Why I Don’t Observe “Talk Like a Pirate Day”

If you’re not familiar with International Talk Like a Pirate Day, consider yourself lucky. The original intention was for this to be a parodic holiday. It started in 1995 by a couple of pirate performers in Oregon. It began as an inside joke between the two friends but developed a following over time. The holiday stems from a romanticized view of the Golden Age of Piracy. Most of the images for Parody Pirates comes from Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 novel “Treasure Island.” The vernacular became popular in the 1950’s with actor Robert Newton who portrayed many pirate characters but most notable Long John Silver in the 1950 Disney film “Treasure Island.”

I don’t participate in this fun holiday because I don’t like the Parody Pirate Culture. It’s not my jam. I’d rather be a real pirate. I enjoy sea shanties of the sailor’s life and they give a true depiction of how sailors in those times spoke. I have nothing against anyone who participates in Parody Pirate Culture and I think children enjoy it. Feel no shame if it’s something you enjoy doing. I personally chose to be a different kind of pirate. The kind that drinks rum and avoids common folk. I do like mermaids. Anyway, here are the lyrics to one version of the sea shanty “Blow the Man Down.”

“Blow the Man Down” was a phrase used by sailors meaning to punch someone and knock them out.

Come all ye young fellows that follow the sea, 
to my way haye, blow the man down, 
And please pay attention and listen to me, 
Give me some time to blow the man down. 

I’m a deep-water sailor just in from Hong Kong, 
to my way haye, blow the man down, 
if you’ll give me some grog, I’ll sing you a song, 
Give me some time to blow the man down. 

‘Twas on a Black Baller I first served my time, 
to my way haye, blow the man down, 
And on that Black Baller I wasted my prime, 
Give me some time to blow the man down. 

‘Tis when a Black Baller’s preparing for sea 
to my way haye, blow the man down, 
You’d split your sides laughing at the sites that you see. 
Give me some time to blow the man down. 

With the tinkers and tailors and soldiers and all 
to my way haye, blow the man down, 
That ship for prime seaman on board a Black Ball. 
Give me some time to blow the man down. 

‘Tis when a Black Baller is clear of the land, 
to my way haye, blow the man down, 
Our Boatswain then gives us the word of command 
Give me some time to blow the man down. 

“Lay aft,” is the cry, “to the break of the Poop”! 
to my way haye, blow the man down, 
Or I’ll help you along with the toe of my boot! 
Give me some time to blow the man down. 

‘Tis larboard and starboard on the deck you will sprawl, 
to my way haye, blow the man down, 
For “Kicking Jack” Williams commands the Black Ball. 
Give me some time to blow the man down. 

Pay attention to order, now you one and all, 
to my way haye, blow the man down, 
For right there above you flies the Black Ball. 
Give me some time to blow the man down.

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