Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day, and the normally somewhat reserved Marcia Mary McBrien, the Michigan Supreme Court’s Public Information Officer, says you should join the fun.
TLAPD, for the uninitiated, hit the scene in a big way seven years ago, when Dave Berry, the nationally syndicated columnist, did a piece on John Baur and Mark Summers, who began speaking like pirates during a heated racquetball game. The thing has snowballed into an international phenomena, complete with websites, newsletters, books, media interviews, lectures, parties galore with plenty of grog, and this year, an appearance by Baur and Summers (now known as Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy) at The Franklin in Philadelphia to promote the museum’s Real Pirates! exhibit.
But back to Marcia. She comes from a nice family, she lives in one of Pointes, she’s earned degrees from Notre Dame and the University of Michigan, she belongs to a garden club, she’s a stylish dresser, she goes to church on Sunday.
Every Sept. 19, she speaks Piratize.
What gives, Marcia? Why is a nice lady like you talking like a salty Caribbean swashbuckler?
“Well, ye see matey, ’twas like this: I be thinkin’ a few years ago that all of us have days where ye be feelin’ lower than a bilge rat’s belly. And everyone needs a bit of tomfoolery to be helpin’ ’em through t’ day. And I was a-thinkin’ of ways to amuse me shipmates and I hit upon International Talk Like A Pirate Day. I’ve been observin’ it ever since.”
Who else is playing along at the court?
“That would be me shipmates, Buccaneer Barb Brown and Cap’n Leslie Jenkins.”
How about the justices? Do any of them speak Piratize?
“Not yet, lad. But I’m workin’ on ’em. I want to see ‘avast’ in a Michigan Supreme Court opinion one of these days but it hasn’t happened yet.”
But you’ve written in Piratize on behalf of the court.
“Well, ’tis true, matey. Last year, we was a sendin’ out a press release for an administrative hearin’. I have a hard time for some reason gettin’ t’ general public and the media to pay attention – they seem to think it’s duller than last week’s bilge water – and I sent out a cover e-mail. ‘Twas all in pirate-speak, me lad. ‘Avast, ye swabs! Take heed!’ And some of ’em did. A few of ’em even responded in pirate-speak. It’s most gratifyin’, me lad.”
Are you doing anything else to get the judiciary and the legal community to embrace Talk Like A Pirate Day?
“It’s a process that will take some time, matey. It’s not like you can drop a belayin’ pin on someone’s head and say, ‘Celebrate it, now! Celebrate yer piratitude!’ We’re not talkin’ about bein’ real pirates, here. They were bloodthirsty, nasty people. We’re talkin’ about havin’ a bit o’ fun, a bit o’ tomfoolery and gettin’ away from pressures. Everyone’s worried about t’ economy, where their next pieces-o-eight are comin’ from. You do a little tomfoolery like this and it makes t’ barnacles fall off and your ship sail a little higher in t’ water.”
What’s next for you and Talk Like A Pirate Day?
“Where I’d like to see this be a goin’ some day: there’s a dearth of men walkin’ around sayin, ‘Avast, me proud beauty!’ to women passin’ by. It’s a serious oversight by t’ menfolk in these parts. Never once have I been addressed as ‘me proud beauty.’ So, we hope to rectify that.
Marcia, me proud beauty, some folks might think it should be easy for members of the legal profession to speak Piratize. What do you think?
“I’ll not be touchin’ that one with a 10-foot mizzenmast, matey.”
Well, shiver me timbers.
Now, t’ rest of ye swabees out there, it’s high time to let your inner pirate shine.
Update: Sept. 22, 2008
Ahoy, me hearties! Mad Marcia, Pirate Information Officer and t’ proud beauty of t’ MSC, scribed another o’ her celebrated press releases on Friday past. T’ cover e-mail, me swabees, ’twas in Piratize:
Take heed, ye bold lads and feisty wenches o’ the Fourth Estate!
Th’ Court be holdin’ a public hearin’ on administrative matters next week, Sept. 24, beginnin’ at three bells o’ the forenoon watch! So don’t just throw this press release o’er the starboard bow – it be full o’ treasure! (In the metaphorical sense.)
Me shipmates, Cap’n Leslie and Buccaneer Barb, and I bid ye a happy Talk Like a Pirate Day! A fair wind an’ good sailin’ to ye all!
Yo ho ho!
Pirate Information Officer