Seeing as St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us, and it’s the one day out of the year when you can actually celebrate a “religious holiday” without fear of being persecuted for your sudsy beliefs in a greater power (beer), I thought it might be a damn good time to talk about the social aspects of the drinking process.
I have a dream.
First of all, let it be known that I do not endorse or advocate the act of drunk driving, semi-rude behavior, or other such nonsense. I save that kind of foolishness for my writing and other assorted chicken-scratches in the safety of my own Fortress of Solitude. As far as the art of St. Paddy’s Day goes, though, I think you can divide it up (more or less) into three acts – the only resemblance to Shakespeare being tragedy.
ACT I: Where Art Thou, My Liquid Crutch?
Sure, going to any social function is stressful enough: Meeting new people, trying to fit in, and attempting to eavesdrop on conversations about your stunning hair. It’s all such nasty business!
That’s why it’s nice, in the end, to depend on beer (for, um, at least one day out of the year) to enhance your shaky social skills. Hey, forget about relying on your own defective personality: That will never work! Instead, like Oprah defending her out-of-this-world book club, tap into liquid courage in a can on St. Paddy’s Day. Believe me, you and I are only deluding ourselves by believing we are interesting under normal circumstances.
Once you have accepted this inevitable fact, it’s time to mosey on up to the bar and order a round of the devil’s urine: Beer, beer, beer! Note to all eligible establishments, hooch houses, and shady speakeasies out there: Don’t make the same fatal mistake that some bars make of not having a hearty supply of Blue Moon Belgian Ale on hand. It’s a crowd favorite. All right, all right, I confess! It’s my personal favorite, but hey, I figure if I like it, then the world likes it (that’s not too self-absorbed, is it?).
Speaking of self-absorbed: After explaining this little Zen philosophy of mine to the alleged bartender, he or she will usually inform me that all they have available is Pabst Blue Ribbon drenched in Soylent Green food coloring (but it’s on draft!). What, no beer-soaked urinal cakes to suck on behind the bar? I’m telling you people, it’s a beer bottle conspiracy out there, so drink heavily to squelch any and all inner demons on St. Patrick’s Day! It is, like Master Yoda so fittingly proclaimed, your destiny. “Soylent Green is people! Soylent Green is people!”
ACT II: Thy Beer Kicketh In
When you’re not dancing to such cult classics (and assorted Irish folk music) like “Disco Inferno” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” you are probably engaging in some witty conversations with your friends, peers, coworkers, complete strangers, or anyone else on the planet who will listen to your mindless, drooling babble.
Remember, you might be amongst various malcontents, assorted unknowns, or any other unfriendly foes, so keep the topics of conversation somewhat safe and slick. Stick to politics, religion, and abortion.
The Super Friends are always a good topic to discuss, entertain, and enlighten the unwashed masses while under the influence. Don’t guffaw; it’s a fascinating topic! If The Flash is “the fastest man alive,” does that mean he gets to skip foreplay? Can Green Lantern make more green beer with that ring if your local tavern happens to run dry? That would be super. And what’s the deal with Hawkman and airline peanuts? Take a plane, I say; let someone else do the work! (Oh, the tortured mind of an artist!)
Enough small talk with the malevolent masses for now. After a few beers, your baby bladder usually kicks in, and then (at least for the guys) it’s off to the urinals. Private ones in swanky hotels and restaurants are usually fine, but it’s the public ones in local bars you need to watch out for, friends. It never fails that there’s always one guy (again, this is a guy thing) who insists on engaging in (sigh) “urinal talk.”
Now, I’m no Miss Manners, so I’m not exactly sure what the rules of good urinal etiquette are on St. Patrick‘s Day, but a stimulating conversation with some stranger is the last thing I want to have when I’ve got my “winkie” in my hands.
Girls usually have it no better in their powder rooms of choice. Cold water overflowing in multiple toilets is a given in any ladies room on St. Paddy’s Day. If nothing else, it gives you the opportunity to race in and rescue them from certain icy doom, like a scene from Titanic. “I’ll never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go!”
ACT III: Thou Will Never Drink Again!
After refunding the green eggs and ham breakfast you indulged in earlier that day into the nearby sewer, you and your friends will most likely stumble around the streets in a merry fashion, hugging complete strangers and the homeless, and expressing your undying devotion to them: “I love you, man. No, seriously, I mean that. Really. I love you, man. Totally.”
Fortunately, unlike that grabby governor guy from New York, it certainly doesn’t mean much. At the very least, when you are forced to explain your St. Patrick’s Day indiscretions to your wife, girlfriend, and/or significant other, it will not be broadcast to the entire world on CNN, will it? Fingers crossed.
If you’re at a house party or any other social function, you will do the same with former enemies, too. People you once despised for most of your natural life, for one odd reason or another, will most likely want to join you on an extended “Love Boat” cruise, will they not? Well, bless me Lucky Charms!
Sadly, all drunken blurs and damaged brain cells aside, containing fractured puzzle pieces of your former memory function must, ultimately, come to an end. At home, the act of falling into bed resembles a scene out of Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Morning greets you with a blast of blinding sunshine to the frazzled face because you were too busy with your religious Irish church-going rituals to remember to close the damn blinds the night before, you sudsy sad sack. Ah, cruel fate!
Don’t worry, though, because in five or six hours that incessant throbbing will slowly subside. Look sharp, soldier! After shaving your tongue, the rest of your day will consist of remembering small images and sound bytes from the zany things you “allegedly” said and did the night before, just like an amnesiac victim on a soap opera slowly regaining their painful scripted memories.
So sure, St. Paddy’s Day is a social networking function meant to reconnect with old friends and cronies, is it not? But please, grow old gracefully on Groundhog Day won’t you? There will always be time for death and taxes, marriage and Home Depot, better saved for some other time and space out in the post-adolescent pasture, don’t you think?
In the meantime, have a little fun, chase after that leprechaun and his 401(k) pot of gold, and take a moment to pause and reflect on the true reason my relatives eventually came to America from Ireland in the first place during The Great Potato Famine – because, I assume, they were out of Super Size fries at McDonald’s.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!