It’s Not Easy Being Green: or Why I’m Too Old for St. Patrick’s Day

I’m not particularly into St. Patrick’s Day. I could say this is  because I’m not Irish but I know that’s not the reason. The real reason is I’m just too old to celebrate the occasion properly.

Until recently, I (like most Americans) equated St. Patrick’s Day only with the consumption of green-tinted, alcoholic beverages. I vaguely remembered this St. Patrick guy and knew he was the patron saint of Ireland but that’s about where my knowledge of the holiday ended.  I, (again, like most people) was in it mostly for the green-tinted, alcoholic beverages.

But it turns out, there’s more to it than that. Shocking, right?

Apparently, in the traditional Irish celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, they pay a lot more attention to that saint bit. Irish families would go to church in the morning and there they would talk about St. Patrick and how he is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.  Then, only after they had knocked out that church service, they’d head on back to the house for some feasting, dancing and, yes, some drinking.

We, being Americans (a.k.a. awesome people), largely nixed the church business so we could get straight to the party. Priorities, people. Priorities.

(Sidenote: I’m sure some people still go to church on St. Patrick’s Day. Undoubtedly some people still talk about St. Pat and how was born in Roman Britain and was taken to Ireland as a slave at age 16. I’m sure some people still marvel at how he later escaped from enslavement only to return to Ireland to bring Christianity to its inhabitants. I’m sure some people still do this. I am not one of those people. Frankly, I just learned most of that  stuff from the History Channel website.)

In any event, my lack of St. Patrick’s Day knowledge had never affected my ability to enjoy the holiday before. Back in the day, okay, probably about four years ago before I got seriously old, I could still celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the best of them. The best of them, in this scenario, refers to Midwestern, college kids who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by drinking more alcoholic beverages than what is advisable.

Now some people will tell you that the best place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is Ireland, and, well, let’s be honest here, they’re probably right. Still others will argue that the best place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is in Chicago where they turn the river green. Meh, they may be right too. But I’m not going to talk about either of those places because I haven’t been there. What I am going to talk about is Manhattan, Kansas and this not-so little thing they call Fake Patty’s Day, because I have been to that and it was neat.

Here’s all you need to know about the celebration (no Googling or History Channel website required): every year Manhattan, Kansas throws a St. Patrick’s Day party on a weekend in March that is not necessarily St. Patrick’s Day (hence the “Fake” part). This way, if St. Patrick’s Day fell during the K-State spring break, the K-State kids would still have a chance to celebrate the big day in Manhattan. Ingenious, right? Yup, it is. I don’t know why I bothered asking.

It is also brilliant because they start early in the morning, well before these kids are usually up and they close most of the streets in bar district so drunk, stupid people don’t get hit by cars. (I don’t know if they still do this, but it was a pretty swanky system at the time).

When I lived in Manhattan I was arguably already too old to take part in the festivities. Since I was already a year out of college, I probably should have been vastly more mature than 98 percent of the people there. But yeah, I wasn’t.

I mean, I was more mature than most people, because most people are just plain stupid, drunk or otherwise. But I did drink more green-tinted, alcoholic beverages than was probably prudent and now, now I say things like prudent, because I’m old.

I’m just too old for this stuff. Now when I have a lot of drinks (read: anything more than two beers over eight hours) I spend the whole of the next day lying on my living room floor moaning and incoherently cursing the person who decided shots were a good idea.

They were not a good idea. They are never a good idea.

What is a good idea, is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in another American-friendly way, with fast food that is super bad for you. A McDonald’s Shamrock Shake for instance is a green-tinted beverage I can still get behind in my old age.

I realize that last bit made it seem like the rest of this blog was just a lead-in to a mini endorsement for a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, which, yeah, I guess it kind of was. I just can’t help myself though, I really, really like those shakes.

Anyway, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! May you celebrate it with a green-tinted beverage of your choice.

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