Oh St. Patrick’s Day. Believed to be the day most-revered by drinkers. Why, it’s the one holiday whose central focal point is getting sloshed (I’m told New Year’s Eve is actually about some sort of time-changing event – the sloshed part is supplementary). You can be punk in drublic and while you’ll still be arrested for it, at least there’ll be a bunch of other drunks cheering you on. It’s the greatest holiday ever!
The reality is that St. Patty’s Day is one of the worst holidays. And yes, I am aware of the irony of making that statement being who I am (a redheaded Patrick). I appreciate the initial intent of the holiday as a means to combat the fact that Irish immigrants were everyone’s favorite ethnicity to dump on during the early days of US history. But none of that heritage has remained (Hell, corned beef and cabbage isn’t even a traditional Irish dish). The people who think so fondly about St. Patrick’s day are really just a bunch of wannabe drunks celebrating the fact that they’re 1/16th Irish and 100% douche.
That’s at the heart of the problem with this day. Drinking used to mean something. You’d have pain you need to drink away. Courage you need to gain. You were bored. Having a pitcher of green watered-down beer does not make you a drinker. A true drinker spends the evening brooding silently over a whiskey while other patrons avoid him, lest he ramble on about his ideas regarding cat roommates and owning dragons. A true drinker would not wear plastic hats and shout and vomit unabashedly in the street. A true drinker does this in the privacy of his own home, and only on the rare occasions does he venture out to the bar to have his bartender roommate buy him one too many tequila shots, which she knows he doesn’t like doing but she does anyway because she thinks it’s funny.
No, these faux drinkers are sullying an otherwise perfectly-sullied tradition of drinking. And they will use St. Patrick’s day to invoke a most dreaded event — the bar crawl. Here’s the general idea of a bar crawl. Everyone intentionally go to a bar at the same time so that every bar you go to will be packed, making it impossible to get a drink. Then, when you finally get a drink, chug it because by that time everyone’s leaving to make the next bar completely packed for no reason. What a true drinker wants is an empty bar, not a full one. You want a place where your grunts indicating you’re ready for a refill are heard. A place where you can properly exercise the true nature of your loneliness. A place with ample seating.
Why, I remember a time when you’d spend an entire evening in a bar, and it wasn’t socially acceptable. Times like every day that’s not St. Patty’s Day. But these fair-weather drinkers show up on March 17th and ruin what otherwise would have been a perfectly good day to spend in a dingy, low-lit bar. Where’s the commitment in drinkers these days? Where’s the pride? It’s gotten to the point that I’ll actually avoid bars on St. Patrick’s Day. If that doesn’t shine a light on the sad state of our society, I don’t know what will.
So sure, let’s celebrate the fact that we’re kinda-sorta Irish at one point, we think. Let’s revel in the notion that the best way to celebrate this kinda-sorta fact is by drinking. But let’s not do it with all the flash and none of the substance. Let’s show who we assume to be our Irish ancestors that we really mean it. Let’s drink not just on Tuesday, but on Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday, and make sure to give our livers at least two days of respite. So what do you say? First one’s on me.