Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
I probably disappoint but do not surprise my Catholic School teachers when I publicly admit my lack of memory of why and how St. Patrick received his beatification. Digging deep into the crevasses of my brain, I seem to recall that the story contained serpents and some kind of Pied Piper who led them out of Ireland. I do not believe that St. Patrick also drove the children out of the island country but I can’t think of too many other details. Perhaps, if St. Paddy was one of the “black Irish” he could be played by Samuel L. in the movie who could exclaim, “I’m tired of these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking island!”
On March 2 of this year, I celebrated my tenth full year without a drink of alcohol. To say the least, I didn’t quit drinking because the nightly routine at the bar had grown exceedingly fun but I’ll leave it there and anyone who wants to talk about my history with booze and illicit drugs can write or call me privately and I’ll do anything within my power to help them if they think they might have a problem. I will say one thing, if you think you may have a problem, you probably do.
Thus, St. Patrick’s Day, for me, has lost its luster. My memories of the day, having lived in New York and Boston, two cities with enormous Irish/American populations and huge parades and celebrations every March 17, recall what we serious drinkers would refer to as “amateur hour.”
St. Paddy’s day meant that a bunch of yahoos from the suburbs would invade the city and fill the bars where we typically sat and drank ourselves into oblivion and order peculiar things like green beer (typically luke warm Bud Light with food coloring in it) and drink until they felt it necessary to vomit on my shoes. Green beer vomit punctuated by chunks of corned beef and cabbage on one’s footwear is by no means a classy fashion statement.
Of course, we “full time” drinkers couldn’t miss a night at the bar so we’d sit in our appointed stools, complain about the part timers but tolerate the submersion in the revelry of the projectile vomitter drinking green Bud Light from a yard glass. Sometimes, we’d remember to wear our LL Bean duck boots as they typically made the cleaning process easier than more standard footwear which we would damage if we just hosed them off.
Other than memories of hosing puke off my boots, I only remember St. Patrick’s Day for coinciding with the NCAA Basketball Tournament which I am enjoying this year far more than I would be if I had continued drinking. In my years off the sauce, I can actually remember which teams are playing, their relative rankings and the score of the game. With the Internet, I can have one game on television and the rest easily available by streaming audio so I can jump to the one I find most interesting very quickly. Thus, when Florida, the team I want to win the whole thing, jumps out to a huge lead and the game gets boring, I can switch from the game CBS thinks I would find interesting to a closer match elsewhere. I do admit, though, that this year’s tournament, with the exception of Duke and the hated Notre Dame going down to defeat, little of true excitement, in terms of outcomes, has occurred this year.