A, ALLIGATORS ALL AROUND
Back in 1967, folks looked around and suddenly noticed a dearth of alligators. Not in Vermont, of course. Vermont has always had a dearth of alligators. And some Vermonters are perfectly happy with that. But they looked around swampy places like Florida, Louisiana, and Alabama and saw a lack of these creatures that had been abundant since prehistoric times.
They should have seen it coming. Alligator shoes. Alligator handbags. Alligator wallets. Alligator briefcases. Alligator jackets. Alligator cutlets. Basically anything you make from a cow you can make from an alligator. And it’s swankier. (You probably wouldn’t want to milk an alligator though.) Everyone was after alligators and we began to run out of them, so they made the endangered species list.
Alligators enjoyed being on the endangered species list. Along with giving them a certain cachet, it protected them. And they prospered. Life was good. And they went forth and multiplied. And multiplied. They multiplied so energetically that eight years later on September 19, 1975, they were removed from the endangered species list. O frabjous day!
Alligator watch fob anyone?
That Gator Got Me Pegleg
Those swampy places that were occupied by alligators often provided hideaways for another endangered species — mean, swarthy pirates. From their swampy hideaways they could sail out and pillage and plunder and do a host of mean, swarthy pirate things.
A certain segment of society longs for the golden age of piracy (certainly a lot more than the golden age of alligators). It is these folks that celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day with the same gusto that the Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The day began as an inside joke between two friends but gained momentum when they sent a letter about their invented holiday to a humor columnist who promoted the day.
And how does one talk like a pirate? One takes a listen to the patron saint of the holiday, English actor Robert Newton, who specialized in piracy portrayal, most notably as Long John Silver in the 1950 Disney film Treasure Island. Arrrr, matey.
Or talk like an alligator.
You’ll find plenty of pirate talk (along with romance, adventure and lots of gratuitous swashbuckling in Terry and the Pirate. “Hangin’ be a proper death. Or how about we shoot ‘im. Not weaselly like in the back but man-to-man like, facing him front on and puttin’ the bullet atween ‘is eyes.” Check it out.