So I was just on a run and came across this scene at a local bar (Sandbar in Mission Beach San Diego). I usually like to stay off the soap box but if ever there was a time, now is that time.
Many of you are going to celebrate St Patrick’s day on Monday (or even today if you’re a true pre-gamer) and I thought I’d prepare a handy little how-to guide for you.
Jon O's guide to St Patrick's Day
Having spent the first 14 plus years of my life in Ireland I can tell you the Irish are a very proud culture. We are grateful that you have chosen one of our legends to celebrate, but if you actually talk to someone who is from Ireland this St Patrick’s day here is a list of things you should definitely not ask.
Q: Do you eat lucky charms?
A: The answer is no and now I think you’re an idiot. We actually don’t wean our kids on type II diabetes inducing sugar, disguised as leprechaun food. I grew up on Weetabix. Healthy and yummy.
Q: Do you wash with Irish Spring soap?
A: Similar answer as above. I’ll save you in my phone as "Moron".
Q: Have you ever seen a Leprechaun?
A: Have you ever seen a psychiatrist?
Q: Isn’t Gaelic just English with a funny accent?
A: Have you ever opened a book or stepped on a plane? No, Gaelic is the Irish language still widely used in the West of Ireland. About as similar to English as German.
When someone tells you they are from Ireland the last thing you should say to them is “I bet you like to drink.”
When you meet a black person do you stay to them “I bet you like fried chicken.” Unless you were a total fool or complete racist (or he is your best friend, and even then you’re pushing it) you wouldn’t dare. Now, never in a million years would I compare the plight of the Irish to the plight of the African Americans, but if you’re going to use your 1% Irish heritage as an excuse to get annihilated and act the fool this St Patrick’s day then you could at least learn one culturally relevant thing about the Irish. (Liam Neeson, U2, and Colin Farrell don’t count)
So I’ve broken St Paddy revelers into 3 groups.
1. People who are from Ireland, are informed descendants of Irish immigrants, love the Irish culture, or know any Irish history whatsoever. To you I say paint the town green, party on, be responsible, and make your Irish ancestors proud.
2. People who like to celebrate holidays with friends and are generally curious about the Irish culture. To you I say we’re glad to have you. Please don’t talk to me with a fake brogue. I lost my Irish accent just to avoid these awkward situations.
3. Complete fools who would get wasted at their granny’s funeral. You people don’t need and excuse to get drunk so leave the leprechaun hat at home. Just face the facts. You are going to drink yourself into a coma this St Patrick's day because you want to, not because your great, great, great, great, great grandfather risked his life coming to America on a Coffin Ship to escape the crushing tyranny of the British Empire.
They were called “Coffin Ships” because you had a 50% chance of surviving the trip. If the ship didn’t sink in the middle of the Atlantic you still were likely to catch the bubonic plague from the colony of rats that were your shipmates, and then die a horrific death. If you were fortunate enough to survive the trip and make it to Ellis Island then you got to experience the intense prejudice of the, ahem, "indigenous" people that inhabited New York. Most business owners put signs in their windows that read NINA. Shorthand for “No Irish Need Apply.”
If you knew any of that you fall into category 1 above. Drink up and don’t forget to tip your glass to the lost Irish souls at the bottom of the Atlantic.
Believe it or not the Irish are not the biggest drinkers in Europe. Per capita alcohol consumption in Ireland is about the same as England, France, Germany, and considerably less than the Eastern Bloc countries. See for yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_alcohol_consumption
The word pub comes from “Public House”. People would get together at one of the neighborhood homes and would share stories and discuss Irish literature and music over a stout or a whiskey. One wise guy decided to move his kitchen upstairs and put a bar with a cash box downstairs to offset the cost of all these shindigs. The pub was born. The word whiskey is the phonetic sound of the Gaelic word “uisce” which means water (short for the Water of Life or “Uisce Beatha”). Did you know that? You’re in category 1. Just don’t drink so much you have to vomit on my shoes.
Yes whiskey to the Irish is the water of life. But it’s less about getting drunk and more about getting together and sharing stories. It is a social lubricant, not an excuse for waking up in a strange place wearing one sock with a sore ass. It was about keeping the Irish culture and language alive especially during a time of brutal British occupation. During that time Irish teachers had to teach children in hiding (behind boulders and trees in the hills or in hidden rooms in the back of pubs) so as not to get shot by English soldiers. People caught stealing bread to feed their starving children were prosecuted immediately and put on prison ships bound for Australia.
The goal of the King of England was to “Turn the Irish into a race of ignorant apes”. Too bad for the British, the Irish are tenacious survivors. Not only did the Irish survive one of the most awful episodes of ethnic cleansing (the British continued to strip the country’s crops and resources while 6 million people either fled the country or starved to death during the Potato Famine), but they went on to produce some of the world’s best writers, musicians and technologists. Today every major technology firm in the world has a presence in Ireland because of the high quality of education in the country.
If you knew any of that you at least fall into category 2 above and you get a pass. Drink up, but remember: be responsible. I share the road with you.
In fact if you know any of the following writers …
… you get a pass. Drink up. Tip your bartender. Trust me he’s earning his keep today.
If you fall into category 3 please do the rest of us a favor. Hurry up and get drunk early so that you end up in the Paddy wagon before 9pm. Then the rest of us can enjoy the celebrations like grownups. St Patrick would likely spin in his grave if he saw how you were “honoring” his memory. And for the love of Christ don’t dress up like a leprechaun or wear the “F*$& Me I’m Irish shirt”.
A: You’re not Irish and
B: No one wants to f*$& you.
Happy St Patrick’s Day.
Titeann sé ar an micreafón (he drops the mic).