*CROSS-POSTED TO PLAN C*
This past Monday my collaborator Suzanne Kilgore and I re-wrote the libretto for “Call of Cthulhu: The Opera” (hopefully coming to the Toronto Fringe and/or Summerworks Festival, 2011).
Act 3, of course, takes place on board a disreputable semi-pirate ship in the south seas. We felt the evil Sea Captain was starting to sound too PG Wodehouse-y, so the following line ended up being included:
Sea Captain: Put me in a halo and call me Mary!
That, of course, is not genuine sailor slang.
Here’s some genuine sailor slang:
WHIPJACK, a sham shipwrecked sailor, also called a TURNPIKE SAILOR.
BOOM-PASSENGER, a convict on board ship.
LAND-SHARK, a sailor’s definition of a lawyer.
JACK NASTY-FACE, a sailor.
SKATES-LURK, a begging impostor dressed as a sailor.
TO “SLING THE HATCHET”: to skulk.
TRUCK-GUTTED, pot-bellied or corpulent.
YARMOUTH MITTENS, bruised hands.
SKY-SCRAPER, a tall man.
SCOTCH COFFEE, biscuits toasted and boiled in water. (Editor’s note: EW!)
OH BE JOYFUL, a bottle of rum.
Source: John Camden Hotten’s 1864 masterpiece “The Slang Dictionary”, readable on Google Books.
I’m going to go sling the hatchet with an Oh Be Joyful. Let’s hope no one gives me a pair of Yarmouth mittens, because then I’d have to hire a land-shark and he’s take all my money so I’d end up drinking Scotch Coffee and going about as a skates-lurk.
(I don’t know if any of this is useful in Call of Cthulhu, but it’s still awesome.)