Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
Today is March 17, the one day when everyone is Irish – St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, there are a lot more people living in America who claim to be Irish then there are Irish people living in Ireland. They celebrate by drinking beer, eating corned beef and cabbage, wearing green, and drinking green beer. Oh, and drinking beer until they turn green. Since only the Irish get to do this, everybody else becomes honorary Irish for the day. That way we all get to drink beer, not to mention Irish whiskey. (Even those of us who don’t like the taste of either.)
Paddy o’Flaherty used to stop into the same pub every night, and he’d always order three pints of Guinness. The barman said, “You’d be better to order them one at a time so they don’t go flat.” Paddy replied, “Ah, but they aren’t all for me, you see. I have a brother in America and another one down in Australia. I drink a Guinness for each of them so I can remember the good times we’ve had.
One day Paddy comes into the pub and only orders two pints. The barman says, “Oh, I’m so sorry, Paddy. Which brother did you lose.” “Oh, it’s nothing like that. They’re both fine. But the doctor says I have to stop drinking, so I didn’t order one for meself.”
Beer – It’s good for what ales you. Or so we hear.
Snakes. Why Did It Have to be Snakes?
Historically, there’s perfectly good precedent for everyone being Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick himself wasn’t born in Ireland. He was a Welshman who went to Ireland to convert the heathen. Apparently “heathen” is the Irish word for “heather” and St. Patrick converted quite a lot of green heather to church property or such. He was also known for convincing wealthy women to become nuns, another important source of green for the church. All in all, St. Patrick clearly had a gift for the green.
St. Patrick is renowned for driving the snakes out of Ireland. Some cynics point out that Ireland never had native snakes. But so what if they weren’t native? Just because the snakes refused to wear loin cloths and ceremonial feather headdresses is no good reason for discrimination.
Perhaps someday I’ll be known as the man who drove the aardvarks out of California. It’s not that I meant to do that; it’s just that I had a few unfortunate casualties during my grand quest of teaching the aardvarks to fly.
Despite everything being green, St. Patrick’s Day is not the same thing as Earth Day. That’s celebrated on April 22, and is about making things grow; I’m not sure beer is even involved. They’re both green holidays, though, so any confusion is understandable. Then there’s Arbor Day, but that’s usually in April too. So March on to the beat of a different bodhran on St. Patrick’s Day.
His head bowed, the brewer foreman comes up to Mrs. o’Flaherty and says, “I’m so sorry about your son Paddy. I’m afraid he drowned in a vat of beer.”
“Ah, the poor laddie; he never had a chance!”
“Well,” says the foreman, “I’m not so sure of that. He did climb out three times to visit the bathroom.”
No matter how important your work, or how engrossing that role-playing game, sometimes you need to take a break. Otherwise you might end up like poor Paddy. Grab a brewksi or some green tea, put on some Irish music, kick up your feet and relax. Or dance a jig. Or get together with some Morris Men and try not to break anything with your sticks.
Dublin or Nothing
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
Travel is broadening, especially when you visit a place renowned for its potatoes, soda bread, and beer. Why not fit a visit to the Emerald Isle into your schedule? I recently had to turn down a job interview with an online poker developer in Dublin, but I very much regretted it. I would have liked to visit Ireland, see the sights, and catch some music. A bit of gamboling, but no time for gambling.
Incidentally, despite the rocky soil, there is no true rock music in Ireland. Since the Irish traditional music influence seems to creep into everything else, all they have is sham rock. Clover line, don’t you think? Don’t worry; it will grow on you.
Until next year, then:
May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.