WELL, SHIVER ME TIMBERS

One of our culture?s guilty pleasures has always been a fascination with outlaws. We?ve long lamented, celebrated and even romanticized the exploits of bank robbers, gunslingers, gangsters, safe crackers, train robbers and other such vermin. The likes of Bonnie and Clyde, Billy The Kid, Al Capone, and Billy Miner have been immortalized in song, film, folklore, and literature.

A couple of gentlemen from Oregon, with clearly too much free time on their hands, are now gaining international attention for their efforts to pay homage to one of history?s most notorious rogues ? the pirate. And they?re doing so in a manner that is a genuine first of its kind. John ?Ol? Chumbucket? Baur and Mark ?Cap?n Slappy? Summers, long time pirate aficionados, have proclaimed September 19th ?Talk Like A Pirate Day?.

They encourage everyone to brush up on their ?pirate-eze? and whether at home, in the office, at school or one?s favourite watering hole, converse in pirate lingo for the day?s duration. The pair of grog soaked, scurvy sea dogs, if they?re to be believed, claim that pirate fans on seven continents took part in Talk Like A Pirate Day last year. They?ve been featured on CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC and a host of other media outlets.

To help everyone gear up for the big day they?ve set up a fun filled website, www.talklikeapirate.com and have published an amusing and helpful guidebook for the pirate wannabe, ?Well Blow Me Down! The Guy?s Guide to Talking Like a Pirate.

In it you?ll learn basic pirate terminology and essentials such as ?Salmagundi?, a favourite pirate dish and ?Hempen halter?, pirate jargon for a hangman?s noose. You?ll also learn how to slander people in pirate-eze with such zingers as ?chum-swilling lubber? and ?hornswoggling bilge rat?.

The book also includes a list of pirate pick-up lines that may not fare so well. These include, ?How?d you like to scrape the barnacles off me rudder?? and ?Prepare to be boarded.? Charming stuff.

The idea for Talk Like A Pirate Day evolved out of weekly racquetball games where Baur and Summers would routinely curse each other in pirate lingo. They thought more people should experience what it?s like to converse like a pirate and, being a couple of self-proclaimed ?guys?, they were definitely up for another holiday. There?s really no significance to the date September 19th other than it was Mark?s ex-wife?s birthday.

The authors concede that pirates basically steal things and kill people, but otherwise argue that buccaneers aren?t a bad lot overall. Their website is full of fun pirate things such as pirate games, pirate paraphernalia, pirate songs, pirate links and even a pirate advice column.

September 19th will be here before the sun is over the yardarm so haul in the mainsheet, finish with the scut work and study your pirate-eze, ye swashbuckling freebooters. Arrrrr.