What the shivering timbers?

“Ahoy, Baba Yaga,” me friend sez to me the other day she sez. ”It was all ‘shiver me timbers’ on Talk Like a Pirate Day. What does that mean anyway?” Well mateys, here be what I knows and what I thinks about it.

Blog13-DadThe first time I heard of they shivering timbers I be but a witchling. Me pirate dad he whammed his thumb with a hammer. He started out going “Aw, shi…,” but then he spied me watching him so he finished up with “…ver me timbers.” I asked him what that “shiver me timbers” meant when it be at home.

Blog13-TimbersHe told me they timbers be the ribs of a ship. When a storm blows in it picks up the ship then slaps her back down. That be making her timbers shiver. The swabbies they gets all surprised and mayhaps a bit afeared so they sez to each other they sez, “Shiver me timbers.”

Arr, “shiver me timbers” it be a mock curse on account of you can say it and even yer grandmother not be giving you the stink eye. Son of a son of a sea dog, that be giving me a killer idea. Why not we be writing our own mock curses? That be making they lingo live and grow. More on that next time. But for now, may yer timbers never shiver.

…but wait mateys, thar be more twisty pirate talking!

So when a lubber sez to another lubber he sez, “Hey John, the boss told me to show you the ropes,” it means he be teaching John about they job. Stap me vitals, that be a waste of a epic phrase!

Here be how I sees it going down. Say you gots you a swabby with some important poop he not be spilling. You dangles they ropes in front of his mug like so:

Blog11-rope

When he spots those ropes he be singing his guts out like as if he be in a fancy schmancy opera. Yo ho ho, he be telling you things you not even be asking.