LONDON (Reuters) - Put a parrot on your shoulder, strap on a peg leg, hit the rum and start bellowing “Shiver me Timbers” -- Wednesday is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.
“Pirates of the Caribbean” star Johnny Depp is not the only over-the-top buccaneer allowed to have fun.
September 19 is your once-a-year chance to don an eye patch, sport a ridiculously large hat and keep on saying ”Arrrrr.
It all started back in the 1990s as a cult joke between two American friends -- John “Ol Chumbucket” Baur and Mark “Capn Slappy” Summers -- but really took off when syndicated columnist Dave Barry got to hear about their surreal festival.
“We tap into that need for whimsy in people’s lives,” Summers says of the 24-hour celebration of quirkiness when they urge all self-respecting swashbucklers to show “pirattitude.”
International Talk Like a Pirate Day (TLAPD), which adopted Treasure Island star Robert Newton as its patron saint, now attracts fans from as far afield as Britain and Australia and even boasts a special Wikipedia site on the Internet.
The day even has its own unofficial anthem -- American Tom Smith has written and recorded “Talk Like a Pirate Day” -- and Canadian sketch comedy troupe Loading Ready Run produced an educational video on how to swashbuckle with the best of them.
Ol Chumbucket and Capn Slappy are bombarded with requests for TLAPD interviews and proudly boast on their own website that they are even now being immortalized in computer games.
“That’s fairly cool and geeky,” Ol Chumbucket decided.
Pirate fans around the world have rallied round, showing that surreal silliness is alive and well.
An American soldier stationed in Iraq promised that “to celebrate, myself and others will wear an eye patch all day.”
Sydney, Australia is staging a harbor cruise with “flagons of grog at pub prices and prizes to treasure for the dandiest of outfits.”
A bar in Venice, Italy is holding an olive stone-spitting contest for would-be buccaneers.
A Brazilian fan even sent a letter of support in a bottle while one overjoyed Argentinian whose birthday falls on the same day said “It will be difficult to talk in Spanish like pirates but we will try.”