Notes from St. Patrick’s Day

I was surprised to find that St. Patrick’s Day had come early this year. My first encounter with someone celebrating the holiday was on a Wednesday, five days before the actual event. I was on my lunch break, lunting through downtown with my pipe and spotted a man with a green cowboy hat sporting flashing lights along the rim. I could have assumed that this was the man’s usual attire but it was safe to say with the drunken smirk on his face as he stepped into his car, that he was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, in the middle of the week.
This wasn’t the last early spotting of St. Patrick’s Day debauchery. Let’s remind ourselves what St. Patrick’s Day is all about. This catholic priest comes to the island of Ireland and converts the locals after performing the miracle of running the snakes away. Years later historians would translate the use of snakes to mean prostitutes. Who knows what is true or why this person has their own day? From what I’m told the day isn’t celebrated in Ireland, and if it is, they don’t do it anyway close to how we celebrate it. I was walking to my car on Thursday night and in a completely lit alley between a shitty dive bar and the local State Theater I spotted something out of the corner of my eye. I thought for a moment that maybe a bum was being attacked or someone was hurt, but no, instead it was a couple who was in the middle of a full-blown fuck fest. The alley was lit up with LED lights and there wasn’t a dumpster or corner to hide behind. They were out in the open and from what I could tell in those few seconds they had no inhibitions of what they were doing. As I walked by and tried to ignore what was happening the young man looked over at me, he wasn’t mortified or ashamed of what was happening, instead he smiled a creepy smirk of satisfaction that said “oh ya,” and continued on as if he didn’t have a care in the world. That was Thursday night.
Friday night was the official start for St. Patrick’s Day for some local bars and clubs and it brought out the lowest of the low from all around town. Kalamazoo isn’t a large city and while we have some good things going for us, we are in no way in short supply of our own degenerates and retards. Unable to move my car earlier that night I found myself walking the same path where I spotted the couple the night before and found the streets were busy. The local brewery that I work at on the side was filled and the front of Harvey’s on the Mall was packed with local smokers enjoying their cancer sticks. The alley was being used to unload the band Tab Benoit who had just performed a show that night.
On the corner of the Blue Dolphin I noticed several people lingering outside and flashing lights protruding into the streets. The restaurant had been turned into a nightclub/ rave and the nearby parking lots were packed with cars. In the lot where I park my car, the same spot I pay for every month, I found myself surrounded by cars who failed the parking portion of their driving course and didn’t give a shit about the other people around them. Then there was the guy that was pretending to be on his cell phone. How did I know he was pretending, because he never shut up. He was having a conversation with himself and never let the other person speak, but was responding as if they had given him a full paragraph sized answer to reply to. Not to mention he was looking into the window of a car that he immediately walked away from and weaved in and out of the cars as if he was lost. He kept working his way closer to me and I waited to see if I would have to use my windshield scraper on his face as I cleaned off the inch layer of snow. More people arrived and the man moved towards the back of the lot and disappeared. I own a small car and having said that I expect to not have problems pulling out of parking spots but of course I had to do some insane defensive driving through the clusterfuck of handicapped parkers I was surrounded by. It’s not the handicapped drivers I have a problem with, it’s the people who haven’t figured out over the years what the damn lines are for.
Saturday had us visiting the local brewery and enjoying a pint or two while watching the slew of pretend Irish people stumble through the streets and almost fall on their faces as they climbed down the stairs to the restrooms. People wore beads and the only one I thought might have earned them was the girl from Wednesday night. I saw some Connor McGregor shirts, kiss me I’m Irish, green shirt referring to Irish pot leaves, Fuck me I’m Irish, I’m only Irish for the day, and Soccer jerseys with the Irish flag. Groups of people crossed streets without reading the sign causing cars to screech to a halt and almost run them over. Vomit covered the toilet in the basement with chunks of Lucky Charms stuck to the rim of the bowl. The menu special of the day was a corned beef and sour kraut pizza with thousand island dressing.
I found out three years ago that I am part Irish although the percentage is in debate. Even before I learned this, I never had an inkling to pretend to be Irish or prove how much of a badass I could be by drinking myself into a vomiting fit. St. Patrick’s Day is the one day where responsibility is thrown out the window along with the baby and the bathwater and nobody gives a fuck about anything. They might as well change the name to Irish Mardi Gras. We had our two beers and went home practically sober. My wife who is 100% German could likely drink half of these Irish wannabes under the table. As for myself I have had my share of hung-over mornings and have nothing to prove to anyone. On the way home we stopped at another brewery called Brite Eyes and ended the evening with a night cap in an empty bar. The location might have been the problem for the people who were crawling around downtown. Across the street is the main police station in full view of the windows. Not the place to become fucked up even during a holiday.
We woke up Sunday morning and while it really was St. Patrick’s Day, we had no ambition to go out and have another drink. Instead we worked on the house, make lunch for the rest for the rest of the week, did some shopping, and later I took my daughter for a walk. I walked by Brite Eyes to find the bar dead, completely empty, there wasn’t a single soul in the place except for the bartender. I heard the same thing on YouTube from Chicago. The city was dead, likely all the assholes who partied on Saturday were too hung over to have another go of it. The river was green. People would be shitting green for a week from the crappy green colored beer they ingested all day. Restaurants and bars were over staffed and people were sent home breathing a sigh of relief that they didn’t have to attend to drunk assholes who wouldn’t tip them. I have no links to my Irish roots. I don’t know who in my family was Irish or when they came here. After trying a handful of different single malt whiskeys, I have to say that while I’m not opposed to the drink and think it taste “okay” it really isn’t for me. I don’t enjoy soccer and I can’t watch Irish movies due to not understand a single person in those damn things. I have never been attracted to red heads and Connor McGregor is a great showman but not a good fighter. I don’t care who will be offended by this. The only day that the Irish are celebrated in this country is the same day that everyone acts like an asshole stereotype and make the Irish look like a bunch of degenerate fucks. Maybe if you want to celebrate your Irish roots you should sit down and read Ulysses or drink a real Irish beverage like whiskey instead of green shitty beer. Don’t want to be insulted than don’t be an ass. If your feelings are hurt than find a copy of the Crying Game and have a few shots, cut out the middle man of fake fun and drinking and move on to being depressed, isn’t that what being Irish is all about?