Avast! Hoist the Jolly Roger! Polish your pegleg!
Today be International Talk Like A Pirate Day, a day when the land-lubbin' laws o' grammar are banished to Davy Jones' Locker, and the syntax of the seas rules all.
This hardy holiday has been afloat since 1995, when a pair o' crusty Corsairs named John Baur and Mark Summers — or, as they're known in pirate parlance, Cap'n Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket — decided, on a whim, to start speakin' in the language of the briny deep. Columnist Dave Barry got wind o' the quirky tradition in 2002, and Talk Like a Pirate Day has been a phenomenon ever since.
Odds are if you've dropped anchor in Tampa Bay for any length of time, you're familiar with pirate customs and culture — Cap'n Jose Gaspar's ghost looms tall in these waters — but if you don't want to sound like a lubber, take to your chest the following terms:
Keel-haul. As in, "Let's drop off after work to keel-haul a few PBR tall boys." Or, "Thanks a lot, Lehman Brothers, my portfolio has really taken a good keel-hauling this week."
Bilge rat. An insult of the highest magnitude: "The Rays will keel-haul those bilge rats from Boston in the playoffs!"
Lubber. A bilge rat who refuses to participate in International Talk Like a Pirate Day: "Them lubbers at the counter told me to hit the gangplank when I brought me parrot into Dunkin' Donuts."
Ahoy!, Avast! and Aye! Use these words as often as you can, no matter the context.
Arrrrrrr! No explanation necessary. Arrrrrrr!
Lookin' for a pub where ye can hoist a few flagons of grog with your fellow buccaneers and wenches? Point your sails to the Friendly Fisherman at John's Pass in Madeira Beach, where a host of scurvy scalliwags will be enjoyin' rum specials, hand-rolled cigars and pirate songs from 7 to 11 p.m.
"It's bizarre how they came up with an actual holiday out of it," said restaurant manager Suzanne King, who'll be celebratin' Talk Like a Pirate Day for the first time. "But I know a lot of people in the pirate community, so I think we're going to have a really good turnout."
Call (727) 391-6025 for more info. And tell 'em Blackbeard sent ye.