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Monday is Talk Like a Pirate Day, ye scurvy dogs

How a goofy celebration by a handful of friends turned into an international phenomenon.
Sept. 19 has for more than 20 years been declared Talk Like a Pirate Day, making it easy on David Jones of Tampa, shown in January's Gasparilla Parade of Pirates as part of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.
Sept. 19 has for more than 20 years been declared Talk Like a Pirate Day, making it easy on David Jones of Tampa, shown in January's Gasparilla Parade of Pirates as part of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Sep. 15|Updated Sep. 18

Ahoy thar mateys, Monday ‘tis Talk Like a Pirate Day, a fake holiday that should be near and dear to Tampa Bay’s Gasparilla hearts.

You can find handy-dandy pirate language translators online and even get a free fish basket at Long John Silver’s restaurants if you wear some garb and talk like Blackbeard.

For 20 years, what once was a goofy idea celebrated by a handful of friends turned into an international phenomenon after humorist Dave Barry featured it in a column in the Miami Herald in 2002.

Tampa Bay, home of the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates and the Buccaneers with their pirate ship, shown here in 2021, has often joined in the fun with specials at bars and restaurants for Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Tampa Bay, home of the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates and the Buccaneers with their pirate ship, shown here in 2021, has often joined in the fun with specials at bars and restaurants for Talk Like a Pirate Day. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2021)  ]

As Barry recounted, John Baur and Mark Summers of Oregon came up with the idea in 1995 while playing racquetball. They picked Sept. 19, because why not? After not getting the traction they’d hoped for, they reached out to the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and made a convincing case.

“This is a great idea, and you, me bucko, should be part of it,” Barry wrote.

Tampa Bay, the home of the Buccaneers and the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates, has often joined in the fun with specials at bars and restaurants. Datz, Burnt Ends Tiki Bar and Dr. BBQ are offering $2 off any rum drink Monday when you talk like a pirate to their mixologists. They offered suggestions like, “Aye, Matey, I want me rum!”

This year, the Long John Silver’s chain has announced that you can get a free piece of fish or chicken if you talk like a pirate when ordering. And if you break out your Gasparilla costume, you can get a two-piece basket for free with your pirate garb.

Unfortunately, Facebook has removed the option to change your language settings to English (Pirate), which made it fun to see your status bar read “Update your Plunderin’,” but you can change your language settings on Google. Go to the Google homepage and click on Settings on the bottom right-hand corner. Then select Search Settings and click on Languages. You have to then show More to select Pirate as your language.

Then, Images will be called Engravin’s and the search box will change to a choice between “Google Searrrch” and “I Be Feelin’ Lucky.”

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