Tuesday, March 17, 2009

40 Days Of Lent: Day Twenty One

Lousy Irishman

I hate St. Patty's Day.

I like Irish culture and I'm proud of (some might say smug about) my Irish ancestry. But I dislike the kitsch aspects of St. Patty's Day and the fact that it is another holiday (along with New Year's Eve and Halloween) in which people feel it is their duty to get as drunk as possible. There's nothing like seeing a pack of drunken New York City cops, in uniform and with guns.

Even as a child I don't recall liking the holiday. I was not a fan of anything that dictated how you should dress, so being expected to wear some green on a certain day was a hassle. Similarly, I recall when my grade school, Mackin Elementary, decided to have "Color Day" which meant that the students were supposed to wear the school's colors - green and gold - to show their school spirit. The day before, on the bus, I overheard Steven White and another kid talking about how they were going to deliberately not wear any green or gold for "Color Day," an idea that struck me, at the time, as one of the most shocking but obvious things I had ever heard. Of course you don't wear certain colors just because everyone else is going to.

The next morning, when I told my mother I refused to wear any clothes that had green or gold in them, she yelled "One kid only wants green and gold clothes and doesn't have any!* The other one only has green and gold and won't wear them. You kids are making me crazy!" Why I had a wardrobe favoring those two colors remains a mystery to this day.

At school, it didn't take long to discover that I was one of maybe three kids not dressed in school colors. Even Steven White and the other rebel had conformed. I was treated like a combination of leper and pedophile the entire day, even by my teachers, who made a pointed out to the class that someone was not dressed in school colors. If I remember correctly, a couple of them were flabbergasted that I would do this on purpose.

Even though I don't like St. Patty's Day, I was happy to see that the water in the fountain outside the White House was dyed green today at Michelle Obama's request. Oh, Michelle, how I love you.

*my sister Ann


Anonymous said...

You would think that the hassle over wearing green would end when you are an adult but I had to explain to six or seven people yesterday that I am not Irish and didn't feel like wearing green, (nothing against the Irish of course). They all seemed completely flabbergasted.

the hanged man said...

Yeah, it's definitely the conformist "but you have to, everyone else is" impulse more than anything to do with the Irish.

I even found myself caught up in it, noting those who weren't wearing green (Michelle at work, Jon Stewart), though I didn't say anything.

Iva said...

John, John...I never yelled! I merely emphasized words.

wpbooks said...

Try living across from a place called Joxer Daly's...on SPD we got a horrendous bagpipe concerto until well into the wee hours...I think the cops were humming along all through their shifts and I believe there was some loud swearing in Gaillic at one point. It's a drag being a Jew on SPD...I mean we don't force everyone to fast on Yom Kippur, do we? I never wear green for any reason...nor blue jeans as well! WWJD?