Populace practices pirate parody

Guess what USF students, you don’t have to wait until January to break out your Gasparilla pirate costume! Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day, and it offers a solid excuse to release your inner scalliwag.

According to Talklikeapirateday.com, Talk Like A Pirate Day began unexpectedly over a game of racquetball. Here’s the story, according to the Web site: Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket, better known as Mark Summers and John Baur, were playing racquetball one day in June 1995 and one of them – neither remembers which – started using pirate slang to cheer and jeer the other’s prowess on the court. They found it a fun way to pass through their hour playing ball.

It seemed to them that a new holiday was called for, one that’s all about having fun and forgetting your responsibilities for a while. Thus, Talk Like A Pirate Day was born.

Summers suggested Sept. 19 for the date of the “holiday.” For the next seven years, Talk Like A Pirate Day was a small, virtually unknown affair celebrated by Summers, Baur and however many friends they could cajole into joining them.

Then, in 2002, Summers and Baur sent an e-mail to columnist Dave Barry who then wrote a

column about Talk Like A Pirate Day. This is when the pirate explosion began. The idea became international when Summers and Baur were interviewed about Talk Like A Pirate Day in Australia.

Baur and Summers hasten to add that they don’t condone the acts of actual pirates because, as written on their Web site, “Even the most casual exploration of the history of pirates (and believe us, casual is an accurate description of our research) leaves you hip deep in blood and barbarity.”

Now that Talk Like A Pirate Day has exploded into a sensation, people have began to ask why people need a day to run around shouting “Avast, me hearties!”

Short answer: it’s fun. Slightly-less-short answer: it’s a day to celebrate the silliness (and the pirate) in all of us. Savvy?

Just try it. When your teacher asks, “Why don’t you have your textbook?” Reply, “Some land-lubbin’ bilge rat made me leave it onboard!” This translates roughly to, “I forgot it at home.”

The holiday has a special significance for citizens of Tampa Bay as we are all quite fond of our own pirate-themed holiday, the Gasparilla Parade. The parade is a 103-year-old tradition, named after the aristocrat-turned-pirate Jose Gaspar, who reportedly

pil Jose Gaspar, who reportedly pillaged the Florida coast in the early 1800s.

“I always just go to the day parade,” said International Studies major Anne Baatstad. “I think it’s historical, but people just use it as an excuse to party and get drunk. On the other hand, it brings Tampanians together.”

Piracy, mythical or not, had a significant impact on the state’s early development. Talk Like A Pirate Day should serve as another annual reminder to celebrate Florida’s maritime past.

As it stands, there won’t be a parade or throngs of party-pirates meandering around downtown on Sept. 19, but we in Montage encourage you to contact mayor Pam Iorio at Tampagov.net/dept_mayor/ and urge her to remedy this egregious lack of festivity.

Visit Talklikeapirateday.com for more vocabulary, games, pick-up lines and general silliness.


The more common Pirate to English Translations:

Ahoy – hello

Avast! – Look at that!

Arr! – much like the word ‘dude’ this has multiple uses and can mean just about anything

Aye – yes

Belay – don’t do whatever it is you’re currently doing

Bilge rat – an insult referring to a rat that lives in the dampest, most disgusting part of a ship

Black Spot – the mark of death for a pirate

Deadlights – eyes

Gone to Davy Jones Locker – dead

Grog – any alcohol, though most correct when referring to a mixture of water and rum

Lubber – also an insult, as in the phrase “land-lubber”

Me Hearties – my friends

Savvy – understand

Yo-ho-ho – no real meaning, but it sure is fun to say