So back in 2004, I worked at a company that decided to have a St Patrick’s Day party that was meant to be fun during a stressful work cycle, but all it did was serve to really tick me off. So I wrote a blog entry about it, venting about the things that really got under my skin about St Patrick’s Day as a person of proud Irish heritage. Somehow it got discovered by an Irish cultural blog, was linked to and reposted a few places, and suddenly I had what would be the second-biggest influx to my blog in its history. Several thousand people read the entry, and probably even more at the places that reposted it.
Unfortunately, I unexpectedly lost the domain the entry lived at a couple of years ago, and going through a database backup is a pain in the neck for both me and my hosting provider, so I hadn’t been able to find that entry for a long time. Thanks, however, to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, I was able to find a good copy of the the entry, and I think it is a good thing to repost here at Pog Mo Thoin. I have mellowed a little over the past eight years, but not a lot. And the final sentence is still as true as ever.
Beannachtai na Féile Pádraig oraibh!
March 17, 2004
I started my St Patrick’s Day off right, by shoveling my car out after we got seven or eight inches of sneachta overnight. This put me in the exact frame of mind to post a little diatribe called “Why I Hate Saint Patrick’s Day”.
My office is having a mini celebration including a “Who Can Wear The Most Green” contest, a “Guess The Number Of Gold Coins In The Pot Of Gold” thing, and I’m sure there will be drinking. In the past fifteen years, I have had exactly one alcoholic beverage on March 17th, and that was a pint of plain at a pub listening to some traditional Irish pub music. There are a number of different reasons I don’t drink on this day, and actually a fair number of them have nothing to do with St Patrick’s Day, at least not directly. But nothing gets under my skin faster than seeing a bunch of people wearing god-awful green outfits and buttons and flowers and plastic hats and drinking green beer, getting shitfaced, and calling that “celebrating the Irish”. A friend of mine told me that one of his co-workers was planning to do a pub crawl starting at 6 this morning. And of course, the ever-popular “Kiss me, I’m Irish, As Long As You’re Straight, Otherwise Get The Fook Out Of Our Parades.”
So as a good Irishman, I’m proposing the following: during events we import from other cultures, I’m going to commemorate the occasion by celebrating those cultures.
February is Black History Month. I’m going to wear a bunch of minstrel show blackface, eat a lot of watermelon, fried chicken and wash it down with a 40 ounce Colt 45.
Octoberfest? I’m going to wear a military uniform, beat up some Jewish people, and maybe invade the local Polish neighborhood.
Bastille Day? Striped shirt, beret, wine, condescending attitude, and I think I’ll cower in fear at anyone that even looks at me menacingly.
Rosh Hashannah? That one’s tricky, but I think I’ll grow those cool curls at my temples, wear a big fake nose, complain about how badly the world treats me, and raise your interest rate.
Anyhow, instead of going out and just getting shitfaced while wearing a shirt featuring a mooning leprechaun, take a little time and learn about the history and culture of Ireland. Read about Cúchulainn,Brian Barou, and Easter 1916. Find out why 1847 has such a perky nickname in Ireland. Hell, go watch Michael Collins.
Oh, and if I catch you drinking a green beer, I’m knocking your ass down.