About this time last year I did something I rarely do – I actually wrote about an event BEFORE it happened, instead of AFTER it happened. And now I’m doing it again, and it’s the same annual event. I almost decided to ignore the holiday this year, for fear I might get kicked out of the procrastinator’s club. But then I figured, if they do kick me out, they won’t get around to it for at least ten years. If then. The procrastinator’s club is currently trying to decide whether to back Bush or Gore in the 2000 presidential election.
The holiday to which I refer, obviously, is September 19, which is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. So far the federal government has not, officially, recognized Pirate Day, and made it a paid holiday for all federal employees, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. After all, if there’s an entity in existence that epitomizes piracy as well as our government, I have no idea what it is.
The holiday began, more or less, one day in 1995, when John Baur and Mark Summers were playing racquetball together, and started to talk like pirates to make the game more fun. They threatened to fire broadsides into one another’s yardarms, and cannonades at each other’s mains’ls, etc.
That went so well, and they enjoyed it so much, that they decided the country needed a new holiday, National Talk Like A Pirate Day. They decided it should be celebrated on September 19, because it was Mark’s ex-wife’s birthday, and because there was no other holiday on that date that either could recall.
John and Mark celebrated Pirate Day, off and on, mostly off, for several years, on account of they’re guys and they usually forgot. I get that. It’s the same reason I forgot to write about the holiday for several years until last year. I’m on a roll now.
One of the guys finally wrote to Dave Barry, who wrote about Pirate Day in his nationally syndicated column, which caused the holiday to go national. Then a radio DJ in Australia called the guys and did a piece on it, which made it an international holiday. That’s what they claim, anyway.
I guess that’s legit, since there are guys all over the world, and guys, no matter where they live, do stupid stuff. I did a column once about a Japanese guy, at least I think he was Japanese, who liked to crawl into caves where bears were hibernating and kill them. Come to think of it I’m not sure there are bears in Japan, so maybe the guy was from somewhere else. But he was definitely foreign. I remember that for sure. Which proves there are rednecks all over the world.
Which is all fine and good, but America still has the corner on the redneck population. We unfortunately also have the corner on the whiny crybaby bedwetter population, according to an article in The Denver Channel, which was sent to me by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. This story also involves a redneck, a fellow by the name of Richard Kendall, who tracked a bear to its cave in November 2010. He waited outside the den for five hours, hoping the bear would come out, but it never did. So he did the only thing a logical, sane, normal person would do at that point – he turned around and went home.
I jest. Richard didn’t spend five hours sitting in the frigid Colorado November weather to go home empty-handed. No. He crawled into the cave after it. Once he got in a ways he turned on his flashlight, which proves he . . . isn’t right. The bear was about six feet away, growling at him, so he shot it. And started an avalanche of complaints from the bedwetters, who wouldn’t set foot on a beaver dam, much less inside a bear’s cave.
The Colorado Dept. of Wildlife decided to propose a law against ‘den hunting,’ because, in the opinion of Colorado wildlife commissioner Dorothea Farris, “This so violates the beliefs of ethics and fair chase.” Not to mention the admonitions of mothers everywhere, to always wear clean underwear.
Personally, I doubt a chase could be any more fair than bearding the lion in his own den, so to speak. When Richard crawled into that cave he was basically an hors d’oeuvre. I’d say he gave the bear at least an even chance to come out of the deal on top, with a People McNugget snack for his trouble.
By now you’ve forgotten my point, which is that guys everywhere do stupid stuff, which is why an International Talk Like A Pirate Day is a good idea. You’d have to go some to come up with a dumber activity than spending a day saying things like ‘The next time ye pilfer the last Sweet’N Low, ye scurvy dog, ye’ll be walkin’ the plank.”
Still, no matter how dumb Pirate Day may be, it’s not the dumbest thing anyone ever did. No one ever got eaten by a bear for calling his friend a bilge rat. As far as you know...
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who once crawled into a hollow tree after a coon. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org