Just say 'Arrr!'

Hitch up yer pantaloons mind yer mizzen, me hearties! Talk Like a Pirate Day be bearin’ down upon us!


Start practicing now, because on Sept. 19, millions of people will be saying “Arrr!”

You won’t need a hook, ship, parrot, eye patch or wooden leg. Talking Like a Pirate Day is mainly about having a proper, piratey attitude. Real plundering and pillaging is out, although figuratively doing so is proper, if done in a friendly, harmless manner.

How do you talk like a pirate?

Say “Arrr” a lot. Substitute “Belay that” for “Stop that.” Instead of “Shut up,” say, “Stow that.” When answering the phone, say, “Ahoy, Mate,” or, if the caller is hip, “Avast ye salty sea dog,” or, “Ahoy, ye saucy wench.” If you like someone’s looks, say, “I like the cut of yer jib.” When someone answers your knock on their door, say, “Prepare to be boarded!”

Tell pirate jokes. For example, a pirate stands in the paper goods section of a grocery store for half an hour. Finally, a manager comes up and says, “Can I help you find something, sir?”

The pirate turns and says, “No, matey. I just can’t decide between the Bounty and the Charrrmin.” 

Another way to talk like a pirate is to spice up your fishing stories with piratey words.

On a fair day in Homer earlier this month, meself and three other sailors boarded the “Cruiser VI” under the watchful eye of Cap’n “Crabby” Novakovich and his mate, “Splash.”

With squinty eyes gleamin’ dark under his bushy eyebrows, the cap’n turned from the wheel and snarled, “It be a fine day fer plunderin’ the sea fer halibut, so prepare yerselves to move smartly. I won’t be toleratin’ any scurvy laggards.”

Failin’ to see a plank or cat-o’-nine-tails, I figgered laggards would be either keel hauled or just heaved overboard. 

The waves in Cook Inlet was fierce that day, so the cap’n set a course fer a less boisterous spot, in Kachemak Bay. Upon arrivin’ there, we set to fishin’ like our lives depended on it. However, the day, the place and the company was surprisin’ly pleasant. Even the cap’n, though subject to fits of quirkiness, were amiable.

“Would ye be carin’ fer smoked salmon?” he said, profferin’ a plate to us and smilin’.

Havin’ worked up a hearty appetite while fishin’ on what seemed to be a barren bottom, we fell upon the offerin’ and et it all.

Further effort at pilferin’ a fish from that cursed spot proved fruitless. Amidst mutinous mutterin’s from the crew, the cap’n said, “Would you be carin’ fer a fresh-baked muffin?” and handed a plate around.

It went on like that for a time, with various offerin’s of food from the skipper and fruitless efforts by the crew. Finally, when the ship’s stores had been reduced to mere crumbs, the cap’n yelled, “Reel ‘em in! We’re weighin’ anchor.”

At a deeper part of the bay, we anchored again, and the cap’n said, “This be a place where I’ve caught fish before. A good crew can catch fish here.”

With that, he retired to his cabin. We heard him mutterin’ on his cell phone, commiseratin’ with some other cap’n about foul luck and landlubbers.

Fer a time, we had nary a bite at that new spot, though we fished fiercely. But then, as if Davy Jones hisself had ordered it, the fish started bitin’. The scuppers was soon runnin’ red with the blood of 40-pounders, so we made fer port, loaded to the gun’les with halibut treasure. On the way in, even the cap’n was smilin’, or doin’ what fer him passes fer smilin’.

Me buckos, there be a lesson here. The day had the makin’s of a certain disaster, but nay, we turned it into a successful plunderin’ of the sea. It just shows what ye can do with the proper piratey attitude.

If you remain somewhat hesitant about talking like a pirate, just say one “Arrr!” with feeling. You’ll feel more in charge of things, ready to set sail for fun and adventure, and to leave the doldrums in your wake.


Les Palmer can be reached at lpalmer@alaska.net.

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