What makes it most irritating is the fact that these small offering of participation are lackadaisical at best. It isn't talking like a pirate that's annoying, it's an ironic detachment or lack of commitment that's annoying.
I would rather my co-worker show up dressed in full "Age of Sail" apparel, blunderbuss and cutlass in hand, and charge into the office while staying in character as much as is possible for the day. A wholehearted celebration of Talk Like a Pirate Day, I can get behind. It would be fun, in the "employees showing up to work in costumes on Halloween" kind of way. You know... like when a person comes to work in their full blown Optimus Prime costume -- one where they can actually "transform" from robot to big rig. Things like that create moments where you are truly impressed with your co-workers commitment. On the other hand, when your other co-worker shows up with only a pair of "cat ears" on and a mild scowl on their face, it's annoying.
Most participation in International Talk Like a Pirate Day is of the cat ear type, and not the Optimus Prime type. That's why I still believe that it is time for the phenomenon to die. That doesn't mean that we should no longer have a day "celebrating" piracy and the outlaw attitude, or as the founder of Talk Like A Pirate Day called it "Piratitude." Pirates are still awesome (though not as awesome as Transforming Psionic Robot Pirate Ninja Dinosaur Mutant Demon Hunting Vampires), it's just that inserting random "arrrrs" like a pirate that is lame. I think gamers, and geeks of all kinds, should lay claim the holiday and re-cast it as "International Play Like A Pirate Day." That way the costume role players can cosplay pirate and other people can play pirate themed games, read pirate themed novels, or watch pirate themed films.
As I wrote a couple of yeas ago, "from now on September 19th will be a day when families and friends get together and enjoy some form of Piratical Recreation. Such recreation can include celebrating by talking like pirates, certainly role play (in the traditional sense) is play. Our celebration is inclusive, not exclusive. But families and friends will no longer be limited to listening to the 'yars' and 'aaarghs' of everyone around them. Some might choose more formal ludographic participation -- that's game play."
Here is a list of recommended activities for this year's festivities:
1) Play a pirate themed roleplaying game. In particular, we recommend Pinnacle Entertainment Group's excellent PIRATES OF THE SPANISH MAIN. This is highly recommended for those who want to talk like a pirate. It encourages such behavior in an appropriate venue. Besides, by role playing (in the game sense) participants can act far more Piratical than is allowed under modern mores and laws.
50 Fathoms instead. If you aren't a fan of the Savage Worlds system, but still want to play an excellent pirate/swashbuckling role playing game you should check out 7th Sea.
2) If you own a copy -- and not many do -- play an exciting session of the classic Broadsides and Boarding Parties
If you don't own a copy of Broadsides, try one of these two excellent pirate games from GMT Games.
3) Blackbeard: The Golden Age of Piracy. The game is a redesign of Avalon Hill's classic game of the same name. The new version is suitable for 1 to 5 players and has less "down time" for players who aren't in their current turn.
4) Winds of Plunder is a quick and fun game that is more in the style of the "Eurogame" than Blackbeard or Broadsides.
5) You can play the previously reviewed Sword and Skull.
6) Lastly, we recommend watching one of your favorite pirate films. Classics include Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk with Errol Flynn, Pirates of Penzance for those of a musical bent, and the more recent PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films. There is a long list of wonderful films filled with pirattitude, give one of them a play today.
Or you can sing "For I am a Pirate King!"