Yep, nothing like having a holiday who's mascot is a drunken midget with a horrendous accent, is there?
As an Italian Boy, I've always been of the mind that I'd rather be Dead than Irish, but I have to admit that the Irish can certainly parrrrr-taaaay with the best of 'em! After the Brazilians and Spanish, the Irish are perhaps the greatest partiers on Planet Earth, in terms of purest debauchery. Why, the streets of New York this evening will be full of belligerent drunkards, leaving huge puddles of green vomit all over the place -- that's when they aren't leaving puddles of green urine in every convenient alleyway and upon every vertical surface.
Lions marking their territory are, by comparison, exceedingly clean.
For one day, everyone becomes Irish...or at least pants-shitting drunk.
Of course, the usual St. Patrick's Day controversy in New York -- whether or not Gays should be allowed to march in the Parade -- will be debated...again. Considering this is a holiday symbolized by a fat pixie with bad fashion sense, I don't see the problem. What's gayer than a leprechaun, after all? But there are Irish who still hold to the last vestiges of Roman Catholicism, if only for show, and so the same fight happens annually. I think, not that I care, that gays have been allowed to march in the parade for a few years now, but I'm too lazy to actually find out.
And what any of this has to do with either St. Patrick or Ireland is beyond my understanding. If it's supposed to be a religious holiday I never hear of anyone attending mass for it, and the only kneeling in prayer-like solemnity that seems to get done is the sort that usually precedes the technicolor yawn into the good, Ol' American Standard. If it's a cultural holiday,then what culture, exactly, are we celebrating? The True Irish culture which is gentle, learned, civilized, calling upon a long and wealthy lineage back to the days of Celtic Europe -- or the culture of the drunken retard, Guinness Stout, Identity Politics and Potato Famines?
Most of the hub-bub about St. Patrick's Day, at least in how we celebrate it today, is a relic of the 17th and 18th century, not the 4th-5th Century, which is when St. Patrick was supposed to have lived.
I usually avoid going out on St. Patrick's Day, if I can avoid it, if only because people seem to believe they've been given license to behave like absolute Huns because of the calendar. The drinking always leads to the same laundry list of problems; public brawling, sexual assaults, streets full of piss and puke, at least a dozen seriously-injured cops and at least 50 bias crimes.
I used to partake of those time-honored traditions, too ... but that was when I was an alcoholic. None of that stuff makes any sense or seems very fun unless one is inebriated. I've grown out of that, I should like to think.
I'm certain St. Patrick would approve not (if he were still alive), and that somehow all of this debauchery fulfills some deep-seated need. The only thing I truly miss about being part of the "festivities" is listening to the one overly-devoted inebriate who actually knows the history of the Irish struggle against...well...everything, going all the way back to the Romans. And he's determined to tell you the entire story, pausing only long enough to order another shot of Jamieson's, and scratch his balls in public.
He can make the tale, which is sort of like the Irish version of "Roots", almost seem like the romantic epic of an entire nation. But then you remember that the other 364 days a year this guy is supposed to be giving communion, and you secretly wish you could be a fly on the wall for his confession tomorrow. There's got to be at least one altar boy in there somewhere.
By the way, tomorrow is the Feast of St. Joseph, the patron Saint of Italy, which passes every year with very little fanfare -- primarily because Italians don't take every excuse they can find to get rip-roarin' drunk and violent. We have a Mafia to do that for us. I don't actually believe in Saints and Feast Days, and I certainly find the concept of an Irish Holiday which commemorates a Briton, to be highly amusing and somewhat ironic. Point that out to an Irishman in his cups and just watch his head explode.
And everything tastes better without green food coloring in it. It certainly doesn't make anything look more appetizing, that's for sure.
So, Happy St. Patrick's Day to anyone sober enough to read this!
Oh, and I'm kidding.
Update: A short dissertation on Irish slang.