Top 5 Reasons to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Paddy’s Day to all you temporary Irish Catholics using this celebration as a day to drink green beer and pinch people. For generations, March 17 has been set aside to honor St. Patrick who (according to legend) chased all of Ireland’s snakes into the ocean, turned water into green beer, wore clothes made of shamrocks and gave birth to Lucky the Leprechaun of Lucky Charms fame.

lucky charms

(They’re magically delicious.)

The Irish have a long, complicated history that I will not describe here. Because it’s long and complicated. Suffice it to say that St. Patrick’s Day is an Americanized version of the religious feast day in Ireland. But there are still several reasons (at least five) why you should observe this viridescent holiday.

1. Eating Irish food. The only reason to eat corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie or soda bread and potatoes is to remind yourself that Irish food really sucks.

2. Listening to Irish music. Throw in your Chieftains or Dubliners CDs to hear Irish musicians, or enjoy the melodic twang of Celtic music, the indecipherable lyrics of Irish pub songs and the insufferable wailing of banshees the Irish call “music.” Remind yourself that Irish music is an acquired taste.

3. Attending parades. Enjoy a Top o’ The Morning as you stand in dismal, rainy weather, waiting for drunk people dressed like leprechauns to stumble down the street whilst singing Irish folk songs (see #2) and urinating in the gutters. The South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the biggest in the country. I’m not sure what this says about Boston.


(After the parade, this dog was found crying by the side of the road.)

4. Finding the Pot o’ Gold. Every child knows if you catch a leprechaun you get three wishes or his pot of gold coins. What children don’t know is that leprechauns are meaner than s*** and will not hesitate to Dornálaíocht the hell out of you. Why do you think Irish people know how to box so well? I spent an inordinate amount of my childhood trying to track down the little green rascals, hoping to find all that gold so I could buy candy.

5. Enjoying a good pub crawl. After all the food, music, parades, leprechauns and shamrocks, real St. Patrick’s Day observers end up sprawled across several tables in the local bar. After being jolted awake by the noisy patrons, these observers crawl (literally) to the next bar for more drinking: Because no religious holiday is complete without a massive hangover the next day.

Bonus. You get to say “Eejit.” Keep things jolly by calling your friends idiots in the language o’ the holiday. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, ye eejits!


Watching the Parade Go By

I’ve been a dedicated parade attendee for more than four decades. I’m not sure why. It’s not like watching a local parade is the same as enjoying the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with its bloated, floating cartoon characters. It’s more like watching paint dry.

FWI 2014 (13)(When the librarians stroll by, pushing book carts, you  know you’re watching a small-town parade.)

Each year, the beauty queens float by on their crepe-paper concoctions, with themes like “Honoring the Past” or “Striving for the Future.” I’ve never seen a float with the slogan, “Kicking Back and Enjoying Today” where, instead of standing and waving, Miss City could recline in a hammock, drinking spiked lemonade.

And too many cities have asked parade participants to STOP THROWING CANDY! This is insane. Next to Halloween, parades are the very best, free candy events in the universe!!  I leave with my pockets stuffed with salt water taffy, Smarties, smashed suckers and Tootsie Rolls. I understand city leaders are concerned about residents’ safety, but really? I could understand the candy ban if people are throwing baseball-sized jawbreakers into the crowd, or those pointy rocket suckers. But taffy? I can’t imagine that doing any serious damage. I’d like to see the number of Tootsie Roll emergency room incidents that caused city leaders to outlaw candy throwing. Boo.

FWI 2014 (12)

(I’ve trained my grandchildren to run into the street to get me candy.)

Here’s a parade idea: what if marching bands actually played music?!?! Call me crazy, but watching overheated, sweaty band members march by without musical accompaniment seems a leeeetle paradoxical. But, then again, having heard some of these bands “play” “music,” maybe it’s best to let them  pass by in silence. (Disclaimer: I marched in my share of parades as a flute player–not good enough to be a flautist–and I have “Let’s Go Band” scarred into my psyche. Permanently.)

Why are clowns still a thing in parades? I had hoped climate change would force them into other lines of work–like not scaring the s*** out of kids.

FWI 2014 (20)

(And don’t forget the random snow plow. In August.)

And why must there be cars, cars and more cars? Especially if the passengers aren’t throwing candy. You can only look at so many VW Bugs before you want to punch the family next to you.

Finally, there’s always that one random dude walking the parade route, handing out candy–and you’re not quite sure if he’s a politician or a pedophile. (But I still take the candy.)

Fun Days 2014 (2)

(And I still can’t explain this creepy dude.)

Now that parade season is over, cities have an entire year to do it right next time. Either way, I’ll be there cheering the local librarians and snatching candy from babies.