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Of Pirates, Dates And Mercenaries

September 19, 2017

Today, September 19, is a holiday. You won’t find it on your office calendar. Outlook isn’t going to pop up a reminder for you, but it’s been a holiday for the past 20 years. Today is International Talk Like A Pirate day. The holiday is the brainchild of John Baur and Mark Summers. The holiday is evidence of two important facts.

FACT 1: Geeks have a sense of humor — you just don’t understand it. Make no mistake, International Talk Like A Pirate Day is a holiday almost universally embraced by geeks. Ask the Marketing Manager if she’s ever hear of Talk Like A Pirate day and you’re likely to get a blank stare. Ask the IT guy fixing your PC and he’s likely to respond with an

Arggg, me hardies!

FACT 2: Anyone can create a holiday. Summers and Baur invented the holiday because of a raquetball ball injury. On June 6, 1995 our two heroes were playing raquetball and one of them was injured and yelled “Aaarrr!” And just like that an idea for a holiday was born. If you are going to invent a holiday you get to pick the date. June 6 already had a pretty important holiday (Allies invaded France during WWII in an event known as D-Day.) So, Summers picked September 19. Why that day? It happened to be the birthday of his wife. . .sorry EX-wife. That explains a lot.

Today is also the start of the Kickstarter campaign for Random Access Memorabilia. This might not seem like it has anything to do with Talking Like A Pirate. However, Random Access memorabilia is book 13 in the wildly popular web comic series Schlock Mercenary written by Howard Tayler.

Schlock Mercenary is the story of a group of Space Mercenaries called Tagon’s Toughs set in the far future. In the words of the author they “Travel the galaxy. Meet exciting new life forms. And kill them.” But, it’s all done in a family friendly way. And it’s funny. The Toughs are not pirates. They are mercenaries. Mercenaries get paid to hurt people and break things. Pirates do it for free.

Schlock Mercenary is written by my friend Howard Tayler. Howard and I have been friends for literally decades. I envy him since he was able to successfully break away from the IT world and pursue his passion of drawing a daily comic and giving it away for free on the internet. It’s a strange business model, but he makes it work. And the new kickstarter program is how he makes it work.

Also today this happened.

That’s a copy of Howard’s in-world book The Seventy Maxims Of Maximally Effective Mercenaries (Defaced edition.) Just because Howard is my friend, doesn’t mean that I don’t give him money. I’m a friend first, but I’m also a fan. His previous kickstarter campaign included this book as one of the rewards. I’ll be reviewing the book later this Fall, but the funny thing is that I had almost forgotten that this was coming. I backed the campaign last year, but since Howard lives about 10 miles from me, when the book came out, I simply went to his house and said, “Hey, can I buy a couple of copies?”

The 70 Maxims are rules for mercenaries (and undoubtably pirates too.) Things like

1. Pillage, then burn
37. There is no ‘overkill.’ there is only ‘open fire’ and ‘I need to reload’
46. Don’t try to save money by conserving ammunition

September 19 is turning into a pretty memorable day. So, get your geek flag on. Order a copy of the latest adventures of everyone’s favorite green amorph (that’s Schlock) and read your copy of how to be an effective mercenary in your best pirate voice. Of course, I always thought the catchphrase for International Talk Like A Pirate Day should have been “Yes, of course, this is a licensed copy of Windows!”

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2017 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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