Sunday, September 19, 2010

Eyepatch? Check. Parrot? Check. It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

May the Devil shiver me timbers if I ever talk like a pirate on Sept. 19, International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Pirates? Not a fan.

As an advertising instructor, I know that when I ask my students to write their first ad for a seafood restaurant, I'm going to be in for a lot of "Arrrrrr, mateys!" unless I institute the famous, annual "No pirates" rule.

"Can I use sailors in my ad instead?" No.

Nonetheless, I love International Talk Like a Pirate Day, because it takes the piss out of every other "special" day, week, and month, which, according to the great book Ad Nauseam, are good PR and news hooks for lazy journalists:
"Not only does a holiday help rally the troops, it's a clever way of getting the media on your side."

"A random story about peanut butter isn't all that appealing to your average assignment editor, but a weekly list of recipes all throughout National Peanut Butter Month: hey, that's news!"
Among the hundreds more "holidays" listed in the book are these:
  • National Senior Health and Fitness Day
  • National Milk Week
  • Clear Off Your Desk Day
  • National STDs Awareness Month
  • International Pickle Week
Who can forget that, during Bill Norrie and Susan Thompson's tenures as Winnipeg mayor, we had hundreds of these commercially sponsored special days foisted upon our fine city, but not Gay & Lesbian Pride Week or Pink Triangle Day for some strange reason?

I'll never forget covering the vote on the day when one city councillor actually crawled out of chambers on his hands and knees, so he'd be "missing" when the vote happened. A proud day for One Great City, eh?

So, it's great that John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy) invented ITLAPD as a paro-day of all of the other bullshit days, using the same tried and true method: publicity.

All it took was a single letter to syndicated columnist Dave Barry, and - voila - pretty soon the day became international. Removing restrictions on trademark and copyright made it go viral.

So, now you can listen to Lambchop's song about the awesome day (here!) and, every Sept. 19, hang out with your buddies, drink Captain Morgan and say cool stuff to each other, like, "Have I lived this many years, and a son of a rum puncheon cock his hat athwart my hawse at the latter end of it?"

Which reminds me: get your presents and carols ready - we're just a couple days away from International Kenton Larsen Day!


  1. I get such a kick out of International Talk Like a Pirate Day. I especially love the fact that followers of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are especially into the holiday.

    Although, for a few years, I actually thought the day came as a result of the popularity of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Oops.

  2. I was at the Toad in the Hole Saturday and a group of Pirates came in, at first I thought it was cute, but at the second look at their homemade costumes, I threw that idea away.

    Perhaps they should collaborate with those Scientology protesters on portage on saturdays, they all dress weird.


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