I just realized something. Saint Patrick’s Day is finally on a Saturday! Last year on March 17th, I woke to the sound of my alarm clock thinking, “This is going to be a fantastic day. I’ll put on a green tee-shirt, watch a festive parade, look for four-leaf clovers, follow rainbows in search of pots of gold, perform a few frenetic, traditional Irish dances with some lovely lasses, and partake of one, or two, or maybe…… eight or nine icy cold Guinness Extra Stoudt’s, or perhaps my favorite brew called, Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale. A few seconds later, as I hit the snooze button, I realized that it was a Tuesday, and I had to go to work. I then thought to myself, “I guess I’ll have to settle for wearing a emerald colored tie, watching people in green walk by my cubicle, picking a leaf off the plant in the lobby, listening to the sound of relentless rain, against the glass of the office’s windows, while day-dreaming of hitting the lottery, doing a spectacular somersault or two, after getting that promotion, and enjoying a few delicious Irish coffees in the cafeteria.”
Have any of you ever wondered how a solemn and religious holiday, which celebrates the life of a 5th century priest, who became the patron saint of Ireland, and helped bring Christianity to the emerald isle, has turned into a day of excessive drinking, making a fool of yourself, and being carried home by your friends at two in the morning? I guess it’s all in good fun. With all the problems in the world, maybe we need a day where we can all come together in peace and harmony. I was once told that on Saint Patrick’s Day – everyone is Irish. So, if you happen to be enjoying a wee bit of ale at your local pub; take a look around. Walk up to that nice young African-American man with the tee-shirt that says, “I’m from the Irish hood,” or that sweet, elderly, Hispanic woman with the beautiful green sweater, and do me a favor. Buy them a shot of Irish whiskey, or a pint of green beer, and say, “Patrick says hey.”
Do you know that more than thirty-four million Americans list their heritage as being primarily, or partially Irish? That’s seven times larger than the entire population of Ireland. Did you notice that on Saint Patrick’s Day that number doubles or triples? I have a good friend named Hoshi Nakamura. He came to America from Japan as an exchange student years ago, decided to stay, and a few years back became a U.S. citizen. He’s about as Irish, as me being from the planet Mars; though my wife swears I am. Every Saint Patrick’s Day, Hoshi dons a leprechaun outfit, and spends the day talking in a thick Irish brogue. He tells me all the time that he went to a site called 23andme.com, and had his ancestry traced. DNA testing showed he was: 56% Japanese, 20% Korean, 12% Chinese,10% Polynesian, which includes a mix of Samoan, Tongan, and New Zealand’s Maori, and 2% Irish. I guess, I’ll let him enjoy being a little bit Irish. Besides; seeing him cavorting around in a leprechaun costume is sooooo cool.
I’ve always wondered why Saint Patrick’s Day, is now often called Saint Patty’s Day here in America. In Ireland it’s referred to as Saint Paddy’s Day. Do you think, when he hears the name Patty, Saint Patrick is turning over in his grave? If he were here now, he’d probably be saying, “Patty? Why, that was me sister’s name. Call me Patty, will ye. I just might bring all them snakes back to bite the crap out of ye. When yur knee-deep in slithering reptiles, you’ll be calling me Patrick soon enough. That you can be sure of.” Do you think the legends are true? Did Saint Patrick really drive all the snakes out of Ireland? Maybe they rented a U-Hall truck and moved themselves. They might have even gotten tired of Irishmen stumbling out of pubs at three in the morning, and stepping on them. If he did rid Ireland of snakes, where did they go, and how did they get there? Imagine, the amazing sight of millions of snakes gathered at the edge of the Irish Sea as their leader speaks. “Okay guys, we’ve got to make a break for England. That old guy up on the hill with the big stick, isn’t using it for firewood. It’s going to be a rough swim, but if we stick together we can make it. If you start having trouble, just remember to keep moving your arms, and kicking your feet………..Hey, wait a minute……arms?…..feet?…….Oh crap! “Do you think that maybe Saint Patrick overlooked a snake or two? I guess it wouldn’t be any consolation if you got bit outside Flannigan’s pub after downing a few pints, dropped to the ground in pain, and as things were going dark, heard Saint Patrick say, “Whoops, sorry. Missed one.”
There is one thing about Saint Patrick’s Day that bothers me – leprechauns (except for Japanese ones). Maybe it’s the way they’re portrayed in movies that creeps me out. Have you seen any of those leprechaun movies? I just watched one called, “Leprechaun: Back to the Hood.” I could be wrong, but wouldn’t you think a waist high, gnarly old man, with a silly hat, and wearing bright green knickers, might just stick out a little in the hood? Is there anyone out there who is really afraid of a leprechaun? Have any of you ever experienced a horrific nightmare involving an evil, demonic, and relentless fiend who haunted the deepest and darkest recesses of your mind? Was it a monster so terrifying, that you awoke in a cold sweat, and couldn’t return to peaceful slumber? Was this hideous and unstoppable killing machine, three feet tall, had skinny bowed legs, a disproportionately large head, and little dinosaur arms? Did he wobble back and forth as he ran after you yelling, “I want me gold?” Oh, the horror. I’m shivering, just thinking about it.
How many of you eat traditional Irish fare on Saint Patrick’s Day? There’s some delicious food to eat, courtesy of our good friends across the sea. I love shepherd’s pie, Irish soda bread, boxty, which is potato pancakes, a mix of sausage, bacon, and potatoes known as coddle, and Irish stew with lamb or mutton, carrots, and potatoes. Every Saint Patrick’s Day my wife will make the same thing – corned beef and cabbage. Since, I hate cabbage, I always ask her if we can break tradition, and order Chinese takeout. I even volunteer to buy some dye, and color the Lo Mein noodles green. She always says, “Patrick, this is a family tradition, just like Thanksgiving.” Sometimes traditions go a little off the rails. Have any of you gone to your in-laws on turkey day with the anticipation of an enormous, moist and delicious bird with sides of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and corn? As you sat down, anticipating a magnificent feast, did your mother-in-law come out of the kitchen with an entire wild boar on a huge platter? If yes; how did you feel? Well, it ruined my supposed Thanksgiving tradition – but that’s another story.
I better get going. I just finished a delicious bowl of Lucky Charms cereal for breakfast, which I’m happy to say was magically delicious. I’m now going to dye my golden retriever, Chase’s fur green, before leaving for work. I know it’s silly, but he loves Saint Patty’s Day. Every year, for one incredible day, he becomes an Irish setter.