It’s Saint Patrick’s Day Eve, which means that in Wichita, and hundreds of other cities around this great Irish nation of ours, people have already started getting drunk. Can you blame them? You don’t want St. Paddy’s Day to dawn without being three sheets to the wind, thoroughly in the bag, blasted, blotto, bombed and besotted. Sure, it’s the middle of the week. But any time’s the right time for feeling no pain.
Still, I think I’ll pass this time. The thing is, I’m not Irish. I have no green cellophane derbies, no oversized shamrocks, no t-shirts emblazoned with leering leprechauns and pidgin Gaelic. I visited Ireland once and loved it, and I also enjoy a bit of Bushmill’s now and then. And it goes without saying that my fake Irish accent is indistinguishable from the real thing. But I refuse to stagger around with a green beer and a neckful of garish beads on St. Patrick’s Day. Why? Because I think the people doing that now were doing the same thing just last month. Only then the beads and the beer weren’t green.
That’s the problem with St. Patrick’s Day: It follows too closely behind Mardi Gras, and all of the peripheral boozefests that Mardi Gras begets. How else do you explain the stupid beads? Did St. Patrick dole them out to game lasses who would lift up their tops? I don’t think so. But somehow every holiday that isn’t Thanksgiving has devolved into an episode of Girls Gone Wild — and shirtless guys gone nauseous. Mix in a few million gallons of emerald green, and you’ve got St. Patrick’s Day.
Believe me, it doesn’t have much to do with being Irish. Or pretending to be. They didn’t even celebrate St. Patrick’s Day until the Americans started to first. It doesn’t have much to do with corned beef and cabbage either — which, according to reports, tastes a lot better going down than it does coming back up. This holiday is all about the booze. And you can tell ’em Seamus O’Knadler said so.
I never much understood the concept of the holiday. Drinking yourself stupid in a saint’s name just doesn’t seem to stay afloat in the vat of green beer.
But hey, closest things I have to Irish-ness are my name and my college, so what do I know eh?