Our St. Patrick’s Day parade was stupendous, the weather was glorious and the after-party a joyous Forest Park reunion. Celebrating on a Saturday afternoon, though, is too easy. I salute the people who blow off today to honor the Irish on the proper date.

It starts with the wardrobe. Show off as much green as possible, remembering what your mother used to warn: to wear green underwear in case you’re in an accident. Then make a mental note to remove all green items before the 18th. Also, check out your face – you don’t want it turning green during the festivities.

To keep a healthy complexion, diet is important. Cushion your stomach lining with a foundation of food, if you plan to drink. I suggest the traditional Irish breakfast: eggs, sausages, bacon, potatoes and a slice of tomato. Irish-Americans added the tomato, I understand, so there’d be at least one healthy item on the plate.

It’s Wednesday, I know and most of us have to work but let’s not get fanatical about it. You should be making a graceful exit around 2 p.m., so you can get a good seat at your favorite Irish venue.

As for me, I’m getting my St. Patrick’s Day fix in Berwyn at FitzGerald’s. I would prefer staying in Forest Park but FitzGerald’s has so much to offer: multiple stages, spacious tents and stick-to-your ribs Irish cooking.

So, you’ve staked out a table and you’re ordering a drink. I believe you’re best off with a pint of Guinness. Despite its formidable appearance, stout is actually low in calories and alcohol content. As a Forest Park Irishman cautioned me long ago, “The beer will kill you, John, stick with the Guinness.”

A Guinness may be as satisfying as a meal but man does not live by stout alone. It’s best to consume water to cut the effects. I sometimes go on water breaks for several hours on St. Paddy’s Day, just to survive until the evening’s headliner takes the stage.

In the meantime, you can spend the afternoon watching girls in curly wigs and bright dresses jump and kick on the stage. With the audience clapping along, it’s heavenly. It’s also an opportune time to reinforce the stomach with Irish stew.

Basking in the music, reuniting with friends, hoisting a plastic cup – you’re having the best Wednesday you’re going to have all year. Afterwards, for safety’s sake, a brisk walk home, or a ride from someone who hasn’t spent eight hours inside a beer tent.

One St. Patrick’s Day, my friend and I kept the party going at home by watching U2 DVD’s far into the night. The Irish rockers awakened my wife but she didn’t yell at us: it may have been a weeknight but thankfully she remembered it was March 17th.