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This post is ARRRR-rated

Posted by Robin Abrahams  September 19, 2008 10:03 AM

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'Tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and here Miss Conduct nearly forgot! I should be keelhauled. When I was a professor I once tried to given an entire lecture in pirate-speak, which didn't work out entirely successfully but did result in a few memorable lines: "Ye'll get phantom pains from yer pegleg 'cos though yer flesh lies in Davy Jones' locker, still represented in yer sensorymotor cortex it be."

So in honor of the day, let me try translating this paragraph, from the introduction to my beloved 1942 edition of Emily Post's Etiquette, with which I fully agree, into piratespeak. The original:

One is apt to think of Etiquette as being of no more real service to the average citizen than a top hat--something that is of importance to none but brides and diplomats or the newly-rich or persons lately elected to political office. As a matter of fact, there is not a single thing that we do, or say, or choose, or use, or even think, that does not follow (or break) one of the exactions of taste, or tact, or ethics, or good manners, or etiquette--call it what you will.

In translation:

Ahoy, ye bilge rats: d'ye think as manners is akin to a chest o'doubloons--th'kind o'thing the av'r'ge matey might admire but as does him no real good? Belay that notion! 'Tis not only th' marriageable wenches, th'hornswagglers and cockswains of landlubber society, them as new to booty, as has a need for the finer skills. Arrr! 'Tis you and I, decidin' when to give quarter, when to cut and run, when to attend to the scuttlebutt and when to close our ears, as are usin' manners every day. Yer manners are the sails on yer mizzen, the tar on yer rope, the fig in yer duff. A gentleman of fortune'll go no further without manners than a ship caught in the doldrums. A mate without manners 'tis naught but a ship bilged on its anchor. So learn ye the finer skills, and smartly!

For more pirate jokes, click here.

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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at

Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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