playing racquetball, "…not well, but gamely." They weren’t trying to become pirate guys, they were trying to become healthier and thinner, he said.
"As we flailed away, we called out friendly encouragement to each other -'Damn, you b***ard!' and 'Oh, jeez, my hamstring!' for instance – as shots caromed away, unimpeded by our wildly swung rackets. On this day, for reasons we still don’t quite understand, we started giving our encouragement in pirate slang. Mark suspects one of us might have been reaching for a low shot that, by pure chance, might have come off the wall at an unusually high rate of speed, and strained something best left unstrained. 'Arrr!,' he might have said."
"Anyway, whoever let out the first 'Arrr!' started something," Cap’n Slappy continued. "One thing led to another. 'That be a fine cannonade,' one said, to be followed by 'Now watch as I fire a broadside straight into your yardarm!' and other such helpful phrases."
By the end of the game, they realized that the world needed a new holiday, "Talk Like a Pirate Day". So, first, they determined they needed a date. June 6 was out, because it’s the anniversary of WWII’s D-Day. Ol’ Chumbucket suggested September 19, because it was his ex-wife’s birthday, and he could remember it. Plus it wasn’t some other well-known holiday.
A friend, Brian, joined the merry band of pirates, and became the one who reminded them to celebrate each year. "Things would probably have continued indefinitely on that low-key note until John, Mark and Brian were little old pirates in the Home for Retired Sea Dogs. We had a national holiday that almost nobody knew about, and we were content with that," Cap’n Slappy said.
But then, Cap’n Slappy discovered the treasure trove - syndicated columnist Dave Barry’s email address. They tossed their correspondence in a bottle - nah, they were modern-day pirates, so they wrote up an email and clicked "send". And off it went.
Within a few days, Barry answered. And the rest, shall we say, was history. His column, "Arrrrr! Talk like a pirate -- or prepare to be boarded," was published (a highly recommended read) and now, the world has an International "Talk Like a Pirate" day to celebrate.
"We have been amazed, thunderstruck even, by the response to Talk Like a Pirate Day," Cap’n Slappy writes. "Our timbers have been thoroughly shivered."
So, how can people in Prescott, Arizona shiver their timbers?
First of all, you need to adjust your language. Head to your account on Facebook. Scroll all the way down to where you see the options for language on the lefthand side.
Select "English (Pirate)". Ahoy, Mate! The deed is done.
You’ll notice the eNews pages are in Pirate for the day.
You can also sing the Talk Like a Pirate Day Song:
Sadly, the local Long John Silver’s closed in July. But, if you happen to follow the treasure map to the Phoenix area, you can get a free Deep Fried Twinkie. Or, if you are as pirate as they come, and have the hat and eyepatch, you can receive a free Fish & Fry.