Today is March 17th, 2010. Which means it’s Saint Patrick’s Day.
Big fucking whoop-de-do.
I’ve always hated this day. Seriously. Nothing against the Irish per say you know. On my mother’s side of the family, there’s English. As a child she grew up in Liverpool. Going further into her background, she can trace it back to Ireland and Scotland. You still won’t catch me wearing any green on March 17th, and I’ll tell you why.
As a native New Yorker, I hate parades. I just really hate them. The last parade I truly enjoyed was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, 1999. Yeah, I got a few beads from various parade floats, big whoop. However, I didn’t show any boobs.
However, I digress. Let’s focus on one of the most annoying parades ever, especially in New York City; The Saint Patrick’s Day parade. The parade in honor of the holiday I truly detest the most. Good old St. Patrick.
A bit of quick history about Saint Patrick. Supposedly he did exist. His birth could be traced to either 385 AD or 387 AD, and he died around 461 AD or 493 AD. At age 16 he was taken captive from Britain, and made to be a slave in Ireland for about six years. St. Patrick heard God whispering in his ear, and soon escaped. Now safe in Britain, this dude heard yet another voice from above, urging him to go back to Ireland as a missionary. So after many years in training, he went back to in the hopes of Christian conversion. Now this gets murky because the story of Saint Patrick tends to get exaggerated quite a bit. The person formerly known as Maewyn Succat is credited for converting most Irish folks. It was believed that most Irish folks were practicing a more nature-based spiritual belief system, similar to Paganism, and/or Celtic Druidism. Please keep in mind that further confusion is due to the fact that very little contemporary evidence about the original Druids exists. Particularly since their knowledge was passed on within an oral tradition.
So Patrick was made a hero cause supposedly he ‘drove the snakes out of Ireland.’ This is complete and utter bullshit. Ireland never had any snakes to begin with, and there’s scientific proof of this fact. So in regard to this, ‘driving the snakes out of Ireland’ is more of a metaphor of converting pagans into good God-fearing Christian sheep. In the Judeo-Christian mythos, snakes are looked upon as a symbol of evil and temptation. The best known example is probably that hussy Eve and how some nasty reptile tempted her in The Garden of Eden. Eve got down with Adam, which ruined everything. Blame it on the snake.
Which leads to one of the main reasons why I loathe this holiday. Basically this is just a celebration about how one religion trampled over another culture. Yay! Let’s drink to that!
If you’re still reading this blog post, you’re probably sensing my sarcasm steeping through. Very good! Here’s a Jameson shot for ya.
St. Patty’s Day started out as a Christian holy day, but it’s more renown as a secular celebration. The saint himself died on March 17th, hence, the feast known as St. Patrick’s Day. On this day of the 17th, they have parades. Saint Patrick Day parades. New York City, where I’m from, is known for the biggest parade to rule them all. Did I mention how much I hate parades?
Parades are supposed to be fun. No they are not. They’re annoying. Parades block up traffic, and makes it harder to arrive to work or school on time. Makes it hard to get around in general. Thanks to people coming in from the suburbs, subways, buses and streets are ten times more crowded than usual. More ugly people to look at. Ugh. Of course, since many of these parade spectators live in the suburbs, they take on this persona of “whatever happens in the city stays in the city.” Basically allowing themselves an excuse to act like the touristy morons that they truly are. Then there’s the alcohol. Add beer, get instant asshole.
Hey, I’m not knocking drinking. Not too proud to admit I’ve acted like a drunken fool many a time. At least I’ve done it with style. However, there is nothing more irritating than some bridge and tunnel jackass swilling in public drunken ignorance.
While we’re at it, why don’t we all go ahead and wolf down corned beef and cabbage. Here’s another round of Guinness. Woohoo! Way to go. Let’s continue to perpetrate annoying stereotypes. It’s okay, you’re Irish, you’re supposed to get drunk. Oh. Okay. Here’s a shot of Kilbeggan. Aww shoot, now you’re on the floor. Because you’re supposed to be rip-roaring drunk on St. Patty’s Day. Hey, what’s that accessory on your green sweatshirt? Oh, it’s puke. Now you’re a hangover martyr. Hope you die of alcohol poisoning you dipshit.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong of being proud of who you are, and your roots. I just think there’s better ways of celebrating your heritage. So read Yeats and James Joyce. Listen to Sinead O’ Connor, Stiff Little Fingers, The Pogues. Oh wait…The Pogues…bad example.
Thin Lizzy anyone? I’ll even take early U2. Just as long as its not Black 47 and that Riverdance crap. Please. Anything but that.
So on Saint Patrick’s Day, feed your friendly pet snake. Besides, Guinness may be nice, but Smithwick tastes much better.