Blarney and such

About a month ago, my father went in for some routine surgery on his hand (for the sake of hilarious irony, apparently). For the surgery, he had to put on a shower cap so his hair (though there wasn’t much of it) wouldn’t fall into the incision. Of course, the shower cap made his ears look ENORMOUS, and my mother commented that “that’s just his Swedish ears for ya!” The surgeon then lit up, and said, “Oh, you’re Swedish???” and then proceeded to talk in Swedish to him for about a minute before he pointed out that he was not SWEDEN Swedish, but actually HALF Swedish by way of Minnesota. The doctor then shrugged, pumped my dad full of anesthesia, and cut open his hand.

My issue here is that most Americans– alright, white Americans– take a little too much pride in their heritage. It’s not that I have a problem with people having pride in who they are ethnically (I’d thank God for the olive oil-drenched food every day of my life were I Italian). It’s just the idea that having a sliver of a particular nationality suddenly fills you with rabid national pride, despite the fact that your everyday life is painfully white bread American, is grating at best and grounds for having your limbs sawed off at worst. This doesn’t bother me to a limb-mutilating extent the rest of the year, but irks me to some extent on St. Patrick’s Day.

Now, if the streets were filled with red haired, fair skinned folk sloshing around a pint of Guinness with stomachs full of painfully bland boiled food on March 17 every year, hey, that’s be cause for celebration! But St. Patrick’s Day is an excuse to go out and get the 1/8 or 1/4 of yourself drunk, then scream about how you’re Irish and this is your favorite day of the year. One could argue that it’s offensive to wed the holiday most closely associated with Irish Americans to marathon drinking; I say it’s offensive to sell it as praising Ireland when all it’s really doing is praising drinking. Hell, why NOT praise drinking? It adds to social grace (at least at the time), makes anthemic music more enjoyable, gets you out of driving home, makes sex as fun as a jungle gym, and reintroduces you to the awesomeness of hugging and high fiving. But to have frat boys in baseball caps 3/4 of the way off the heads and preppie-sluts wearing green beads pounding beer and whiskey and overjoyed about how one set their great grandparents were Irish before they decided to fuck makes me want to slam my head in my freezer door.

Look, I’m 1/4 Irish, and my parents gave both me and my sister Irish names because that was the one nationality they shared. My mother boils food from time to time, and I add salt and hot sauce. I don’t tan. I get it. But as much as I enjoy getting shlammered, I don’t need a wedge of my heritage to excuse that. I will admit that the general greenness, abundance of shamrocks, and the mere idea that there’s a day dedicated to a part of my heritage is nice. But the fact that this day is used to loudly and drunkenly flout said heritage, no matter how little of you is a part of said heritage, makes me want to drive the drunk sorta-Irishmen from the country like the eponymous saint of the day (get drunk in Canada, you fucking douchebags). Getting wasted and celebrating your Irish pride amidst an overwhelming prejudice from a country you’re just trying to survive in is one thing; skipping your next day’s community college classes due to your wicked hangover is another. If the majority of the county uses St. Patrick’s Day to get righteously plastered, why not get rid of the whole Irish thing and call it Crunk Day, International WOOOOOO Appreciation Day, or Bacchanalia?

So no, Stacy Leibowitz, I will not kiss your herpes-addled lips because you’re 1/8 Irish. And no, Matty Polowski, the Dropkick Murphys are not awesome. (Being a Boston Red Sox fan and Irish immediately puts me on the defensive. I’m so tired of apologizing for guys named Smitty anywhere outside of Massachusetts…) I love being partially Irish, and I love drinking. But good Lord, I don’t know how much longer I can take shitty white people mashing the two together to form a horrific casserole of stale Guinness, vomit, green beads, and a March 18th morning filled with shame.


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