I really don't like St. Patrick's Day.
What, you ask? An Irishman who enjoys a Guinness as much as the next guy, or ANY guy for that matter, does not like to celebrate St. Paddy's Day???
Yes, that's what I'm saying.
Why, you ask. (That's is you're practiced in the art of obvious question-and-answer banter.)
Several things, I say. Here they are:
1. He wasn't Irish. St. Patrick was actually brought to Ireland from Wales as a slave. Nice, huh? Peel these 80 dozen potatoes and, when you're done, we have a wee snake issue you might want to take a look at.
2. Snakes might not have existed in St. Patrick's time. Who knows about this -- I'm no reptologist or anything. But parting the waters or making Guinness out of water (or tar) was not original. Snakes! He can drive snakes out of Ireland (and presumbably into water since Ireland is an island), proving snakes or people are kind of stupid. Who knows which is really true. Are we to believe St. Patrick was the Samuel L. Jackson of his time?? "We gotta get these m-therf-cking snakes off this m-therf-cking island!"
3. Oh yeah, he's not a saint. He was not associated with any particular faith. He has never been canonized by any Pope. (Canonize, kids, does NOT mean he was shot out of a canon as a form of saint hazing; it's the act of naming someone a saint.) So for all you (us) Roman Catholics out there who are going to hell if we get divorced, have pre-marital sex, or are gay and want to get married, because that's not what the church teaches us we MUST believe and practice, then you're are probably a hethen if you celebrate on March 17. (But we're all going to hell anyway based on these beliefs/rules so might as well hoist another one!)
4. St. Patrick was not born on March 17. He did not invent beer on March 17. He did not become a Saint on March 17 because, you know, he's not really a saint. Nor did he create Oprah on March 17 (see Really Big Bang Theory for THAT one). He died on March 17. Yes, death....woo hoo! (I wonder how many points that Not a Saint Patrick That Really Cool Welsh Slave Guy Who May or May Not Have Driven Snakes In The Water would have netted in the Ghoul Pool??)
Though in dying on this day and having millions of people revel in death, he did create the Irish wake.
(When I broght an Italian friend to her first Irish wake, she whispered "They DO know he died, right? And that he's laying right there?")
I also don't like the day because I don't need to celebrate being Irish. I AM Irish. Every day.
And celebrating being Irish has more to do than silly Halloween leprachaun outfits, green beer, painting shamrocks on your cheeks (hmmm which ones), and drinking until you forget how many fingers you have.
No, being Irish is about going to church even if you don't agree with it's teachings. Being Irish is about never showing emotions until your family is completely dysfunctional. Being Irish is about never crying until Uncle Seamus loses his left foot to gout, and then getting blind drunk becuase you haven't seen your cousin Courtney since your visit to the old country 10 years ago. And of course being Irish is about drinking because you want to, not because it's March.
Oh, yeah you MUST love the Kennedys. Shhh - it's unconditional. Don't ask why.
Have a great funeral, er, day anyway. Leave all your troubles behind.
And if you don't like Guinness, please take a tip I received from one Jimmy O'Neil back in my college days. "Have a 2nd pint,'' he said. "If you really don't like it after the 2nd one, I'll buy them both for you and never bother you again."
His advice changed my life. At least the portions that I remember...