This past Thursday was St. Patrick’s Day. This is probably not news, and indeed, here in New York, this fact is always particularly hard to miss. If nothing else, the sudden appearance of rivulets of green-tinted vomit winding their way through the gutters makes it clear when this particular day of the year comes round again.
In case it isn’t clear, I hate St. Patrick’s Day.
There are plenty of obvious reasons for this, of course. The displays of public drunkenness that have become associated with the day are apt to drive anybody nuts. But even when not downing pint after pint of cheap green-dyed beer, there’s a certain boorishness to people’s behavior that somehow manifests itself as soon as those bagpipes sound. And this behavior always seem to be done by people in cartoonish green hats and orange fright wigs, sporting grotesque fake accents that wouldn’t be out of place in a particularly vicious Restoration-era anti-Irish tract, designed to make its audience wonder if Cromwell hadn’t had a few valid points after all.
And as someone from Long Island with an “o” and an apostrophe at the start of my surname, this is the real source of my distaste. For as long as I can remember, whenever March comes around, I’ve been presented with this horrific display and told that this is who and what I am, somehow. That this barbaric behavior, which to my mind constitutes an ethnic slur, is something to embrace as my identity. That my unwillingness to participate constitutes some sort of defect on my part. That not conforming to such awful stereotypes means I’m not really Irish.
This past week, St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Thursday – a day I have off from work. And so, having no desire to subject myself to it again, I barricaded myself in my apartment, never setting foot outside it once. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m at the start of a large writing project, a rather idiosyncratic and difficult piece of work that will require my utmost concentration. And so I spent St. Patrick’s Day sequestered from a hostile world, sitting at my work station, scribbling away furiously for the sake of my art. Not unlike such forbearers as Joyce, Yeats, Synge…
Well, what do you know. I guess I am a real Irishman after all.