Bein' green ... around the gills


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By Alan Brouilette

I don't like St. Patrick's Day. 

I'm supposed to, I am told, as I have some Irish background. (It's anecdotal, though — I will have no truck with 23 and Me. I have enough new relatives already.) But I also have Portuguese and Spanish and French-Canadian, and yet I am not plied with malasadas and linguiça and poutine once a year despite the fact that all of those are so vastly superior to corned beef as to defy comparison. 

Corned beef is unflavored pastrami. The highlight of a corned beef and cabbage dinner is that once you're done, you don't have to do it again for a year. And you don't! No one eats Irish food, not even the Irish. Chinese people eat Chinese food more than one day a year. Irish food as practiced in my family comprises two things: boiling and starch. Cabbage, and potatoes, lukewarm. Soda bread (Shudder). I get gastronomic hardship that represents something symbolic, as at a Seder, but cast as a voluntary day-to-day virtue? There's a reason you can't get Irish Takeout from Grubhub. 

St. Patrick's Day is to bars the bonanza that Valentine's Day is to florists, so if there's a florist reading this, I wish to know if you hate February 14 with the same passion that my bartender friends hate March 17. "Amateur Night," they call it. 

I'm not sure what kind of ethnic pride shines brightest through the lens of screaming arguments between sobbing girls and shoving matches between guys wearing green Sox hats and hockey jerseys, but perhaps I don't understand ethnic pride. I don't understand workplace pride, school spirit or patriotism, either. I'm with Groucho Marx: I don't want to belong to any club that would have someone like me as a member. If I were to throw up on a public street to promote a cause, it would not be based on the birth location of a relative 100 years in the grave. 

I also don't get why those so allegedly proud of their Irish heritage aren't madder about the whole Amos-and-Aidan vibe surrounding St. Patrick's Day, but not even I will be offering comparable ethnic stereotypes in print. The internet does not consider context when there are pitchforks and torches to be brandished.

Furthermore, I don't look good in green. Black I look good in. Lavender I look good in. White. Pink is a great color for me, too. When I wear pink, people ask me if I just got back from vacation. Green, not so much. In green I look seasick. 

I basically just don't get why the Irish have the big day. Can we promote some more fun ethnicities for a couple years? Dial back St. Paddy's to St. Swithin's Day levels for a bit and give somebody else a turn. Drive the fun toward Cinco de Mayo or Ferragosto or Juneteenth. The food's better, the music's better, the drinks are better, even the weather is better. I'll cheerfully march in a Juneteenth Parade and stay for the picnic afterward. 

You can't tell me "Chi-talian" isn't a vast improvement on the etymological butchery that is "Chi-rish." 

Mardi Gras is an outstanding parade. So is Pride. Do we have those in Forest Park? I'm down to throw some beads.

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