National Talk Like a Pirate Day: Is it even the best Oregonian holiday?


My friends and I have an ongoing joke about how the state of Oregon only appears on the national news in connection with something horrible, like a meth distribution ring run by disgruntled mimes or a kidnapping where abductor and abductee both happen to be cannibals and are discovered feasting on each other Ouroboros-style. Today, though, is not one of those days. As you probably know — since your brain is a repository for useless knowledge — today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day (not to be confused with International Talk Like Pyrite Day, which rocks). The holiday, popularized by Dave Barry, was invented by two guys from Albany, Oregon, meaning that for at least one day people won’t only think of my home state in conjunction with serial killers and eco-terrorists.

But is International Talk Like a Pirate Day even the best holiday to come out of Oregon?! It’s debatable, so we’re going to debate it!

See, Oregon is also the birthplace of National Corndog Day, a glorious American holiday that combines the sedentary joy of watching March Madness with the sublime pleasure of binging on corn dogs. Invented in Corvallis, the goal of National Corndog Day is to complete the “triple-double” — I think that’s a sports term — during one day of basketball viewing, a challenge that consists of consuming ten corn dogs, ten beers, and 100 tater tots.

So which of the two Oregonian holidays is superior? You’ll have to read more to find out! I’ve devised five arbitrary scientific categories for the purpose of comparing the two holidays, ergo making my conclusion indisputable. You’re welcome.

1) Likeliness You Will Vomit
Talking like a pirate doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll spend your day out on the high seas eating roasted gulls and drinking grog…but you should. If you’re going to participate, participate. It seems most people are content to just make the classic pirate jokes — “Why do pirates love Sir William Ramsay and Jon William Strutt, 3rd Baron of Rayleigh? Because they discovered Arrrrrgon!” — and go no further in terms of committing themselves to the celebration. On the other hand, I have never attended a National Corndog Day party where someone hasn’t puked. If you’re going to devote a day of your life to a silly holiday, there’s really no reason why that devotion shouldn’t lead to physical discomfort. Do you think Santa likes squeezing down those chimneys every December? No. He’s obese and probably feels the chimneys are fat-shaming him. But he does it anyway because he loves Christmas. Do you not love Christmas? Yeah…logic. (Winner: Corndogs)

2) Better Sponsors
National Corndog Day is sponsored by Foster Farms and Pabst Blue Ribbon, which sort of makes it the perfect Oregonian holiday. See, you have the hipster appeal of PBR juxtaposed with the the so not free-range farming practices of Foster Farms. It’s like a Portlandia sketch (except actually amusing). While I certainly don’t care about how my meat was raised — because I’m a man and men don’t have feelings — many Oregonians do care, meaning that to participate in National Corndog Day is to risk experience a crippling crisis of conscience. That doesn’t sound fun. In comparison, Pirate Day was cosigned by Dave Barry, and I don’t think anyone has a problem with Dave Barry (unless you’re a humorless automaton not yet programmed to love). (Winner: Pirates)

3) Conviviality
Gathering together with your best buds to watch eight hours of basketball is a wonderful experience. Gathering together with your best buds to talk in mangled English while watching walk-the-plank snuff films is reprehensible. (Winner: Corndogs)

4) Family Friendliness
Children can’t really participate National Corndog Day. They can drink soda instead of beer, sure, but that actually makes the triple-double challenge far more difficult. I don’t think you could pay me to drink ten sodas in a single sitting — I’m wincing just imagining the stomach ache all that sugar would cause — whereas the ability to drink ten beers over the course of a day is prerequisite for graduating from any state school. Also, not all children enjoy basketball — I hear rumors some are raised to love this noncompetitive play-game called “soccer” — and you can’t celebrate National Corndog Day without March Madness. It’s in the charter. Kids, however, love pirates. Have you ever met a child that didn’t think pirates were the coolest thing ever? If so, wherever you go to meet children is full of crappy children. (Winner: Pirates)

5) Better Oregon Town: Albany or Corvallis?
In 2007, Corvallis was named the “most secure” small city by Farmers Insurance Group. In 2008, Country Home magazine named Corvallis the top Green Place to Live in America. Also in 2008, Forbes named Corvallis the fifth smartest city in the United States. In 2011, a peer-reviewed article titled “Urban Scaling and Its Deviations: Revealing the Structure of Wealth, Innovation and Crime Across Cities” said Corvallis was the top city in the nation in terms of producing patents.

However, in 2013, the ATI Northwest Art & Air Festival in Albany featured a free concert by Foreigner. Yes, a FREE CONCERT BY FOREIGNER. So you have a safe city full of brainy, creative, entrepreneurial citizens versus a city that hosted a Foreigner show…

(Winner: It’s a tie! Who could’ve foreseen that outcome?! I sure didn’t! I guess the lesson is, as always, that Oregon is awesome. You know, aside from the murderers and drugs.)

Tags: Albany Oregon

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