Friday, September 18, 2009

How About If I Don't Talk Like a Pirate Day

View from Fortress de San Felipe Bacalar, built in 1729 to protect the pueblo from pirates

Friends on Facebook tell me tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. I think I'll sit this one out. Maybe I'll wait for Talk Like a Mugger Day, or Talk Like a Home Invader Day, or even Talk Like a White Collar Criminal Day.

Modern day piracy costs shipping companies an estimated $13 to $16 billion a year, with reported pirate incidents happening at a rate of 20-30 per month. When crew is held for ransom, it costs an average of $120,000 per person to free them. Eventually these costs are going to get passed along to the people buying goods being shipped. Beyond the financial costs, there is the trauma to the crew and their families to consider. Even those who have never been attacked by pirates must be worried about the possibility.

Why is it that everything seems more romantic if it happens on a ship? If someone holds you at gunpoint in the street, you aren't going to see the romantic side of it, but put the same someone on a ship, replace the gun with a grenade launcher, and have the target be someone else, and suddenly it's all good fun.

Oh, wait, it's supposed to be the pirates of old we want to talk like. Yeah, that makes it better. I'm sure they were much nicer people, due to the influence of living with all those parrots, or something. Okay, you can't mow people down with a cutlass as fast as you can with automatic weapons, but the mind set is the same. "You have it and I want it" just isn't romantic to me, whether it's coming from Bluebeard, modern day Somalis, or Bernie Maddoff.

So, matey, talk like a pirate all you want, just leave me out of it.

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