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I suppose this diary could be considered entirely self-serving, but I'd rather think of it as sharing the fun.

Y'see, today is that most wondrous of things, a made-up holiday that took.  It is, in fact, International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

And, nine years ago today, I wrote their theme song.

(More beneath the Orange Squiggle o' Doom!  Arrr!)

See, back in the day, a couple o' guys -- Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy) and John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) -- had an idea:

Once upon a time -- on June 6, 1995, to be precise -- we were playing racquetball, not well but gamely. It wasn't our intention to become "the pirate guys." Truth to tell, it wasn't really our intention to become anything, except perhaps a tad thinner and healthier, and if you could see our photos, you'd know how THAT turned out. As we flailed away, we called out friendly encouragement to each other -"Damn, you bastard!" 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.

Who knows? It might have happened exactly that way.

Anyway, whoever let out the first "Arrr!" started something. 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 time our hour on the court was over, we realized that lapsing into pirate lingo had made the game more fun and the time pass more quickly. We decided then and there that what the world really needed was a new national holiday, Talk Like A Pirate Day.

A sentiment with which I fully agree.  Talkin' piratical makes th' day more fun.  Arrr!

Things went a little crazy after Dave Barry wrote his now-revered 2002 column on the subject, and Slappy 'n' Chum suddenly found themselves ahold of a tiger's tail.  And it just keeps growing and getting sillier every year.

My own entry into cannon [sic -- arrr!] was in 2003.  I'd vaguely heard about TLAPD the year before, but somehow this time around it really clicked.  And I started writing.  (Full lyrics at the end of the post.)  And, with a touch of hubris, I e-mailed the lyrics to Jezebel, their web-wench.

Within an hour or two, I got a flurry of e-mails from Jezebel, and Cap'n Slappy, and Ol' Chumbucket, praising me to the skies, and telling me I'd precisely captured the spirit of Talk Like A Pirate Day, and could they declare it their official chantey?

Well, sir.

Having just written the song, I didn't have a recording then... but it went onto my next album:

(The recording of that was just amazing.  The only instrument I use is guitar, with a cymbal at the very beginning.  I'd been thinking of a bass line, but ended up not bothering -- it would've got in the way of the lyrics.  The extra puns, however... those started showing up fast and furious, and rather than lose 'em, I squeezed 'em in at the end.)

The song is still one of my concert mainstays, and I had a proper Life Highlight with it at CapriCon 2008 in Chicago:

And I'm still doing piratical songs to this day.  Another that went over pretty well was "Hey, It's Can(n)on", cleverly titled to avoid any problems with the lawyers for Warner Bros. and Scholastic:

In any case, mateys, today is a day fer bein' silly, fer swashin' buckles, fer grabbin' yer wench or cabin boy onta yer lap an' hoistin' a mug o' grog.  And, if ye be havin' trouble graspin' the nuances of th' piratical accent, follow the advice of me good friend Michael "Moonwulf" Longcor, an' talk like Bob Newton:

ARRR!


Talk Like A Pirate Day
 © 2003 by Tom Smith

Most days are like all of the others,
Go to work, come back home, watch TV,
But, brother, if I had me druthers,
I'd chuck it and head out to sea,

For I dream of the skull and the crossbones,
I dream of the great day to come,
When I dump the mundane for the Old Spanish Main
And trade me computer for rum! ARRR!

T' me,
Yo, Ho, Yo, Ho,
It's "Talk Like A Pirate" Day!
When laptops are benches God gave us fer wenches,
And a sail ain't a low price ta pay!
When timbers are shivered and lillies are livered
And every last buckle is swashed,
We'll abandon our cars for a shipfull of ARRRs
And pound back the grog till we're sloshed! Yo ho....

Don't pick up yer phone and say "Hello,
Our ten-o-clock meeting's delayed",
Ye scrunch up yer face and ye bellow,
"AVAST! Ye've been bleedin' BELAYED!"

Ye can't keep this fun to yerself, I bet,
So sing "Aye!" "ARRR!" "Ayy!" every man!
We ain't got much grasp of the alphabet,
But a damn good retirement plan!

T' me,
Yo, Ho, Yo, Ho,
It's "Talk Like A Pirate" Day!
Whatever's in fashion is in for a thrashin'
And bein' polite is passe!
When it's ev'ry man's duty to grab his proud beauty
And let out a hearty YO HO!
And if this offends you, hold y'r breath as we sends you
Ta Davy Jones' Locker ya go! Yo ho....

We'll tell every banker "Heave to and weigh anchor!"
Buy latte with pieces of eight
We'll fight to be chosen as cap'n or bosun
The loser, o' course, is worst mate!

When we hoist Jolly Roger, the landlubbers dodge 'er,
We fill 'em with loathing and fear,
We'll plunder and pillage each city and village,
Or at least clean out Wal-Mart of beer!

There ain't no computin' or morning commutin',
No "Parking Lot Full" signs for me,
No lawns ta be mowin' or bills to be owin',
I'm knowin' the pull of the sea.

The fresh salty brace of the wind on my face
Through hurricane, sunshine or squalls,
I'm keepin' my eyes on the distant horizon,
Verizon can hold all my calls!

To wear a red coat full o' buckles,
To earn a few duelling scars,
Well, at least we can get a few chuckles
By filling the office with ARRRs!

And maybe we'll never get closer,
Than watchin' 'em on the big screen,
So here's to old Errol and Depp as Jack Sparrow,
And every damn one in between!

T' me,
Yo, Ho, Yo, Ho,
It's "Talk Like A Pirate" Day!
That time in September when sea dogs remember
That grown-ups still know how ta play!
When wenches are curvy and dogs are all scurvy
And a soft-wear patch covers your eye,
Ta hell with our jobs, for one day we're all swabs
And buccaneers all till we die!

So hoist up the mainsils and shut down your brain cells,
They only would get in the way,
Avast there, me hearty, we're havin' a party,
It's "Talk... Like... A Pirate" Day!

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