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Pirate Pandemonium

Pirate Day founders, Baur and Summers

Calling all salty sea dogs and swashbuckling adventurers. On 19 September, landlubbers everywhere are invited to dig out their eye-patches and wooden legs and brush up on their best piratey lingo in the good cause of helping make kid’s brain cancer walk the plank.

Like many great ideas, the origins of Talk Like A Pirate Day can be traced back to a racquetball game between two friends in 1995. John Baur and Mark Summers of Oregon, USA, skipped their warm-up before taking to the courts for a high energy tussle. At some point during the bout, one of the men experienced a severe muscle strain, proclaiming, “Arrrrrragh!” to his opponent’s amusement.

The sound echoed around the indoor court, and it was so evocative of a pantomime pirate’s exclamation, that the two hit upon the idea a national day of pirate vocabulary recognition. Absurd as it all sounds, the idea quickly gained exposure when Baur and Summers wrote a letter to popular newspaper columnist Dave Barry in 2002, explaining their unusual celebration. Before long, there was a folk song and pirate-translated versions of Facebook and Reddit.

Meanwhile, Baur and Summers frequently dress up as pirates and even adopted the identities Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket, taking their pirate day in-joke to its natural conclusion. These days, Talk Like A Pirate Day is recognised globally and is widely viewed as a fundraising day to benefit research into preventing Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG); a form of brain cancer that sadly affects children. Currently, it is incurable. A growing number of individuals, organisations and businesses take part in Talk Like A Pirate Day each year, with participants choosing to simply pepper their language with pirate slang, or dress up as their favourite storybook pirate character.

The Glenferrie Times’ Guide To Pirate Talk

“Ahoy Maties” – Hello shipmates

“Pieces of Eight” – money

“Booty” - goods, valuables

“Fire in the Hole” – watch out below

“Hornswaggle” – swindle

“Salty Dog” – One who loves the ocean

“Plunder” – steal, pillage

“Yo Ho Ho” – expressing happiness

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