Like all reputable religious institutions, the local St. NFL church that I attend throughout the fall and winter places a great emphasis on holiday activities. Some of the important celebrations that we try to use as an excuse to avoid work responsibilities are obvious, as much reverence is placed on Super Bowl Sunday and the first day of the NFL draft.

However, one of the biggest holidays celebrated at St. NFL is the National Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 19. Obviously, with team names like the Raiders and the Buccaneers, the NFL has placed a great emphasis on outreach to the pirate community. It has gallantly used the imagery surrounding these teams to send the political message that Pirate Lives Matter.

So, St. NFL adherents celebrate this particular brand of diversity every September by devoting a day to learning to better communicate with all of our pirate friends. Unfortunately, Chanute seemed to be lacking in venues to properly celebrate this very important holiday. 

This year, parishioners from our church found the best place to observe sacred Talk Like A Pirate Day rituals – Krispy Kreme Donuts in Overland Park. In an attempt to better serve the pirate community, this company was generously offering one free donut to any customer who would talk like a pirate and a dozen free donuts to customers dressed like pirates on September 19.

So I went on a pilgrimage last weekend with a group of local St. NFL parishioners to represent the community at this sacred observance. I spent about $20 on my pirate Halloween costume and accessories at the local Wal-Mart, and another $30 on gas to get our group to the suburbs of Kansas City and back, as a way of obtaining $8 worth of Krispy Kreme donuts. It was clearly a very cash-efficient decision.

While we were leaving Krispy Kreme with our dozen hard-earned donuts, some fellow celebrants of this holiday complimented us on the great accuracy of our $20 Wal-Mart pirate costumes and asked if we were going to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. They informed us that Kansas City has one of the biggest events of this type in the country, and that anyone interested in learning about outreach to the pirate community should consider attending. We decided to extend our little mission trip with a visit to the Renaissance Festival.

For those who have never been enough of a geek to visit a Renaissance Festival before, these events attempt to replicate what it is would have been like to visit an English village in the 15th century. Attendees of these festivals spend an entire day eating turkey legs, while watching skilled professionals joust, juggle and jest.  

Much of this entertainment consisted of people affecting an old-fashioned mindset employing flowery language to try to insult each other. It was a lot like watching Chanute City Commission meetings.

Pirates were well-represented at the Renaissance Festival, so St. NFL parishioners got plenty of opportunities to practice and perfect our pirate-talking skills. Plus, we learned several interesting things at the Renaissance Festival. For instance, insults tend to be less hurtful if they are followed with the phrases “my Lord” or “my Lady.” I might start to put this in practice when I interview local politicians in the future.

This kind of festival also presents some interesting people-watching opportunities. Some attendees clearly invested a lot more money on period costumes than members of my church spent on our gear. Of course, the effect of this kind of historical accuracy is negated when they wear modern eyeglasses, drink big cups of Pepsi-Cola, and spend most of the day staring at their smartphones while waiting in line for the ATM.

Plus, I doubt that the day-to-day life of most Renaissance villagers really revolved around watching funny fire jugglers, harp musicians, and stuntmen on horseback smashing each other with poles. Most people back then were probably too busy struggling to pay for taxes, food, and fixing their hovels. I can’t imagine anyone in that situation actually found the Renaissance to be that worthy of celebration.

Attending this festival ultimately made me glad I live in an era that is better than that period of time in almost every way: indoor plumbing, Netflix, reliably-cooked food at festival concession stands, advanced medicine that involves neither bloodletting nor leeches, and the probability of maybe living past the age of three.

All things considered, day-to-day lives are much better now than they would have been back then. It would have been a total pain back then to try to get turkey-leg stains out of a pirate costume without a washing machine and modern laundry products.

Spending a good deal of time pretending to live in the past before these technological and other types of progressive advancements were achieved seems totally unnecessary. However, celebrating the past this way with a group of St. NFL missionaries proved to be a very fun way to spend a fruitful and productive Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Please send all questions, comments, hate mail, marriage proposals, and invitations to future local pirate-centric events to brian@chanute.com

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