It’s that time of year again, when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts Guinness and avoiding the pinching punishment of those who forget to wear green. It’s a magical time of year when we can all come together over a pint and look back at the man who made Ireland a serpent-free zone, your man Saint Patrick.
Most people don’t realize that the brother wasn’t even Irish. He was kidnapped from Britain when he was young and the pirates sold him as a slave to some Irish folks. He eventually escaped, but returned years later as a missionary. Tradition has it that he was responsible for converting the pagan Celts to Christianity. He was an early appreciator of a good visual aid, and used the shamrock to drop some knowledge on the locals and help them understand the concept of the holy trinity. Most awesomely, legend has it that old Padraig was able to banish every last snake from the emerald isle. Chances are there weren’t any there to begin with, but the Irish have never been known to let the truth get in the way of a good story.
What does all this have to day with the holiday we celebrate tomorrow? Absolutely nothing for most people. The masses tend to use it as an excuse to drink way more than they should, wear stupid plastic green derbies and generally act like wankers. Now far be it from me to hate on St. Paddy’s day, but I do get annoyed at the amateur night spectacle of people trying to order Guinness, trying a sip and realizing they don’t like before going back to green beer. Green food coloring in beer? Why? I find it both retarded and gross. And then there are the fuckwits who go about doing their best Lucky Charms impression and making futile attempts to riverdance.
Leave it to the professionals.
I went to a catholic school filled with Irish nuns who would frequently threatened to whack us their shillelaghs if we did not behave. St. Patrick’ s Day was the center of the school at year at St. Marys. Uniform restrictions were relaxed to allow the wearing of green. There was a day long festival where Sister Joan Grace would dance a jig and lead the entire school in several good old drinking songs. At one point, they even used the “The Wild Rover,” a song about drunken gambling and general debauchery to illustrate the biblical parable about the prodigal son. Good times.
I drink Guinness, Jameson’s, and Bushmills. I love potatoes, and I eat them like apples. I listen to Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, The Pogues, and even U2. I went to catholic school, have kissed the blarney stone, and once wrote a thesis paper on the Troubles in Northern Ireland. I have many siblings. My name is Sean MacGillivray, and Saint Patrick’s Day is mine. Leave the plastic shamrock at home.