St. Patrick’s: A Miserable New Tradition


Huang reflects on a mission barely accomplished.  (Darker Than Black, ep. 14)

Yet another holiday ruined.

In truth, there aren’t many holidays I enjoy celebrating with the rest of my society. I’m an American. Look at our big days. A couple of Christian days, three celebrations of genocide, and two borrowed cultural traditions we’ve managed to muck up into unrecognizable bacchinalia. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the latter.

I don’t mind the twist. I even look past the genocidal heritage, since we Americans don’t really care about all that and have our own chapters of morbid insanity to celebrate. St. Patty’s is a primarily a drinking holiday, like New Year’s Eve, MLK Day, and Cinco de Mayo.

And no, that wasn’t a joke about MLK Day.

Sorry. I wish it was.

But I’m middle aged and don’t drink myself into a stupor. And, let us be honest, the drinking holidays are amateur nights; the pubs and roads alike become immeasurably more dangerous when packed with a bunch of amateur drinkers slurping cheap beer until they puke on the sidewalk and then drive home.

The hockey was good. Believe it or not, my personal schedule has worked out such that this is actually the first time this season I’ve watched a game that the ‘Nucks won. That was something of a relief.

But after scrolling through my Facebook feed and recognizing just how many people I know were prepping corned beef, cabbage, soda bread, and Guinness, I found myself wondering, “What’s wrong with lobscouse?” Or even just pizza and beer, like we used to do before a show.

But sometime last year I finally started paying attention to my Facebook feed; it became necessary that I do so. Point being it was a bit unsettling to see the stream of status updates from friends doing the new traditional dinner. At some point I wanted to ask, “Hey, maybe we could all get together tonight for a fistfight or a riot, or something? You know, to complete the stereotype?”

(Actually, that’s not fair. Corned beef and cabbage is an American assertion of Irish tradition originating in the eighteenth or nineteenth century.)

Seriously, next St. Patty’s, I’m doing sushi alfredo, just to be a prig about it. Actually, I won’t. Maybe a pot of chili.

There is, of course, my palate; at its finest, corned beef is still mediocre to my taste. Poor conversation didn’t help, and deliberately going out of my way to not drink too much―an impossible outcome when others are determined to complainα―really turned the screw. It’s one thing to acknowledge middle age, but this is what St. Patrick’s Day is supposed to mean for the rest of my life?

Probably best to just skip it.

In the end, the best way to do celebratory holidays is to not tell anyone when they are. Retaining the old Wheel of the Year has that advantage―you can slip away to celebrate and nobody else knows what’s going on. And these days, that might be what it takes.

____________________

α It is worth noting that to say, “Nah, I’m not drinking anything tonight”, risks offending people who think you’re trying to make a point about how much they complain whenever you drink, regardless of how much you do or don’t. It’s the damnedest thing. (Look, it’s not that the crazy people necessarily aren’t crazy, just that the sane people aren’t necessarily sane.)

Image note: Huang reflects on a mission barely accomplished. Detail of frame from Darker Than Black episode 14, “A Heart Unswaying on the Water’s Surface, Part 2”)

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